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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4 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Ame3thyst3 says:

    Great article! My Grandma used to say, “Well it will work out one way or another.” She lived 103 years! My mate used to say, “Time always brings a change.” How we argued about his “this too will pass” attitude as I felt that some things wouldn’t ever change! I am an emotional person with attachment disorder! lol

    Life IS a test. I feel LIFE is a FILE on how we are progressing. Am I evolving or devolving? I want to make a good grade on the test so it goes into my FILE showing progress in my evolution.

    Being unattached to the outcome will probably help the anxiety that I have suffered from for years. Decades really. I am “the emotional one” of my family due to my sensitivity and my easily hurt feelings. The Buddhist way is going to be my goal now. Watch me become “the calm one” of my family and freak them all out! lol

    Thanks Lars for again giving me the information I needed to improve my life. Stress will kill you and it doesn’t sound like a very good way to live anymore. I am just so attached to my loved ones! I’m getting anxious as I write this! How do you give up attachments TO your loved ones? Think I’m going to need some more articles! Thanks for leading the way.

    They say when the student is ready the teacher will appear. (or the book will appear). In this case I believe my teacher has arrived. I am very grateful our paths have crossed. Bless you Lars.

    • Lars King says:

      Thanks for sharing! It will completely help as you put it into practice. I think by detaching, that doesn’t mean you need to stop loving, as love and attachment have nothing to do with one another. Attachment is coming from a place of scarcity/being codependent/needy and love is coming from a place of selflessness/appreciation/gratitude etc. It’s a tough balance to strike especially with the ones closest to you but Buddhism has a lot to say about this topic so I encourage you to read more about it. I’m grateful that you’re getting value out of my writing, that’s all I really want! Thanks for reading!

      • Ame3thyst3 says:

        Thanks for writing! Sounds like I am confusing attachment (unhealthy) with love (very healthy). Well you’re right about needing more reading about Buddhism. I do believe I will eventually get it. Thanks for the extra help Teach! I love the energy of Buddhism already. So different from my stressed out, freaked out frustrated self to take a hike! Will be a welcome vacation! Thanks again Lars!

      • Ame3thyst3 says:

        Hey Lars just wanted you to know that my previous comments about avoiding emotional attachment to the outcome actually were about this article. I put them on your Judging People page. So sorry about that and will keep reading. Peace.

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