If you only read one post in the whole course, it’s this one. Please finish it before you yell, “Wow, what a bunch of touchie-feelie BS!”
In spite of a thousand conveniences – or perhaps because of them – modern life is stressful.
I suspect that’s due to information overload. Our advertisers, massive social networks, media, and other systematized persuasion systems dump hundreds of hours of ideas on us, constantly.
We’re also in the thick of a cultural shift toward individualism. On YouTube, How-To videos and Vlogs – which often overlap in purpose – are the second and third most popular categories. Alongside that, the culture is shifting in favor of explaining everything through science – including behavior, feelings, motivation.
The implication is that anyone should be able to plot, predict, and control everything in their life, using the endless data provided to them online, and the endless supply of products offered to the modern consumer. It’s a materialist’s paradise – in both senses. Determinism and consumerism are the status quo.
So if we’re so good at predicting and controlling everything, why are prescription medications for anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions at an all time high?
Our rising dependence on prescription drugs is evidence that we are failing at life, because we’re convinced we can control it down to how you feel during your waking hours.
Now, I’ve created a massive course full of organized knowledge on how to beat CPPS, but I’m about to contradict myself. Even undermine myself.
Because you need to know one and only one thing above all to beat CPPS:
YOU CANNOT CONTROL EVERYTHING.
In fact, the only thing you can control is what goes on in your head.
And you can’t pack endless tasks and knowledge into your head.
Therefore the Prime Optimal Most Important Lesson Ever for beating CPPS is, in fact, letting go of control.
What does control have to do with CPPS?
Anxiety. Anxiety causes tension, and when combined with faulty movement patterns, it manifests in localized pain. When you sit a lot, that localized pain is in the pelvis.
If you have CPPS, then:
More anxiety = worse CPPS symptoms
Beyond hearing it from my physical therapist and reading it in every rehab book, I didn’t believe it until reversing it produced results for me.
I battled CPPS for eight months using therapy, massage, and stretching. I was at about 60-70% of my former capability, but I could not run without feeling my intestines trying to erupt out my back end.
Then I found Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Stop Worrying and Live Your Life. The first chapter alone gave me a huge “ah-ha” moment (in my head, that’s actually a “wow Ian you’re a complete idiot” moment). It is called “Live in Day Tight Compartments.”
In a nutshell: on any given day, concentrate only on today.
And then they drove it home with a passage from scripture:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34
Now, I have an obvious bias as a Christian, but when I heard that from the guy whose words have never led me down the wrong path, I knew. This was it.
And within four weeks I was doing all-out sprints again. And that was in spite of knowing my job was coming to an end, and our collicky baby made life and sleep very tough.
Know thy enemy
Anxiety pretends to be your friend, but he never tells you his real name. He says that he’s enabling you to be master and commander of the universe. He’s a hell of a salesman. His best technique is constant pressure.
So you should know what he is, and how he works.
Anxiety = the unresolvable expectation that
you can predict and control the future.
- Worrying if a client will answer your email and buy your product
- Or if sitting all week on jury duty will blow your chances for promotion
- Or if not sleeping tonight will cause you to miss something at work tomorrow, forcing you to explain to your boss and admit you’re not perfect
- Or if the pipe is going to blow in your basement, costing you $2000+ for repair
If you’re a Type-A control freak like me, then your list goes on…and on…and on. In fact, your head is wired to connect information and predict contingencies, and each one ends with a question. And each question is a point of pain: WHAT IF! OH NO!
But the truth is you can’t directly control any of that. All you can do is affect the odds of the outcome and learn from the outcome.
Using the “worry items from above,” for which of these can a human directly choose the outcome?
- His client’s decision on a buying from him
- His boss’s opinion of him based on an unavoidable government expectation
- His ability to catch every single happening at work
- Whether or not the pipe physically bursts
Answer: None of them. You might make a case for #3, but even that is about playing odds, not actually guaranteeing control. All you can do with any of these things is play odds.
And after you maximize your odds, you have to trust that it will work out.
What the hell does it mean to “trust?”
Great question. It’s completely abstract when you say it. It’s not like fixing a bike or unclogging a sink.
To trust is to operate as though you will invariably win, even when the logical evidence points otherwise.
“Interesting. That’s totally insane!” you say.
It’s only nuts if it doesn’t yield results after repeated testing.
