It’s been a while since a guest post featured on the blog. So here it is!
A blog post by the Editor of The Soulful Nib (and also my elder brother). 🙂
Disclaimer: This post is just my reflection on this topic. It isn’t a sure-shot way of achieving inner peace. It’s just a compilation of some common themes that I’ve found while reading different materials.
There are a lot of movies, apps and videos highlighting the importance of inner peace. The common element usually revolves around the ideas of “Accepting Oneself” and “Letting go”. When one reflects upon them, it sounds like they are the right ingredients to achieve Inner Peace. But there is no clear instruction or recipe on how to actually use these ingredients or put them into practice. This is something I keep thinking about and one fine day, part of the “instruction” struck me when I was talking about Warren Buffett with my mother and sister.
Buffett lives by a philosophy he calls An Inner Scorecard. It’s a scorecard that he has defined and has things that he wants to do. Not something that the world wants him to do. If he can live with a decision and accept its consequences, he takes it and does not care about what the outside world expects/considers right.
When explaining this concept, it struck me that there’s a common theme surrounding this in Buddhist Philosophy, The Gita and Stoicism as well. It was also present in a book called Man’s Search for Meaning which describes the survival story of a person in the most brutal Nazi camp.
To sum it up simply, the idea begins with the idea of Control. There are things which lie within our control and things that don’t. We lose our inner peace when we try to focus on things outside our control. So all one needs to do is not focus on things outside of our control. Sounds simple, right? Despite being simple, it’s something most of us focus on.
Okay, if we want to fix this, we just need to divert our attention. So, what is within our control? You might be thinking that the list wouldn’t be too long and would contain only a few important things. Actually, it has only one item. All these philosophies have one common element which is that each one says that the only thing which we can truly control is: our reaction to any event.
Nothing else. That’s it.
You can take everything away from a person but not one’s freedom to react. That’s the only thing under one’s control.
If you can have the power to choose how you’re going to react to events every day, you will not only achieve peace but also see massive gains in productivity because you save so much time.
For example, let’s say you have ₹1440 in your wallet. Suppose when you’re opening your wallet, someone manages to steal ₹10 and runs away? Do you now throw the remaining ₹1430 at that person and hope to get the ₹10 back? No. That’s absolutely stupid.
Yet that’s what we do with time. We have 1440 minutes in a day. If your boss ruins it for 10 minutes, you spend the entire day fretting over it. Now if you had control over your reaction, and understood that you cannot control how your boss’ mood will be or how he/she is going to behave, you would simply accept the situation and move on. If there was a mistake on your part, learn from it and move on. There’s zero gain to be made by thinking about it over and over and imagining different scenarios.
In a similar way, thinking about how nice it would be if your boss was nicer/more understanding is again of no use because your boss is outside your control.
So you see, almost every problem in our lives can stop being a problem if only we stop reacting to them. I agree that it is easier said than done but every day presents a new opportunity to move closer to it.
Instead of spending time and energy on useless activities, let’s focus that energy on things and people that matter. 🙂