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“All you gotta do is just to study hard, get to that prestigious college, get a good GPA. once you’ve graduated, aim for that one A-Class company so that you’ll get a good starting salary, run up the ladder fast, and you will be fine” “Just marry the love of your life, then you’ll live happily ever after”

Sounds familiar?

I gotta say, it’s crazy how we cultivated our thinking based on these way of thinking. Just because those sayings were passed on to us like rituals. Everybody said that, even most of our parents said that too. We can’t deny that even though we have that tiny bit of doubts inside of us towards that way of thinking ,or some people might say — the words of wisdom, yet we do nothing about it. We unconsciously cultivate in those sayings and made decisions to our future based on that as well. We employ these kind of thinking like the “Pavlovian” way in which we are conditioned to do what we had to do in order to gain rewards and avoid punishment.

photo credit: dialogwheel.com

Honestly, i am one of those people who have bulbs of doubts the moment those words passed on to me. Because the way i see it, it is not entirely proven as true. There are people who succeed and there are also people who failed miserably. There are people who able to extend their wings and there are people who tied up tightly in a box. I still believed that that way of thinking is not for everyone. I thought if I cultivate my decision in life based on that way of thinking, I will be like one of those people who lived inside of a box, immobile, and afraid of the ever changing world that i live in. Here's some of the ideas from famous Chinese philosophers that you can learn from.

How we see the world affects our decisions

How do you see the world? Is the world you see is Coherent or Capricious? Or maybe both? We all know and believes that the future is unpredictable. We know in the end we don’t always get what we want because things might changed and gets in the way. However, we still make decisions and plans as if we can predicts our future. When it comes to how we live our life, we tend to behave as if there are certain stable factor that we can count on in a world that is coherent, and this assumptions affects our decisions. We tend to assume that there is a general way the world works, just like the way of thinking that passed on to us above.When it comes to making decision, we use all of our logic, do the research, make lists of pros and cons as well as following that intuitive feeling about what feels ‘right’. We do the combination of both. However, the world does not work coherently. The world is capricious and unstable.

photo credit: huffingtonpost.com

If you see the world as capricious, you should have see the things that come in your way is too, unstable. This is where judgement come in to play. Sometimes we can easily reacted to a person or situation like “He’s always stubborn”, “She will never change”, “I’m very shy” or “This situation will never gets better”. If you see the world as capricious, you should also be able to see that everything around you is not fixed. Instead of labeling your self or other’s as a fixed being, why don’t you see them as a capricious human being? This will allow us to not define ourselves to a certain past roles and limit ourselves to not being able to see what we can do. Simply because we often said “That’s not who I am” or “This is who I am” in which will limit our sensitivity to the whole situation, the response we can give, and the goodness we can show.

Thus, voicing a complain in a more calm and courteous way rather than an aggressive and rude way to the manager will open up a better conversation between the two of you. Moreover, you will get your words of complaints heard easily or get the right response you wanted from them.

It is important to be able to get everything in line ; the world is complex, you and everyone is complex, and there is a complex trajectories that can go in multiple directions. When you try to understand this in your mind, you’ll be able to see the whole context before making a decision in the endless shifting world. I also see this as a opportunity for us to cast out or creativity as we can create a different methods, different strategies, different plans, to get to where we wanted to be. If Plan A does not work, it is not the end of the world as there is Plan B, C, D and so forth.

This too, will affect our potential for goodness

If we are able to see the world as capricious and everything in it as unstable, we then can enhance our inner potential for goodness. All religion’s God is good. All of the Gods (in all religion) teaches their creatures to be good and do good, this also because they are all inherit their goodness to all of their creatures. I don’t want to be too spiritual-ish cause i know most of people prefer universal understanding. So let’s look at it this way : Imagine you were in a park, where you see cute little children running around. Suddenly one little boy stumbled upon a hole and not being able to get out from there. He is crying, and the only witness of his meltdown is you. What would you do? Though maybe most of you will say “I’ll cried up for help” or “I’ll look for his mother” don’t deny it that there is a teeny tiny gut feeling or intuitive inside of you that wanting to rescue the little guy right away. Your potential for goodness.

photo credit: yogadigest,com

We have that tiny sprouts of goodness inside of us. If we cultivate in it, it will grow. If we could develop this instinct, we would know what to do and what to decide in just about any situation. If we can nurture this instinct very well, we would not hurt those around us in our daily lives so often. However, just like cultivating a sprout, we can easily forget to water and nourish them; this potential can be lost, warped and changed by what it encounters. As of in life, we prone to easily let anger, jealousy and resentment infusing our atmosphere. Little did we know, that by unleashing the worst in ourselves, we bring out the worst in others and cause them to kill their sprouts too.

Now that we know the potential within us, we should try to radiates it. Pay attention to the response you get when you perform an act of kindness ; holding an open door for strangers, smiling to someone, helping someone to push the button in the elevator. You will feel a physical sensation of warmth from the inside. As you pay attention to that sensation and nurture the potential within yourself, you will notice the impact on yourself and others around you. Little did you know, they will slowly inspired other people to grow their sprouts as well.

How we think of the world – use our mind – potential for goodness – and heart affect the making of sound decision

By nourishing our sprouts of goodness, we can then try to cultivating ourselves through our interaction with others and this will guides us to understand how to make the right decision in any given situation. Good decision comes when the mind and the heart are integrated.

Wise decision does not come just from thinking rationally. If we always blindly rely on our intellects and rational mind, we would never be able to decide well. This too will cause us to just passively rely on our senses and being mislead to reacting unwisely. For example : telling off your partner angrily when he/she did you wrong, without wanting to know what lies underneath their action. Life to us is a series of untrained responses. It then ended up being a negative responses, if we are driven with the external impulses we faced everyday.

However, if we tried to cultivate the mind and the heart into a parallel position, we will be in a more stable place. We will not be distracted by impulses, emotional swings, we rather focus on the big picture and know what to do.If we trained to get our mind and heart in a parallel position, see the world as capricious and there is a potential for goodness in everybody we meet, we will know that life is no longer a series of untrained responses. We will then be able to sense other’s dispositions more accurately, understand deeply what’s really going on without directly putting our emotional reaction to it, and work to shift the outcome accordingly.

photo credit: hbc33

Training our heart and mind means honing our judgement : seeing the bigger picture, understanding what really lies behind a person’s behavior and remembering that every person is not rigid as they have their own emotions that they can draw out. If we had nurtured the heart and mind, we wouldn’t have to ask ourselves how to move through life’s daily encounters.

By and large, when we can let go of the idea that the world is coherent place with a clear guidelines,then what we are left is to navigate using the heart and mind. As stated from the book:

“The heart and mind is all there is,and we develop it everyday through our relationship with the people we’re with. It helps us lay the groundwork for growth, and to work with what we have. And as you do so, all that you thought you were will begin to change. You will find parts of yourself you didn’t know existed. The world you once thought of as stable starts instead to seem like a world of infinite possibilities”

Now that you know, don’t limit yourself because of the words that passed on to you like rituals. You don’t have to do something based on the clear-cut guidelines. Cultivate your thinking just like the way you see the ever changing world. You can still reach that heights, be the person you always wanted to be, marry someone who fits you perfectly, if you trained your heart and mind to do so.

Because hey, we all live in a world of infinite possibilities.


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Anizabella Lesmana | @anizabelle

A storyteller. Aspire to inspire and express the constellation of thoughts, ideas and imaginations with a pen and paper in my hand.

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