If You’re Not Pink and Eating Grass, You’re Okay

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“Perspective is everything. That is, when you can break apart something, or look at it from some new angle, it loses its power over you” – Ryan Holiday

That things will go wrong is one of life’s few guarantees. It happens to all of us.

You have a deadline for a career-changing project at work and get the flu. You fracture your ankle the week before your vacation. You’re late for work and your car won’t start. Your flight is delayed and you miss your anniversary dinner.

This is the reality and beauty of life. Things turn out differently than expected. We are handed a series of unwanted obstacles. The world works against us when we need its support.

No one is immune from the sometimes unpleasant and unpredictable circumstances of life.

And when this happens, we often have an emotional response. We might experience stress, worry, fear, anxiety, or a complete meltdown. Our focus starts to narrow on our immediate circumstances. The myopic and reactive mind takes over.

As this happens, our ability to solve the problems at hand diminishes and the spiral of negative thoughts and emotions takes control. This is something we have all experienced.

However, life is too short to spend in these painful and unproductive states of mind. Fortunately, we have the power to shift our perspective in these states by using this simple rule:

If you’re not pink and eating grass, you’re okay.

Pink and eating grass? That’s right. Next time life punches you in the face and you enter a reactive, emotionally charged state, genuinely ask yourself, “Am I pink and eating grass?” If the answer is “no” you’re okay.

Breathe. Relax. You’re okay. Seriously, try it.

If you follow this rule, the results are powerful. It enables you to break the emotional state by shifting your perspective. And perspective is everything. Think about it. If your baseline for being okay is now any state better than one in which you are literally pink and eating grass, will the obstacles you typically face seem so bad? In nearly all cases, they won’t.

When your car doesn’t start, you will stop banging the steering wheel in despair and instead ask your neighbor for a ride to work. When your flight is delayed and you’re going to miss your anniversary dinner, you will call the restaurant and see if they can push back the reservation.

Once you shift your perspective and determine that you are okay, you will move beyond the reactive state and start thinking clearly again. You will accept the circumstances you face and choose your response. You will focus on what is within your control and how you can improve the situation.

This doesn’t mean that you can change every situation to be exactly as you want it to be. In fact, this is rarely the reality. Sometimes the best you can do is accept your circumstances and get a good night’s sleep. But if you learn to shift your perspective and expect that things will go wrong, you’ll be much better equipped to handle them when they inevitably do.

And as long as you’re not pink and eating grass, you’re okay.

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