Do you ever take time to consider the tools you have in your self-support system? As you read this post, I want you to think about the collection of beliefs that make up your worldview. Imagine those beliefs as tools in a toolbox.
One of the Greek strongman’s labors was to clean out some nasty horse stables that hadn’t been scoured in decades. Ugh.
But Hercules didn’t just grab a spade and start shoveling. Nope, he saw two nearby rivers and diverted them, so tons of water washed through the stables and did the cleaning for him.
Hercules got creative and used the resources at hand to make his job easier.
Want a more contemporary mythology? How about MacGuyver? That guy took ordinary items he found around him and created devices to get out of dangerous situations.
I know both Hercules and MacGuyver are fictional characters, but we’re talking about heroic mythology again, folks. That means we need to look for the deeper meaning beneath the story, which is this:
You must think creatively about your mental and emotional resources. If you’re struggling with certain situations in life, it might be time to look for new sources of inspiration, new ways to look at the world. Discomfort means it’s time to adapt.
The Human Swiss Army Knife
Think of your worldview, your system of beliefs, as an internal support structure that resembles a toolbox. To make the metaphor more specific, think of yourself as a human Swiss army knife.
The truth is, human beings need a diverse range of tools to thrive in this life. But too many of us have been taught to cling stubbornly to one philosophy, one religion, one way of seeing the world. This is a root cause of unhappiness: when you run out of possibilities, you feel trapped.
And trapped people become desperate, and do desperate things to escape. They drive too fast, spend too much, eat too much, ingest too much alcohol and drugs. They succumb to mental and physical illness, because running out of options stresses the mind and body.
Lack of diversity is just as bad for your potential happiness as it is for stock portfolios and potential mates (stop looking at your cousin like that)!
Diversity is the key. We need a lot of potential ideas, pathways, philosophies, and ways of thinking to choose from in this life. We need many perspectives to round us out. We can get possibilities from friends, family, and strangers. We can get them from college, work, reading books, and heck, even TV and the internet.
To quote the wise and irascible Egg Shen from the cult movie Big Trouble in Little China (a personal favorite), “we take what we want, and leave the rest.” He was referring to his friend’s salad bar.
That’s another way of looking at the world: a salad bar of possible approaches to life. The variety is there not to confuse us, but to give us the wonderful freedom of options. Pick what works for you, and set aside what doesn’t.
Note: I’m not talking about a haphazard process where you blindly and recklessly dump your current beliefs in favor of something new, just because it’s new. I’m talking about taking time to think about your spiritual needs (“spiritual” being your combined mental, emotional, and physical requirements).
Again, refer back to the toolbox metaphor: if you have a broken screwdriver, you replace it with a new one. That doesn’t mean you throw out all the unbroken tools at the same time. It’s good to have a lot of different tools on hand, so you can tackle any job.
The Emotional Geiger Counter
How do you know if it’s time to reevaluate your internal resources and add some new tools to your repertoire? Search your feelings, as Darth Vader suggested to Luke Skywalker.
Emotions are like a Geiger counter; they help you track down limiting thoughts and beliefs. When you’re feeling down, explore your negative emotions. Don’t avoid them. Follow them like a radiation signature to their source. You’ll usually discover a belief that limits you in some way: a prejudice, a bias, or a distorted view of yourself, others, or the world in general.
Remember: the foundation for any personal development is belief. First, you have to believe you can change and grow for the better and create a more engaged and fulfilled life. If you stubbornly cling to your limiting beliefs, you won’t be able to make the changes you want to achieve.
Internal Resources Worksheet
Download the Internal Resources Worksheet and use it to help discover worn-out spiritual tools and replace them with new ones.
Also, please share stories of your progress! Comment on this post to relate your experiences as you increase the diversity of your beliefs.
Napoleon Hill said “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” And you don’t have to be Hercules or MacGuyver to do it.