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Why Sadness is Your Friend

Why Sadness is Your Friend

Grieving woman

     

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    Recently, we looked at “Why Fear is Your Friend,” and learned that Fear can guide you towards what’s important for you, motivate you to take action to improve your odds, and you give you a rush. This week, we discuss why Sadness is your friend. OK, you probably think that idea is nuts. Who wants to be Sad? Well, OK, I get that, Sadness sometimes feels bad, but I want you to get that like Fear, Sadness can be a good friend.

    “All well and good, Master Yoda,” you say, “but how does that work?”

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    First, Sadness is about losing something you care about, whether that’s a loved one, a job, or a football game…so, Sadness  shows you what you care about (because some people honestly don’t know, and that’s, well, SAD!)  Would you feel Sadness if your girlfriend / boyfriend left? The answer tells you how attached you are to this person. How Sad would you feel if you lost your job? You see where this is going.

    Along the same lines, experiencing the Sadness of loss helps us to appreciate what we still have. Losing a loved one, while extremely Sad and painful, can be the kick in the pants we need to mend the fences, reach out, or otherwise make the best of the relationships and opportunities we still have. Funerals are painful and gut-wrenching occasions, and they are great for bringing people back together, burying old conflicts, healing wounds, but it only works if you show up and feel the Sadness and let it bring you together with the others there.  One who can’t bear Sadness will tend to shy away from love, commitment, and real passion, in order to avoid grief, and that’s an empty life.

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    Similarly, losing a job can help you appreciate that you still have your health. Losing your health can bring loved ones together. Losing money can help you to focus on what really matters to you, your values, your sense of mission, your spirituality.

    Lastly, Sadness has authenticity to it. Grieving has a way of slowing you down and bringing you back to the moment. It forces you to let go of your worries about your to-do list and next quarter’s numbers and your fast-paced life and really be with yourself, your feelings and the people around you. This is important today because we can get so lost in our smart phones and emails and plans and lose sight of people, relationships, and dreams.

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    So, this week’s bottom line is that Sadness  shows you what you care about, Sadness helps us to appreciate what we have, and Sadness requires us to be authentic. This is the kind of friend who can help you to stay grounded and real, to honor what’s important and let go of what’s not, and we all need that kind of friend. 

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    Dave Kaiser

    An Executive Coach who helps people make better use of their time, from productivity to living their life's mission.

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    Last Updated on June 19, 2019

    6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

    6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

    I’ve stood on the edge of my own personal cliffs many times. Each time I jumped, something different happened. There were risks that started off great, but eventually faded. There were risks that left me falling until I hit the ground. There were risks that started slow, but built into massive successes.

    Every risk is different, but every risk is the same. You need to have some fundamentals ready before you jump, but not too many.

    It wouldn’t be a risk if you knew everything that was about to happen, would it? Here’re 6 ways to be a successful risk taker.

    1. Understand That Failure Is Going to Happen a Lot

    It’s part of life. Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane.

    Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take.

    When failure hits, the only options are to keep going or quit. If you expect falling into a meadow of flowers and frolicking unicorns, then you’re going to immediately quit once you realize that getting to that meadow requires you to go through a rock filled cave filled with hungry bats.

    2. Trust the Muse

    Writing a story isn’t a big risk. It’s really just a risk on my time. So when I start writing a story, I’m scared it will be time wasted. Of course, it never really is. Even if the story doesn’t turn out fabulous, I still practiced.

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    When I’ve taken risks in my life, the successful ones always seemed to happen when I followed the muse. Steven Pressfield describes the muse,

    “The Muse demands depth. Shallow does not work for her. If we’re seeking her help, we can’t stay in the kiddie end. When we work, we have to go hard and go deep.”

    The muse is a goddess who wants our attention and wants us to work on our passion.

    If you’re taking a risk in anything, it’s assumed that there is some passion built up behind that risk. That passion, deep inside you, is the muse. Trust it, focus on it, listen to it.

    The most successful articles and stories I write are the ones I’ve focused all my attention on. There were no interruptions during their creative development. I didn’t check my phone or go watch my Twitter feed. I was fully engaged in my work.

    Trust the muse, focus your attention on your risk, let the ideas and path develop themselves, and leave the distractions at the side of the road.

    3. Remember to Be Authentic

    Taking a risk and then turning into something you’re not, is only going to lead to disaster. Whether you are risking a new relationship or new opportunity, you must be yourself throughout the entire process.

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    How many times have you acted like you loved something just because the men or woman you just started going out with loved it?

    For example, I’m not an office worker. I have an incredibly hard time working in a confined timeline (ie. 9-5). That’s why I write. I can do it whenever the mood strikes, I don’t have somebody breathing down my neck, telling me that I’m five minutes late, or missed a comma somewhere. I don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if what I’m writing will get me fired or make me lose a promotion. I can just be myself, period.

    One girlfriend didn’t understand that. She believed solely in the 9-5 motto, specifically something in human resources because that was a very stable job. I was scared for my future, but I stuck with the relationship because of my own insecurities and acted like I would do it to make her happy.

    Here’s a tip: NEVER take away from your happiness to make somebody else satisfied (note I didn’t say happy).

    Making somebody else happy will make you happy. Doing something to satisfy somebody is murder on your soul.

    4. Don’t Take Any Risks While You’re Not Clearheaded

    I’d been considering the risk for a couple weeks. It all sounded good. I was 22 and I could be rich in a couple of years. That’s what they were selling me, anyways.

    One night, while at a house party with some friends, I found myself at a computer. A couple of my friends were standing nearby and asked me what I was doing. I told them I was considering starting my own business and it was only going to cost me $1,500.

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    Of course, when a bunch of drunk people are surrounded by more drunk people, things get enthusiastic. It sounded like the best business venture in the world to everybody, including me. So I signed up and gave them my credit card number.

    A few painful months and close to $4,000 dollars lost later, I quit the business. I was young and fell into the pyramid scheme trap. It was an expensive drunk decision.

    Drinking heavily and making decisions has a proven track record of failure. So when you have something important to decide, don’t let your emotions take over your brain.

    5. Fully Understand What You’re Risking

    It was the start of my baseball comeback. I got a tryout with a professional scout and killed it. After the tryout, he talked to my girlfriend and myself, making sure we understood I would be gone for up to 6 months at a time. That strain on the relationship could be tough.

    We understood. I left to play ball, chose to stay in the city I played in, and a year later we broke up. Not because of baseball, see point 3 above. Taking big risks can have massive impacts on everything in your life from relationships to money. Know what you’re risking before you take the risk.

    If you believe the risk will be worth it or you have the support you need from your family, then go ahead and make the leap.

    You can get more guidance on how to take calculated risks from this article: How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve More and Become Successful

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    6. Remember This Is Your One Shot Only

    As far as we know officially, this is our one shot at life, so why not take some risks?

    The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are these regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about.

    Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in. Be yourself and make the world a better place.

    Now go ahead, take that risk and be successful at it!

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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