A Mental Model for Life
Last night was part 1 (of 3) of the Mind-Body Movement, held at Branded HQ. The theme for Part 1 is How to Handle Setbacks, followed by an hour of Candlelight Yoga. Part of the content last night included the introduction of a Mental Model.
Life can be tough. There is a lot of uncertainty and struggle that is a part of the beauty. Something that I have found to be helpful, and I have read in quite a few books, is the idea of creating a Mental Model or Metaphor to help navigate the expected unexpected. When you connect something that you know well or are intrigued by to the wild terrain, uncertainty, and intrinsic change that comes with life, you are better able to understand and navigate through the storms (waves, fire, adventure, etc.).
I challenged the group last night to create their own Mental Model, and to either post it privately or publicly. I figured that because I am committed to leading by example, I would share mine.
I initially wrote this in my early 20's, but I lost my original copy so I re-wrote this one this week, specifically for last night's workshop. Here goes.....
"Life is an ultra-marathon that I don’t want to finish first. More opportunity and possibility arises when I keep a balanced and sustainable pace. There needs to be self-love and compassion when I slow down to rest, knowing that surrender and calm is just as important as effort and high-vibration energy. I allow excitement and motivation to grow when I push outside my comfort zone, as I discover how strong I am today. My pace will bring me into the lives of new and unique people, and my choice of path will take me on wild adventures to new lands when I am brave and open to seeing the forks in the road.
I know that leaving people behind leaves space for new relationships up ahead and venturing into the unknown seems scary at first, but it always teaches and grows me more than staying on the well-worn path. My energy and attitude attracts certain like-minded people but I remind myself to detach and let everyone roam free, as my true run partners always make their way back to me. The ebbs & flow of each day bring new challenges but all I can do is trust the process and focus on my breath and my effort. It’s tempting to compare myself to others, to wish I tried harder, to get struck in “what ifs” or get consumed by fear of what’s coming around each corner, but I’ve learned that is wasted energy.
I lean into the uncertainty, I practice gratitude for each moment, I focus on lessons learned and growth that has resulted versus shaming or regretting things from my past which cannot be changed. I know I need to conserve my precious energy for the moment at hand and I want to take in the beauty of each breath with eyes open, head up, an open mind, and an open heart. I want to cherish each connection for what it is because I know the Finish Line will come sooner than I'd like, and sometimes appears without warning.
At times I’ve been pushed, tripped, or hurt by other runners zooming past or attempting to drag themselves behind me. I’ve learned that everyone is going through their own battle, and although it may not seem like it, everyone is doing the best that they can."
Here are some other ideas to spark your creativity....
-Life is the journey of caterpillar to butterfly
-Life is a road trip in a car with three wheels
-Life is hike backwards up a mountain
-Life is the balance of walking a tight rope
-Life is the ultimate Choose Your Own Adventure novel
-Life is the journey of the University of Unlimited Choices
Take some time to write out your Mental Model for Life. Share with others. Stay open and curious about how you react and what changes you want to see in your habits and mindset. The only way to create change is to acknowledge where that change needs to happen. Reach out for support from someone you feel safe and connected with, and trust that life can be much more beautiful and satisfying when you commit to creating your best life and best-Self possible.
I would love to hear what Mental Model you come up with. Send me a message, tag me on facebook or instagram, or find me roaming around yyc.
Have fun ;)