Focusing on all that is beyond your control is what makes you miserable.
I met a friend some weeks ago. He is in consulting quite like us. We got talking about the nature of the business and the lack of work ethic that is prevalent in the market today. “No one replies to emails or returns calls,” he lamented. Then he said, “For all my experience, I don’t understand why I don’t get enough consulting projects.” I did not offer any opinion and chose instead to talk about the weather. But he came back to what we were discussing and asked me a pointed question: “How do you deal with rejection and non-recognition of your true worth?”
I replied: “I don’t deal with it. I just let it pass. If someone does not respond to my emails or fails to value me for who I am, I don’t grieve. I have only the right to my duty – which is to write the email. I have only the right to value myself. I don’t have a right to expect others to value me the same way. I remain detached from the outcomes of my efforts. So I am at peace.”
Indeed. That’s how you have to preserve your self-esteem to keep plowing on in a world that’s become too self-centered and discourteous. By saying this, I am not blaming the world or its people. I am just accepting them for the way they are.
But I can empathize with my friend. I too have felt that way in the past. Because your ego will dramatize the situation, it will convince you that you are being pissed on and passed over. It will push you into a depressive spiral. Or it will make you cynical, bitter and angry. Bottomline: it will make you lose your sleep, your inner peace!
Your ego is your worst enemy. It makes you believe that you are – and ought to be – in control of everything in your Life. Your ego will keep trying to convince you that you are causing both your success and your downfalls. In times of success, you will be struck by hubris! And when you fail, and fall, you will be forced to think by your ego that you caused it. But the truth is that Life happens inspite of you and never because of you! Every major event in your Life has happened beyond your control. Your conception, your gender, your birth, your religion, your name, your love, your companionship, your loss(es), your bereavements, your health setbacks, even promotions in your career and your being denied what’s due to you __ every single thing that’s made a difference to your Life, for your good or for worse, has happened despite you, inspite of you!
So, don’t play into your ego’s designs. Now, I am not one to preach on dropping your ego and becoming egoless – because I don’t believe anyone can be that way. Let me share a simpler approach that I follow. Remember always that, in any context, you only have a right to your actions which is something within your control. Beyond that you neither control anything, certainly not the outcomes of your efforts, nor do you have a right to expect anything. Expectations always bring agony. If you can’t control something, don’t agonize over it! So, take it easy. Do your bit. Always do it well – sincerely, honestly, passionately, excellently. And then sit back. Let Life take care of the outcomes – as it has always done!