I need a coffee before I can even think of doing anything. To down 3 drinks before I can even think about tolerating my work party. I need absolute silence to meditate, any noise is going to distract me, especially your phone pinging!.
These aren’t needs. These are preferences, which we all have. Don’t get the two mixed up. They give us a feeling of control, when we have them but panic and frustration when we don’t.
You might prefer to have a coffee before you start work but what happens if it isn’t available? You brain tells you that you can’t work. It will take the path of least resistance and keep telling you that your lack of productivity is because you haven’t had your coffee. It won’t tell you that it’s because of the story you’re telling yourself about how you need coffee. That requires effort.
We want to be like bamboo. Bamboo grows incredibly fast. It’s super durable, flexible, and elastic. As a result, it tends to be very resilient to breaking when placed under stress.
We want to be flexible and adaptable, like bamboo. It’s a common misconception that we must be rigid in our worldview to be strong and successful. This often encourages a tyrannical mindset, my way or the highway. It surfaces in many forms. That person who comes into the lunch room and complains as loud as their lungs will allow, about that person who has microwaved tuna. This person is not adaptable, thus more likely to break. Watch this person.
How do we break?
When the reality of a situation doesn’t match up to our worldview, we break. Stress. This is when our thinking is rigid. We can’t see an alternative. How often have we been unable to sleep because of a new noise, such as drip on the roof? Or the frustration of being woken by drilling next door? Are these events preventing us from sleeping or is it to do with what we associate with our optimal sleep state? Imagine if you found the sound of a drill to be relaxing, you would be in a state of orgasmic bliss!
I’m not trying to suggest that you won’t be annoyed by someone drilling next door. That is annoying. We’re human after all. But the more you harbour discontent over a situation you can’t control, the more damage it’s going to do to you.
What do you really need?
Water. Food. To Breathe. To Move. A form of shelter to protect you from rain and sun. Friendship. Enough income to allow for these necessities.
Everything else falls under wants. It’s fine to want more but don’t mistake it for a need. Practice scenarios without your needs. Take a week off coffee. Go to a social event and don’t drink. The world is changing at a rate even futurists are struggling to predict. If you want to survive, being adaptable is in your best interests. Be like bamboo.