?The desire for a more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one?s negative experience is itself a positive experience.? wrote Mark Manson in his latest New York Times Bestselling book.
Those very words written in 2016 seem indirectly congruent with those of Prophet Muhammad, 1400 years ago: ?appreciate whatever God bestows upon you and you?ll be the richest of people?, ?your fear of impoverishment positions you in a state of impoverishment?, ?You expecting a catastrophe is a bigger catastrophe?. The modern philosopher Alan Watts referred to this as ?the backwards law? which is ?the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more desperately you want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance. The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you.? This is no enticement to stop people from pursuing their dreams because numerous people will critically read what?s written and plausibly ask: Aren?t these words an impediment to the growth and development of any individual? Aren?t they an excuse to just stop being ambitious? Aren?t they a reason to refrain from running after our aspirations? That can be one way to construe the words above. However, it?s important to know that these words urge us to be grateful souls and for those interested in scientific research, giving gratitude can make you happier as one Harvard study (goo.gl/RbSBhw) concluded.
However, the right way to decipher these words, is to know the fine thin line between gratitude and ambition, which is where the struggle really lies, because this ?backward law? actually works in reverse order as Manson illustrates in his book: ?If pursuing the positive is a negative, then pursuing the negative generates the positive. The pain you pursue in the gym results in better all-around health and energy. The failures in business are what lead to a better understanding of what?s necessary to be successful. Being open with your insecurities paradoxically makes you more confident and charismatic around others. The pain of of honest confrontation is what generates the greatest trust and respect in your relationships. ..Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience.? These words seem to be inextricable from our emotions. We pursue our emotions and we refrain from what?s in our self-interest as a whole new discipline of science, Behavioral Economics, has been revealing. Gratitude is in our self-interest. We, human beings, are not rational creatures, but emotional creatures as Dale Carnegie states in his masterpiece, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Therefore, It?s important that we act based upon our values and not on our emotions because our emotions are vulnerable and always in serious fluctuations. However, our values should be set-in-stone, they should be on a firm standing ground. Gratitude should be a principle and a value one must try to dearly hold on to. ?If principles can become dated, they?re not principles.? says Warrant Buffet.
May we all be, gr(e)ateful, and remain, gr(e)ateful. May we all aspire and inspire.