Everything Is A Test

Everything Is A Test

Written by Lars

Topics: Habits, Happiness, Mindset, Self Improvement

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This is a short but sweet mindset shift that can dramatically improve your life. It definitely has changed the quality of my life for the better.


Normally, people go through their lives and get pushed and pulled around by their emotions, causing their moods to be a direct result of what happens to them.


This is a result of mental attachment, which according to Buddhism is the root of all suffering. Attachment to specific outcomes, people, objects, etc, is not healthy because whenever things go “wrong,” as they always seem to do, people feel negative emotions.


The key is that we can consciously choose what we are attached to. Many Buddhist monks have even let go of their attachment to life itself, and are completely indifferent to their inevitable death. This is a better way to live then to constantly live in fear of death.


As you consciously try to let go of your attachment to worldly outcomes, you will notice one thing: it’s really, really hard! Until I learned more about Buddhism and its associated mindsets, I did not realize how much attachment I placed on almost everything in my life. The most prevalent attachment for me was the fact that I wanted everything to go “as planned,” and whenever things went “wrong,” I had a negative emotional reaction. Most people react similarly; however, there is a better, healthier way.


Think of everything as a test. Everything that happens to you is a test of your attachment to outcomes. If someone doesn’t email you back, if you lose money in the stock market, if there’s severe weather, if someone crashes into your car, if your significant other starts yelling at you, really anything, think of it as a test of your emotional stability. Remove your attachment to the outcome and you will not have a negative reaction, you will just accept the situation and move on. You will deal with whatever happens with calmness and presence, which is a much better way to deal with anything than reacting with anger and frustration.


A helpful quotation to keep you centered and present in situations like this are, “This, too, shall pass.” Everything ends, good or bad, and in the moment when things can seem overwhelming, take a few deep breaths and think: “This, too, shall pass.”


Recently I was supposed to take a couple flights to New Orleans for Spring Break, and needless to say, the trip did not go according to plan. The airline lost my bag, my flights were rescheduled multiple times, I had to make connections in airports while very pressed for time, and I had to sit next to someone who smelled terrible for three hours. In the past, I would have been emotionally reacting negatively to all of these situations, but I kept thinking of everything as a test to my emotional stability, so I stayed present and indifferent to the little outcomes, as I knew I would get to New Orleans eventually. My day was so much better than it would have been if I didn’t consciously let go of my mental outcomes.


I encourage you to shift your mindset and continually apply this to your life. Whenever you’re feeling a negative emotion, ask yourself if it is a result of attachment to an outcome. If it is, fully accept the situation. See it as a test of your unreactivity, remove any mental attachment, and move on. You will be a million times happier.

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