TheSharperDev

A site containing some of Morgan’s thoughts

23 Feb 2020

Thoughts on How I Embrace and Deal With Reality

 Photo by Michal Mrozek on Unsplash

One of my Christmas presents was Principles by Ray Dalio. It’s him describing the principles that have helped make him successful.

I wanted to share some thoughts on a principle that I’ve thought a lot about recently. Specifically on how I need to grow in that principle.

Embrace Reality and Deal With It

Dalio’s first principle is “Embrace Reality and Deal With It.” He opens his chapter by saying, “There is nothing more important than understanding how reality works and how to deal with it.”

It’s important because so much of life starts by acknowledging reality. If I’m constantly lying or deluding myself I’ll never have great relationships or a great career.

If I fail to acknowledge reality, I’ll never change.

Cultivating that kind of mindset is hard for me. When I’m in the middle of a challenge or predicament, my natural mindset is to escape reality. I wish for someone else to make it different.

That mindset limits me. A LOT!!!

Sitting here now, I wish I was better at this.

How This Impacts Me

One way this mindset express itself is in my bad mood. I can get a bit sour if something happens that I don’t expect. I get grumpy and my communication style tends to break down.

Another way it expresses itself is my lack of flexibility. If something abruptly changes, I can quickly feel like life isn’t fair. That I don’t really want to be doing this.

Both of those things have a lot of negative impacts on me personally. Both tendencies are harmful to myself and my relationships. What is the opportunity cost of being moody and inflexible.

  • How does this impact husband/father/work Morgan?
  • Do I miss quality time with my wife and kids?
  • Do I miss a chance to connect with my coworker because I didn’t want to talk to her?
  • What could I have learned if I had an open and welcoming mindset?
  • Could I have helped someone else out instead of feeling sorry for myself?

Why I Do This?

If this is the way I react to certain situations, do I have a good reason for doing it?

The main reason I react in this way it because that’s the way I was modeled. It’s a learned behavior based on what I’ve observed in my life.

The second reason is it’s easier to blame someone else than confront my situation. If I’m blaming someone else, it’s easier for me to deal with the fact that I gave up? Or failed?

Thoughts for Change

In the chapter that Ray Dalio introduces this topic, he makes a lot of compelling arguments for embracing and dealing with reality. I won’t repeat them here, but I will leave you with some thoughts of my own.

First, I have two friends in particular that are good at adjusting to reality. I’ve been with them when something unexpected happens. In my mind I’m thinking, “oh great, this is going to suck”. They surprise me by responding with a good mood. It’s not a big deal to them, so the situation isn’t ruined.

When I experience that, it’s attractive. I want to spend more time with them.

I want people to enjoy spending time with me. My behavior has the opposite effect, it’s off putting.

Secondly, since this is a behavior that I’ve learned, this is also a behavior that people around me might learn.

If I’m constantly moody or inflexible at work, am I teaching my coworkers to do the same? I don’t want to be on a team full of people who are moody and inflexible. Making sure my team isn’t that way starts with me changing myself.

I wonder if my son or daughter will learn these behaviors from me? That’s the scary thing for me. My kids are young and impressionable, they’ll pretty much mimic whatever I do. I want to be a good example for them. I don’t want them having to unlearn this at some point in their life.

Questions for You

Now that I’ve talked at length about me, what about reality do you struggle with?

What do you have a hard time embracing? Or dealing with?

How is it impacting your relationships?

So much of life starts with an accurate view of reality. I’m working on it and I wish you luck in your endeavor!

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