In life, it is effortless to get on the negative road. It seems that humans are wired to seek the negative, look for something wrong, or expect danger at some level. It’s one of the survival instincts baked into our core. In one of the final episodes in the Truth About Money Series, Todd Langford and Patrick Donohoe talk about how getting rid of this instinct that no longer serves you allows you to understand why you feel the way you do when you hear disheartening news. Recognize the negative and, instead of leaning towards it, check yourself and seek what is right. The wrong never has and never will serve you.
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How To Recognize The Negative And Stop Leaning Towards It With Todd Langford
Marcus Aurelius wrote, “You only live in the present, this fleeting moment. The rest of your life is already gone or not yet revealed.” I want you to consider the possibility that the quickest path to getting what you want is letting go of your past and future. Marcus Aurelius continues, “You have been trying to reach many things by taking a long way around. All these things can be yours now if you stop denying them to yourself. All you have to do is let go of the past, trust the future to providence and direct the present to reverence and justice.”
In a guided meditation by Sam Harris on his Waking Up app, he said something profound, “Take a moment to think about impermanence. It can be very clarifying to do this. Every experience comes to an end but we don’t quite live as though that were the case. We continually succumb to the illusion that we will arrive in some final position but there is no arriving. There are just continual flows of experiences.”Thinking logically and looking at our options pushes out the negativity. Click To Tweet
Seneca wrote, “We are tormented alike by what is past and what is to come. A number of our blessings do us harm, for memory brings back the agony of fear while foresight brings it on prematurely. No one confines his unhappiness to the present.” Seneca continues, “What I advise you to do is not to be unhappy before the crisis comes since it may be that the dangers will never come upon you. They certainly have not yet come. Accordingly, some things torment us more than they should. Some torment us when they should not torment us at all. We are in the habit of exaggerating, imagining or anticipating sorrow.”
This is one of the final episodes in the Truth About Money Series with Todd Langford. To get the most out of this interview segment, I want you to consider that the joy and fulfillment you seek in life happens now in the present but to the untrained observer, it is cannibalized by problems taken from the past and irrational fears about the future. A final stoic quote by Marcus Aurelius, “Even if you live 3,000 or 30,000 years, you should remember this. You cannot lose any other life than the one you are living now.” Enjoy.
When you discover the rule, your whole world changes and that rule is asking yourself the question, “How can I appreciate and experience a meaningful life now?” If that was the only question you asked, then the only rule that you had to follow was waking up and enjoying your environment, the world, time and history we live in, it accelerates even more meaningful experiences. You can trade money for time but time can cost you money. Sometimes we will spend our time doing the things that are not meaningful and putting them on the altar of sacrifice to experience time associated with our rules in the future. We have this hallucination that is worth it and it may be. At the same time, anything that is beyond now is a probability. The shorter the time frame, the higher the probability. The longer the time frame, the lower the probability.
It comes down to what you were saying about waking up and that is the idea of being grateful. If we don’t point out and be grateful for the things we have and we are not grateful for anything, then we need to find something in our lives that we can be grateful for. That pushes production and a lot of pieces. It is so easy to get on the negative road. Negative news sells 6 times to 1 on positive news. Internally, what that means is we are all wired to want to look at the negative at some level. It takes that discipline to separate ourselves from that and to say, “We can always find something wrong but how about we work a little bit on finding something good and something that we can enjoy and lights us up each day? If we don’t have that, then maybe that needs to be the first place we spend our resources in finding that place.”
There is always something right, just as much as there is something wrong and always will be. That is the environment that we live in. It is the non-constant side of things and also understanding human nature. We have things that are built into who we are that no longer serve us. Those are instincts of survival. They are instincts to look for danger based on not being able to feed ourselves 200 years ago or a part of our DNA that is still scared of the tiger in the bushes that could potentially kill you. Those are built-in things, yet they no longer serve us the way they did at one point in the past, at least our ancestry or what is built into our nature.
