How I Will Find Order In A Month of Chaos
A mentor, and friend of mine gave me some great advice in regards to contract negotiations. But after hearing it, I realized that it was a principle I was well aware of in other areas of my life, and it was only about to become more challenging.
He told me that I must not be afraid of silence — that I need to own silence.
Once I let this sink in, it quickly became clear to me that I was going to need to master this not just for making deals and negotiations, but for the massive month of work ahead of me.
I left an amazing job as a strength and nutrition coach to venture out on my own. This means that I was going to go from having hundreds of conversations and encounters with other humans, down to practically zero.
I was about to get into my head a lot more.
And if gone unchecked, this can produce a lot of serious consequences. Stress about my current situation, anxiety, worry, unease, depression, existential angst. I know from personal experience, if I don’t take the time to be okay with alone time, I feel all these mixed emotions come on. Thoughts are just flying by, and as if I am the monkey in the middle, I try to jump up and grab each thought to no avail.
Owning silence means that I need to be aware of where my mind is at at all times. Thoughts have this powerful ability to cloud judgement, and cover up deep feelings. This can produce some serious stress on our mind and body if we let it build up.
“Owning silence means that I need to be aware of where my mind is at at all times.”
Something that comes to mind when I hear this term — owning silence — is embracing solitude. With this comes a firm understanding that solitude is different from loneliness. Another way this can be said: Being alone is different from feeling lonely.
When alone, I know that I am in a prime position to practice and acquire new skills and knowledge. I can produce more meaningful work, in less time, by entering states of flow with ease. There is no distraction, and no pull from outside forces. The only thing left to focus on is my state of mind, and the work that needs to get done.
By owning silence, I take an active approach to participate in listening to others, and not imposing my ego upon them.
By embracing solitude, I learn to be okay with who I am at this particular point in time.
Something that comes to mind when I think of silence and solitude is self-compassion. In order to be okay with being alone, you have to be really okay with yourself. This makes intuitive sense of course, but it feels as something I should not gloss over.
If every thought that I have is negative, insidious, sad, and/or worrisome, then it would seem that any time I am presented the opportunity to witness these thoughts, I may just become anxious or upset.
This is where self-compassion comes in. Understanding that you are not your thoughts is one of the most difficult things I can explain to anyone. You as an entire human being, is not just thought. But your thoughts will dictate your fate.
Self-compassion has 3 components:
Self-kindness — being generous and kind to yourself.
Common humanity — recognizing that we’re part of a greater whole, and we’re not isolated weirdos with unusual problems.
Mindfulness — being non-judgmental and consciously aware of what you’re doing, thinking, feeling, and experiencing.
“You, as an entire human being, is not just thought. But your thoughts will dictate your fate.”
Practicing self-compassion can be had because it just feels down right weird. Most of us go throughout our day speaking down towards ourselves. When’s the last time you told yourself, “Okay buddy, some shit just hit the fan and I can see you’re getting upset (mindfulness). Others have gone through worse (common humanity), so take five and regroup. You’re strong, focused and you will make it through this (self-kindness).”
How can you practice building this resilience to chaos?
You can complete 20, 10, five, or two minutes. Even simply doing one deep breath in and out fully is a meditation.
I recommend the following apps to help build your inner yogi:
When I practice meditation, especially at points where I feel the least compelled to do it, I am reminded by meditations power. I come out of 10 minute guided sessions feeling that I have clarity on all that I need to do. All of the trivial thoughts and tasks fall away, and I am left with the essential few.
It’s a practice in minimalism, self-compassion, love and kindness, common humanity, focus and discipline, creativity and learning, all in one.
When you’re getting anxious or upset:
One — Mindfulness: Be aware of where your mind is and how your body physically feels.
Two — Self-kindness: Be kind and generous to yourself. Don’t feed your already troubled mind more negative thoughts. Treat yourself as you would console a close friend.
Three — Common humanity: Understand others have went through this, and so can you.
Four — Own silence and embrace solitude: Get comfortable with being alone. You wouldn’t believe the insights that can come to you by giving your mind and body some space.
“All of the trivial thoughts and tasks fall away, and I am left with the essential few.”
When everything doesn’t seem to be going your way, remain steady and calm. Realize that what is happening around you is out of your control, but what is happening on the inside is. And it’s inside that you can change your thoughts and perception of reality, ultimately allowing you to handle the situation with much more clarity.
This can all be worked on through slowing down, becoming aware of where your mind is, and giving yourself space and silence.