We Either Make Ourselves Miserable

We either make ourselves miserable
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“We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” -Carlos Castaneda

Carlos Castaneda (1925 – 1998) was a bestselling American author known for his series of books about Shamanism.

His first book “The Teachings of Don Juan” in 1968, describes how he got into Shamanism under the tutelage of Don Juan Matus, a “Yaqui” or “A man of knowledge”. His series of books sold over 28 million copies in 17 languages. He gained a huge following because of the philosophy and enigmatic wisdom found in his books that appealed to the modern society.

The quote above from Castaneda offers a refreshing realization of what misery really is: a mental burden. Brain scans show that miserable people such as worrywarts have much more active brains than other people. As a result, their productivity is low and their performance gets compromised because of too much energy spent on worrying. Meanwhile, people who don’t stress about it too much are more capable of solving their problems. Studies have proven that worrying affects one’s concentration on important tasks.

This doesn’t mean, however, that being mentally strong is a piece of cake. It takes a lot of discipline to change the brain’s default functions. For one thing, mentally strong people have to train themselves to forgive mistakes, especially their own. They also have to practice patience and letting go of things they cannot control.

One of the most mentally strong people in history is the 15-year-old Anna Frank who wrote, “I don’t think of all the misery but of the beauty that still remains.”

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