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

Experienced management consultant working at the intersection of strategy, customer, and technology. Combine a tendency to think strategically with a penchant for getting my hands dirty at the coalface of implementation.

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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