We live in a world where everyone is concerned about their past and future. There is a constant stream of small talk flowing through our brains. Most of the talk is repetitive and pointless. We can never go “back” and “change” the past. No matter how hard we try we can’t get to the future either. We only have the present moment. It is the only reality that exists.
We play past events over and over in our head almost to the point of mental breakdown. Psychologists tell us that we have 60,000 thoughts everyday but most of the thoughts are the same as yesterday. If “John” hadn’t said that to me I would be so much happier with our relationship. Focusing on one event when thousands of events happen to us everyday is ludicrous. It is similar to race horses who wear blinders so they can only see the finish line and not get distracted by other events around them. Maybe, it would be better to take the blinders off and see all of the events. The good and the bad. “John” should not be defined by one event, so why focus on it?
How many good things has “John” done? One, two, or more? If it is only one or two you might want to dump him and move on. Chances are if you sit down and make a list. The good will win out over the bad.
The small talk in our head is constantly remembering and rewriting our personal story that we use to define who we are in this world. We rewrite our internal memoir thousands of times a day as we pour over past decisions and what we think are the consequences of those decisions. How many times a day do you say this statement in your head, “If I had only made that decision my life would be so much better now.”
Only a few decisions in our life matter. Yes, you read that right. Only a few decisions in our life matter. Don’t believe me? Try the exercise below.
Carry a notepad around with you, and write down every important decision you make for one full day. A week later, go over the list and cross out any decision that now doesn’t seem all that important. How many are left? Let a month go by and go over the remaining decisions on the list. How many are left now? If there are any left, let one year go by and go over the last few decisions on the list. The number of your original important decisions still being on the list will probably be one or less. If there is more than one or two, congratulations on the marriage, baby, diploma, or degree.