Dragging Mental Bricks
The majority of things we worry about never come to pass. The majority of bad things that have happen to us are in the past so why worry about them. The majority of bad things that have happened to us seldom repeat themselves. Suffice it to say, that most of our worries and anxieties come from the past and have no bearing on our current state of mind.
Yet, I’m constantly amazed at the type of issues people carry with them day-to-day, month-to-month, and year-to-year. It’s common knowledge that we can’t change the past, so why dwell on it? It’s common knowledge that the past, once survived, can’t hurt us, it can only help us become stronger.
Having stated the obvious, why do most of us continually drag our past with us every day. We take our past to work with us, bring it into our personal lives and we even tuck into bed with us every night.
I want you to start thinking about these past incidents you carry with you as individual bricks. And every day, you load up your bricks into your “self pity” sack and off you go. Yes, a sack of bricks. Every time I see negative people walking around I visualize them carrying a large sack of bricks. For everything wrong that’s gone wrong in their lives, they add another brick to the sack. Although the bricks are not real, but imaginary, the weight of each is undeniable and directly proportional to the credence the person gives to it.
When things don’t go your way, you get upset and add another brick ‘labeled’ resentment into the sack. When you get rejected for a job or get terminated by no fault of your own add a brick called ‘dejection’ to the sack. How much emphasis you place on these setbacks determines the size of the brick. Over time that sack will weigh you down to the point of inertia; you can’t move.
In real life if I asked you to carry a sack of bricks with you to work, in your car when you’re in traffic, or when you go to bed you’d think I was crazy or a sadist. So why is it that most people choose to carry a sack of mental bricks of the past around with them every day? But more importantly, how is it that others seem to be free of the sack?
There are two categories of people in the world, a Brick Carrier and a Brick Layer. Brick carriers like to carry their bricks with them everywhere they go. They never seem to stop worrying about things in life. They’re always worried about money, always resentful of something and always suspicious of everyone. They always have a great excuse of why they haven’t been as successful as they’d hoped. They always blame things outside of control for their lack of success. These carriers will go through life weighted down by their own mental bricks and blaming everyone for their misfortune but themselves.
Brick layers carry their bricks for a while when things go wrong. No one can immediately discard a mental brick when something in life goes wrong. But brick layers know that eventually, sooner or later, they have to take the brick from their “pity” sack and lay it down and begin to either lay the foundation for a better future or a new road toward success. With bricks you can build foundation or build a road towards the future.
Brick carriers always see problems even when an opportunity to move ahead presents itself. Brick carriers are so use to seeing bad in things, they’ve lost their ability to see opportunity. They’ve gone blind. They take every opportunity to pull out their mental bricks and show the world and others how life has cheated them in the past. They love showing the world their bricks of discontent. You can usually identify these bricks carriers by how often they whine about their situation, or complain about others.
These brick carriers also have a perverse sense of pride in their bricks. They never miss an opportunity to share with other how life has done them wrong and the bricks are their proof. They are quick to pull the bricks from their sack, hold it up high in front of everyone, like a badge of honor.
Brick carriers also have a tendency to grow their bricks as time goes on. Feeling like a victim, each incident of injustice, in their mind, will grow over time as the mortar of resentment is glommed onto every brick in their sack. Time has a way of distorting the past; often making it seem either worse or not as bad as you remember. Brick carriers always remember past incidents as worse. And as time distorts their memory of a past incident, so too does the brick become larger and more distorted. Over time, as the mortar of discontent hardens, the bricks begin to resemble a large mass of concrete of a defeated mind.
The reality is that we all carry a sack of bricks. Each brick representing something that went wrong or when someone did us wrong. But time and maturity help us deal with the past and allow us to pull those bricks out of the sack and move on with our lives more freely.
So the question is, are you a brick carrier or a brick layer?
R. Wade Younger, MBA, CSP, CSM, TEFL
WadeYounger.com – International Speaking & Business Consulting
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