To trust – to stop worrying – you’re going to exercise mind control over your thoughts. I will explain mind control in an upcoming chapter. It’s not rocket science – it’s simply asserting command over your mind.
Famous “crazies” saying the same thing about letting go
Bruce Lee, quintessential badass, fighter, and actor
“Like everyone else, you want to learn the way to win, but never to accept the way to lose, to accept defeat, to learn to die is to be liberated from it. So when tomorrow comes, you must free your ambitious mind, and learn the art of dying.”
Lao Tse, author of Tao Te Ching
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.”
Joseph Campbell, author of The Hero with 1000 Faces
“We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
Marcus Aurelius, stoic philosopher and Roman Emperor
“It is not the actions of others which trouble us (for those actions are controlled by their governing part), but rather it is our own judgments. Therefore remove those judgments and resolve to let go of your anger, and it will already be gone. How do you let go? By realizing that such actions are not shameful to you.”
Thomas Carlyle, Poet and Philosopher
“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly in the distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.”
“Well that’s easy!” said no one ever
Gaining control by letting go of control is, of course, a logical contradiction. So how do you do it?
Time for more touchie-feelie wisdom. You let go…intuitively. But to be more specific, you have to understand the following:
- The only thing you actually have control over is your internal response. You can’t control others’ decisions, the weather, being called for jury duty, or having another driver crash into you.
- So admit that. Whatever is bothering you, you have to label it and admit that you only have control over yourself. You can be alert, you can train, but in the end, the rest of the universe does its own thing.
- The third step is the hardest. You have to believe that you will prevail in spite of your limited control. And I find the easiest way to do that is to act as though – or believe – there is an omniscient, omnipotent being that has a plan for you. Even if that plan completes in the next life. Because for some of us, this life will end today.
Well, there’s no scientific evidence for what you just said.
For those who don’t believe in a higher being, let me point this out:
The scientific programs (behavioral psychology) for treating anxiety rely on self-affirmations that state:
A) As an individual human, I am important and
B) That I have a purpose.
But there is no scientific evidence that any person is any of that.
So, whether you believe God is real or not, you’re going to direct your thoughts in the same direction as believers.
Don’t worry. Listening to Christian power-rock is not a requirement. Just a little faith in your own worth.
Can’t do it. Too “spaghetti monster.” What’s the alternative?
Well, there are two alternatives. Medicate, or continue trying to control everything.
You can always be a zombified slave to a pharmaceutical company, if you like. There are many medications for men who would prefer to live as human sludge pies.
Or you can go on fighting anxiety by trying to control the whole universe by yourself. Unless you have a special gauntlet with six Infinity Stones, that’s going to be tough.
But you’re a warrior. Use this course. Use what works. Make it yours.
How to tell you’ve mitigated anxiety (or, how do I know I look totally chill)
It’s that vacation feeling.
It’s when you can watch a thunderstorm with awe. Or you’re riding in the car and free to notice the trees, the buildings, and the sound of the tires on the road.
You smile easily. Or if you’ve got resting stoic-face, you nod easily. You’re able to listen and concentrate. You can focus. You can take in what’s around you without trying.
Like when you were a kid.
I’ll admit. This is a hard feeling to come by sometimes. Sometimes the best you get is “alert.”
I’ll break it into non-spiritual and spiritual, and you decide how you want to proceed.
- Admit to yourself you’re not in control of everything. Most things are out of your control.
- Remember you have control of yourself – complete control. Your personality dictates some patterns of like and dislike, but the choices are always down to you.
- Understand that assuming personal responsibility frees you to know exactly what you must control and what you can’t control to achieve your goals.
- Plan your day with this knowledge. Let go of everything you can’t.
- Be thankful for all you have. Think of something in your favor – like a working car, a daily shower, or a friend to see this weekend.
- Speak and think affirmations that remind you of this truth. Such as:
- “I can’t control that, but I’m going to be fine.”
- That’s out of my control, but that’s a good thing.
- “I won’t be able to do everything, but I can do exactly what it takes to win.”
Spiritual (not Christian specific, but modify to your beliefs and faith):
- Admit (or remind yourself) that God is in control of everything but your decisions.
- Remember that you have control over your decisions.
- When you assume control of your decisions through personal responsibility, you will feel more empowered and happier.
- Pray and ask for help making decisions, and be thankful for all you have.
- Throughout the day, when you encounter trouble, remember that God is in control of the world around you, and people get to make up their own minds. And that’s a good thing. It’s not all on you.