You can have it all but you will be exhausted!

There are so many books on how to get what you want as soon as you can without much effort. You simply “put it out there”, wherever there is, and voila it is manifested. Techniques include writing down your affirmation, imagining yourself doing it, and sharing it with those close to you. The later could be problematic because they will probably ask you if you did “it” until you want to avoid them at all costs.You also become at the mercy of those individuals who are hell bent to never address the possibility that you may not have the where with all to accomplish your affirmation, or a plan to execute it. Their primary goal is to endlessly cheer you on which leaves you feeling guilty and having a strong desire to throw them off a cliff.

Lately a few researchers in the field of Positive Psychology have begun to question the merits of thinking positive without a good dose of reality. After all I can write,” I am tall and thin” all I want, but I am short and somewhat pudgy and unless I put myself on a rack and reduce my calories it is unlikely to happen.

What seems to have lost traction is the idea that attaining a goal takes time and patience and the ability to assess ones strengths and weaknesses. The ability to tolerate frustration is also part of the process. Unfortunately “ the art of waiting has become less and less available in a society that loves instant gratification.

“ In the late sixties and early 1970s a psychologist Walter Mischel, then a professor at Stanford University, created a series of studies on delayed gratification. Children were offered one small reward provided immediately or two small rewards if they waited for about 15 minutes, during which the tester left the room and then returned. The reward was  sometimes a marshmallow, but often a cookie or a pretzel. In follow-up studies, the researchers found that children who were able to wait longer for the preferred rewards tended to have better life outcomes, as measured by SAT scores, educational attainment, body mass index (BMI), and life measures.”

Once again, I feel that the research simply defines what is obvious. If we can learn to enjoy the process of reaching our goals, our ability to be patient and our anxiety levels are reduced. So much of our culture is predicated on going from one task to another in a mindless fashion. Stress is at an all time high since the motto, “You can have it all” became part of our cultural dialogue. Having it all is exhausting! The ability to savor each step of our journey toward a goal is as important as attaining it and it is certainly less frantic.

 

About lorettalaroche

An international stress management and humor consultant whose wit, and irreverent humor, has, for over 30 years raised the humor potential in all of us. She is on the Mass General advisory council for anxiety and depression and was recently awarded the National Humor Treasure Award. Loretta writes a weekly newspaper column called, ‘Get a Life’.

This entry was posted in 2015, Get A Life 2015, stress, Wisdom, Words to Live by and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to You can have it all but you will be exhausted!

  1. Susan says:

    How are you? I am hearing about so much snow out your way, are you okay?
    Can you come to San Francisco? it was 80º here yesterday..
    have you read this?
    The Best Diary Entry Ever. Who Said Shoveling Snow Was Easy? http://www.tickld.com/x/best-diary-entry-ever
    ..about “having it all” the people I know who tried to have everything spent so much time working at getting things they never had the time to play with them. I settle for quality over quantity. i.m.o. free time is the most valuable currency.

  2. tedcasher@comcast.net says:

    I wanted to be a sex maniac, but I couldn’t pass the physical!!!!

  3. Cynthia says:

    This is very true. I recently heard about a woman whose husband and daughter gave her one of those silver charm bracelets (Pandora, Troll, etc) in the hope that her family and friends could purchase special charms on birthdays, holidays, Mother’s Day, and other special occasions. It was a great idea — and something that would make gift-giving easier for the family in the future. The husband started her out with a couple of charms, and told her that over the years, her bracelet would be filled little by little, as her loved ones bought more charms for it. Guess what? This woman, being all about “instant gratification,” couldn’t stand the idea of waiting for others to buy charms on special occasions. So … she went out and bought herself enough charms to fill the bracelet right away! Of course, she disappointed both her husband and her daughter, who had hoped the bracelet would be filled with commemorative charms from them. Very sad, don’t you agree?

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