Life is more fulfilling when we concentrate on what we value rather than what we feel is missing.

Life is more fulfilling when we concentrate on what we value rather than what we feel is missing.
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Wisdom involves transitioning from resisting life to accepting it.

~Rasheed Ogunlaru

Not long ago, a friend shared a tale with me about bringing her seven-year-old to the circus. It was a special mother-daughter outing. Only the two of them, without any annoying brothers or dad interfering with their time together.

They had an amazing time. They observed acrobats, clowns, and a variety of fresh attractions, delighting in each new performance with gasps of joy. They enjoyed each other’s presence, sharing laughter and having a great time. Everything under the sun.

Following this enchanting afternoon, as they were departing, my friend’s daughter noticed the merchandise stand and asked her mom to purchase a plastic fairy wand for her. My friend politely declined.

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During the ride home, her daughter remained silent.

What was your favorite aspect? “What was the highlight of your day?” inquired my friend.

She was feeling down. “I can’t stop thinking about the wand I missed out on.”

I’m still pondering the wand I missed out on.

Many of us tend to focus on the things we didn’t receive, even during the most amazing moments.

How frequently do we focus on the one negative comment or the thing that isn’t right, rather than what is positive or correct?

How can we shift our focus to what exists rather than fixating on what doesn’t?

Personally, the items I missed out on seem more significant now that we are in the era of the Internet. While I am a strong supporter of the benefits of online life, one thing that always pulls me in is reading reviews.

I devour reviews like others might devour a newspaper. From start to finish, I carefully examine any bias, poor writing, or content that may not appeal to me, as well as elements that I am certain to enjoy. This often results in disappointment when I finally get to experience the real thing I’ve been reading about for months.

When I visit a new café or guesthouse, I often find myself focusing on what is missing.

The review mentioned a 180-degree view, but in reality, it’s only front-facing.

“The review mentioned a variety of vegetarian options, but I only see three on the menu, and they don’t seem very appealing.”

This house manager is giving me a disapproving look. The review mentioned that they felt like family by the end of the trip. How is that achievable with this grump?

When my friend told me about her daughter’s experience with the wand she didn’t receive, it was quite timely.

A well-deserved wake-up call, honestly.

Here’s an idea that crossed my mind:

Which practices lead to feelings of entitlement and high expectations, and which practices help cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude for what exists rather than what doesn’t?

It’s important to focus less on reviews, clearly.

One way is to dedicate some time to reflecting on my life before the Internet era. What led to my sense of awe and curiosity about the world in my daily life?

During the past few months of my digital nomad lifestyle, I’ve been more focused on experimenting and trying things out without being concerned about others’ opinions.

These are the rules I follow:

A quick glance at a review is useful, but it has a time constraint. Now, I only dedicate a few minutes to reviewing others’ ideas and focusing on essential practical matters.
Arrive and witness for yourself. Establish eye contact. Look up. Just be.
Take a moment to slow down and fully appreciate what is right in front of you. Why the hurry?
I have faith in my instincts. Feel free to give it a try.
Engage with individuals face-to-face and seek suggestions.
Embrace imperfections. Appreciate the positives of the current situation.
Guess what?

It’s functioning properly.

I stumbled upon a secluded beach that, although not suitable for swimming (which usually frustrates me), was practically empty, and the waves were captivating, sparking countless thoughts.

I chatted with a woman walking her dog and learned about a different beach near our new place. Later, I discovered that despite the Indian restaurant not offering delivery at 3 a.m., they can prepare a meal for pickup during her night shift (which could be useful in a town where things sometimes close by 8 p.m.).

I accidentally consumed the most exceptional coffee I’ve ever had.

Resting in the quiet and oppressive heat of the night inside a tent, I felt frustrated by my lack of awareness about the temperature. After reminding myself that there was nothing I could do, I decided to simply accept the situation, lie still, and eventually fall asleep. I woke up feeling refreshed and excited for the day ahead.

See also  The Intelligence Behind Doing Nothing

I hopped on buses after consulting with locals about which ones to take, and they always led me in the right direction, despite a few nerve-wracking “Where are we?” moments.

Upon receiving a challenging email, I paused. Listening to music helped me relax and rediscover some albums, which prevented me from getting anxious by scrolling through social media.

I tend to list my favorite things first:

This room has excellent ventilation.

The headland boasts some truly captivating trees.

Dogs are welcome!

The music is truly amazing.

The individuals gathered at the pool are all smiling and clearly enjoying themselves, which is contagious.

These flowers are truly stunning.

The mist shrouding the view adds an air of mystery and atmosphere.

I’m discovering something fascinating from the radio interview I’m tuned into instead of a podcast since my device ran out of battery.

That portion of the meal was absolutely delightful.

I hear the sound of birdcalls cutting through the pouring rain.

As I continue to prioritize noticing the positive aspects of my surroundings, I’ve noticed that I am more inclined to spread positivity in various ways, such as:

Attending a community event solo.

Delivering a card by mail to a friend with a broken leg.

Devoting additional time to provide valuable information and assistance to those requiring help.

Exercising restraint and responding thoughtfully in challenging circumstances.

The wands I missed are gradually fading from memory as I focus on what I obtained, and here’s what I’m discovering: Finding joy and satisfaction is enhancing my courage and sense of connection as I navigate the journey of rediscovering everyday life.

Guess what else?

That wand was the best part of my day, but only for a short time. Then I’d go back to feeling frustrated and disappointed about the ice cream I missed out on, the negative feedback I got instead of praise, and the rain that followed the sun (and seemed to drag on forever).

Not acquiring certain wands can lead to a cycle of constantly desiring more, which can eventually consume our lives with feelings of bitterness towards what is lacking.

We find ourselves always searching for external pleasures and validations in life.

We all possess a great deal. It’s important to recognize and address feelings of sadness and disappointment, especially when they are justified. It’s also crucial to accept and embrace the present moment.

Identifying when it’s simply a plastic wand and nothing else.

And proceed to fully enjoy that fantastic day at the circus.

Because you never know when you’ll have this opportunity again.

“Your MASTERY OF LIFE begins the moment you break through your prisons of self-created limitations and enter the inner worlds where creation begins.”

Dr. Jonathan Parker

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