Life Isn’t Working Out As I’d Like It To Work Out

Life isn’t working out as I’d like it to work out. The question that I am left with is this one, how to be about what is so?  I have been grappling with this (including some help from Gregory Bateson) and I want to share with you what showed up for me.

Lets imagine that I am at a disco and the DJ is playing all kinds of music: pop, soul, rock, disco, R&B, ska, country, jazz…… etc.  Further, let’s imagine I am at this disco to dance – to just dance. What is my experience if I insist that I will only get up and dance to say R&B music?  Is it not likely that I will spend most of my evening dissatisfied – sat in my chair, being dissatisfied with the music being played, complaining that the DJ has not taste, getting drunk ….

Now imagine that I have two normal dice in my hands. And I roll the dice. What shows up? Any combination: two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, or twelve.  Right?  That is simply what is so given the nature of the dice and the game that I am playing.

Given the design of the game, I know that if I play this game or find myself playing this game, I will end up with one of eleven outcomes. I know this beforehand. Yet, I cannot know nor determine what I will end up getting when I roll the dice.  Nor can I know what will show up if someone else rolls the dice for me.

two-dice-one-red-and-one-black-landed-on-double-six

What happens to my experience of living if I make my self-expression, happiness, aliveness, fulfilment, conditional on getting two sixes every time I throw the dice?

Have I not limited myself to being happy-fulfilled, on average, once every 11 throws of the dice? Have I not, at the very same time, condemned myself to the experience of dissatisfaction even misery for the other ten throws?  Have I not stacked the odds against myself?

What happens if I put myself in a position (through being and doing) where I am as expressed, as happy, as alive, as fulfilled, if I get an eleven as well as a twelve?  It occurs to me that I have doubled the occasions for experiencing being alive, being self-expressed, being happy, being fulfilled.

Now imagine that I have arrived at a place where I am ok with whatever the roll of the dice generates.  What is my experience of living in this case?  Is my experience not transformed?

Knowing this, I have a choice in the matter of how I choose to show up, live and thus experience my life.  I can choose to:

  • dance with whatever shows up and in dancing I can became a better dancer;
  • act on others and the world to get them to conform to my wishes – each and every day; and/or
  • resign myself to being self-expressed, alive, happy and fulfilled when life shows up exactly as I insist that it shows up.

Author: Maz Iqbal

Management consultant. Working at the intersection of the Customer, the Enterprise, and Technology. Deep interest in human existence. Disposed favourably to the Existentialist stand. Penchant for originals and original thinking, as well as stimulating thinking and rocking the boat. Otherwise, thoroughly ordinary.

3 thoughts on “Life Isn’t Working Out As I’d Like It To Work Out”

  1. Maz, I have been struggling with this same question for the better part of a year. As I approach 40, I expected to be in a very different place in my life by now. Not still struggling to figure out my professional identity. Not still struggling to understand where and how I can be of use in this world. But here I am all the same. When expectations don’t match with reality, it forms discontent that can prompt the experience you describe…anxiously waiting on double sixes and anything less is disappointment.

    However, I also believe that discontent can be a spark for re-evaluation and reinvention. The key is to approach it (and ourselves) with compassion and patience. And learning how to love and appreciate the good that exists around us each moment.

    I don’t know quite where I’m headed right now, but I’m increasingly certain that this path I’m on is the right one. I don’t know where it leads, but I know I’m here for a purpose. It’s as if I’ve had to experience the joys, confusions, rages, heartbreaks – the full human experience – of professional life in order to help others navigate their own way through it.

    Like

    1. Hello Chris,
      I hear you and I thank you for sharing yourself and your experience. It occurs to me that your experience is one that I am intimately familiar with. I also thank you for sharing your attitude and your stance to where you are in life: ‘It’s as if I’ve had to experience the joys, confusions, rages, heartbreaks – the full human experience – of professional life in order to help others navigate their own way through it.”

      With you (and me) in mind I have written my next post – I hope it speaks to you.

      At your service and with my love
      maz

      Like

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