Understanding that allows you to identify and evaluate, this may not be Math. This is more logical. It allows you to evaluate what is going on so that you can have a more logical experience of what reality is. We don’t need to go in and hunt all summer long to put food away so we can survive the winter. We don’t have to be afraid of what we are afraid of 100 or 1,000 years ago. That stuff no longer exists, even though a part of us is wired to believe that it does. If you remove that, it allows you to understand why you feel the way that you do when you are experiencing disheartening news. Instead of being pulled toward it by that instinct, it is checking yourself, going and seeking what is right because you know that the wrong is not going to serve you.
A lot of times, when you talk about stuff like this, people feel like, “That is fine for you.” I get pulled into the negative regularly. The difference is, I have learned to recognize it. It is not that it doesn’t exist and the fear doesn’t come through but I push it on through once I recognize it. I have been able to find out and figure out that that is happening to me sooner so that I can address it instead of letting it sit there and fester. That is where the differential is. It is not a, “I just lived this great life. I don’t have any fear. I don’t do anything wrong. Everything is great.” It is that I have moved with a discipline to be able to recognize it and step away from it, “Let us think about this logically, see what our options are and try to push that out.” That is where the difference is. It is just becoming familiar with what is going on inside your head early.
It is the awareness but also having options and going to the dials when the environment changes. You guys know that we were in this pretty crazy plane or a flight, where the pilot was given false information of where to fly. He flew right into a hailstorm or two converging storms. It felt like the plane was going to crash. He obviously and the plane had systems in place. When that chaos that was unexpected happened, there was awareness and subsequently, an action that could take place. That is where I think being able to logically program those things into our lives is going to aid us as the environment changes because we are all going to experience fear.
There are going to be things that happen that have never happened before. They incite something inside of us. It is like, “I don’t like that.” Usually, it is the carnal instincts that kick in where we are focused on but if we can be aware and have options. I had an experience where something happened in the business. It threw me off in a negative way. I was aware of it almost immediately and I knew what to do. I called a personal coach that I have. I knew I had to speak to this person. This person talked about this. It took a couple of hours but it was over. It would have taken weeks in the past. It is what you experience to then come up with solutions to have options when the environment changes.We need to find something in our lives that we can be grateful for. Click To Tweet
A lot of times, people think those options are going to be a cost. That is where strategy comes in and that is a big piece. It is having some logic and strategy altogether to say, “How can I put tools in place that I can lean on in the negative but they don’t cost me when the negatives don’t happen?” That is a bit of art along with science. Not everything is pure science. There is some art in there, too. Part of that is, “How do I put things in place that I can lean on but they are not going to take away from my end goals if nothing bad happens? It is not going to be a decrease.” We want to put stuff together in our life, whether it is time, finances or whatever else that can do multiple jobs whenever possible. We can go on a vacation and enjoy our family all at the same time. If we can start to pair stuff together, then we get two bangs for every buck.
I have caught myself a couple of times with clients, who I get to know things are going on. They want to make an investment or allocate money here or there to grow wealth. I was like, “The best investment you can make now is to take your wife on vacation.” Sometimes it is having a specific amount of liquid reserves. You are not going to earn returns on it. At the same time, what is that going to allow you to do if you need an option? Things didn’t work out the way that you think.
How do you put the Math on that? How do you quantify that? You can’t.
It is the evaluation using logic but also being aware that you are evaluating non-constants.
This is off the subject a little bit. There was an interesting part of the movie, Trouble with the Curve. There is a batter that is in a slump. He is a young batter. He is new to baseball in the Minor League. His recruiter said, “How long has it been since you have seen your family?” “It is hard for them to get down here. It is pretty expensive.” He said, “You just focus on what you are doing and I will get them down here.” The baseball club was up in arms like, “We can’t spend money on bringing them. Just do it.” Sure enough, it fixed his batting problem. How do you quantify that? That is one of those things. It is about life. It is about all the things that have meaning that impact everything else that we do.
About Todd Langford
Todd Langford is the Founder & CEO of Truth Concepts, Partners 4 Prosperity, and Prosperity Economics Advisors.
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