Life is a continual bombardment of choices, questions, and unknowns pouring down on us from every direction. These options are stretching us in every direction and will pull us apart is we do not have a strong central core. Our core that holds us together is our ego, our sense of self-worth, confidence, and ability to prevail regardless of what is thrown at us.
People become overwhelmed with anxiety when the unknown in their life becomes overbearing. When we feel trapped by freedom, stuck at an infinite intersection without the ability to move because there are so many choices at our fingertips, it is our ego that reminds us that whichever direction we choose, we will prevail. If depression is a beast hammering us down every time we try and stand up, anxiety is being locked in a dark labyrinth, not knowing where the beast is and you have to find the light, the exit, without being eaten.
I enjoy the metaphor of life as a personal mythology, a self-written story during which we must unleash our inner-hero if we want to overcome life’s beast. Being an adult is realizing no one is coming to save you, and once you realize this universal truth, you must pick up your sword and shield and venture into the unknown where you will discover who you are and bring back insight you can apply to the rest of life and share with your tribe.
We live in a world where we are taught procedures to overcome obstacles, and we become overwhelmed when those procedures do not apply to a novel situation. What do we do when we encounter a new beast we have never face before? When we venture into the darkest part of the forest, or voyage into the furthest stretches of the ocean, we discover things about us and the world we never would have known by staying in the shelter of our village or cove of our bay. After all, ships in a harbor are safe, but that is not why they are built.
Once we return from our adventure, we bring with us not procedures, but an array of strategies. Strategies are our arsenal of weapons, they are our answers to life’s questions, life’s beast. When we have an arsenal of strategies, we can select the best one or combination to overcome our obstacles.
Modern society has an unlimited supply of strategies at our fingertips, only adding to our anxiety. The modern coach must shift from teaching procedures to teaching how to choose the best strategy for a given situation. Once we understand which weapon to choose for which beast, we are more confident.
The more we improve, the greater our ability to choose the right strategy. It is analogous to understanding when you need a long sword, short sword, or arrows or when we need to stand firm and hold up our shield. With experience we get better, we figure out through trial and error what we need to do and how to do it. We will make countless mistakes before getting it right, and once we begin stretching further into the unknown, we will make countless more errors. Regardless, we must continue to venture into the unknown if we want to discover who we are, and if we are to do so, we must have our sword and shield, our ego.
If you enjoy this brief blurb, you may enjoy my new book, A Vigorous Life: A Guided Journey of Purpose and Fulfillment where I dive deeper into figuring out the unknown and creating your personal mythology.