News Stories I Saw On Wednesday, July 17, 2019:
-In Washington, DC, tensions between Democratic and the Republican lawmakers are reaching a boiling point
-There’s an ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo
-The United States is in debt up to it’s eyeballs
My mind can quickly and easily create terrifying next chapters to each of these news stories.
Is your mind capable of doing the same?
These terrifying next chapters are created so fast in my mind, it’s almost like I perform mental black magic faster than a speeding bullet. I’m somewhat of a prodigy at creating mental black magic if I may say so myself. It’s not near as glamorous as it sounds. Why couldn’t I have been a chess prodigy instead?
I imagine you are waiting with bated breath to see my mental black magic talents in action…or maybe not. In any case, with no further ado, I will demonstrate them to you:
It’s very important to note that none of the mental black magic I’m about to perform is in any way based on things known as of the time of this writing. These “mental black magic next chapters” are simply fear-filled thoughts that my head came up with…
[HEADLINE] – Tensions Between Democrats and Republicans, Including President, Have Reached a Boiling Point
[MENTAL BLACK MAGIC] – The United States is headed towards civil war. There’s going to be much suffering. All the people I love, as well as, I might die!
[HEADLINE] – An Ebola Outbreak Has Struck the Democratic Republic of Congo
[MENTAL BLACK MAGIC] – An ebola outbreak is going to soon wash over the world. There’s going to be much suffering. All the people I love, as well as, I might die!
[HEADLINE] – Debt in The United States Beyond Metaphorical Eyeballs
[MENTAL BLACK MAGIC] – There’s going to be a massive depression. There’s going to be much suffering. All the people I love, as well as, I might die!
Isn’t mental black magic such happy, cheery, joyful stuff? Didn’t reading my three examples just leave you with a smile on your face and a spring in your step?
Did you spot a recurring theme with how my mental black magic next chapters end?
Yes, I’m an inspirational speaker, who still has the capacity to work a bit of mental abracadabra – but instead of pulling a bunny from my hat, I pull a leaking bag of anthrax.
At this point, you might ask, “So what Jason? Sometimes, both you and I fear the worst. These fears are just thoughts. Why do they matter?
To me, how we handle our fear-filled thoughts about the future matters deeply because if we don’t differentiate between our black magic thoughts about the future and the actual future, which is by definition unknown, we may find ourselves preparing for a horrible future that simply is not real, a total fabrication of our mind.
IMPORTANT NOTE – I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with us for thinking black magic thoughts about the future. Our minds naturally think thoughts. Some of them are negative. Some of them are positive. Our hearts pump blood. Our minds pump thoughts.
However, if we convince ourselves that our black magic thoughts will come true, we not only fill our minds with individual versions of fake news, but we can cause ourselves tremendous pain.
I fell into this trap at the ripe young age of 13, just in time for puberty. I found myself inundated with my own mental black magic thoughts that absolutely insisted that accidental nuclear war would breakout between the United States and the USSR, and that there would be much suffering, and that my loved ones and I would die.
What in fact happened?
Well, I’m here to write this and you are to here read this, so my mental black magic thoughts didn’t come true…..Thank GOODNESS!!!
and this is an enormous and painful BUT
In 7th grade, I let my mental black magic thoughts drive me into a state of overwhelm, depression, desperation and confusion which substantially contributed to me choosing to attempt to take my own life. Luckily deep in my heart I want to live. I called for help before it was too late.
From that experience, I learned that the heavy cost of our own mental black magic is that it can rob us, sometimes almost completely, of hope.
When we feel depleted of hope, we can make life miserable for ourselves and those around us. Just think of the suffering I would have caused my parents and friends if things had gone another way and I had not called for help.
Realize that you, like me, have the power to envision countless scenarios where the future is utterly terrifying, and, further more, if you choose, like me, to watch/listen/read the news, this power can be exponentially amplified.
Also realize that just because we can imagine these dark, horrible, ghastly futures does not mean that they will happen.
By definition, the future is unpredictable.
What if things turn out far better than any of us could imagine?
Now that’s a future I want to prepare for.
JASON FREEMAN is a Professional Speaker and the proud owner of a Speech Impediment. He is also the author of “Awkwardly Awesome: Embracing My Imperfect Best” and a Perseverance Coach.
He excites and encourages his audience to break through the barriers of their own limitations using a method he created, called “doing your Imperfect Best ™”.
His Imperfect TEDx Talk can be viewed here.
Photo by Aaron Thomas on Unsplash