Sometimes Your Mind Plays Tricks on You

Posted on 30 March, 2022 at 4:35

Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.

Marcus Aurelius



I heard a really great quote from Winston Churchill. When asked during World War II why he was not cutting spending on the arts, he allegedly replied, "Then what are we fighting for?"


"Fabulous", I thought, "that is the basis for a whole blog post on the importance of the arts."


But wait...when I Googled 'Churchill quote art funding' to find the exact wording, it seems that wonderful quote though it is, it was never actually said, even though it pops up all over the place as being amongst the authentic Winston's Words of Wisdom.


I saw my great blog post idea turn to dust, until I started thinking about all those others things we believe to be true, especially about ourselves and our situations, and often with less evidence than we get with 30 seconds of Googling.


I remember an occasion many years ago when I sat in bed at 2am weeping inconsolably. I had, as far as I was concerned, lost a job I really, really wanted, a job which would be great in its' own right and would also get me away from a company I disliked. And as a consequence, I was trapped in my current company and would never have a job I liked ever again. No wonder I was in tears.


And how did I come to this awful conclusion?  


I had applied for a job.  

The deadline for applications had passed.  

After three weeks, I hadn't heard if I had an interview.  


That's all. From those few facts, I had created the whole desolate scenario and made myself terribly upset. (It must be said my imagination in my younger, less mature days, could create a major drama out of anything!)


Luckily, I woke the next morning and had the sense to realise that I knew nothing at all about the situation. I decided to call the company concerned and ask them what the status of my application actually was - after all, I had already seen the dark, despairing future so nothing they could tell me would be as bad.


As it happened, the company (a charity) had hit a hiccup with funding and didn't want to start interviewing until the money was actually in the bank. But, they assured me, I was definitely one of the candidates they would call for interview.  


And in due course, I got the job.


Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in our own thoughts about what might happen that we either forget or are unable to take an objective view. By that time, our minds can be convinced that what we think is happening is actually true. As a coach, part of my job is to be that objective view, picking through the truths, half truths and pure conjecture to get to the absolute facts and offering other ways of seeing a situation.


If there is a situation which is giving you grief, making you feel trapped, blocked or unhappy, see if you can step back and look at how much of it is real and how much is your mind playing tricks. This in itself might help take the emotion away from the subject and help you see it more clearly. From that, you might find one small thing you can do to begin to change the situation.

Categories: Attitude, Motivation, Well Being