"If you can dream it, you can do it."
"God won't let us dream without giving everything we need to realize it."
"Growing is mandatory. But, growing up is optional."
Many such quotes. Beauty of growing is that if you manage to grow 'up' even a bit, you feel so good to face every challenge that comes on your way. It's just not possible not develop at least some traces of improved confidence in oneself as we age. This has nothing to do with what we may have achieved and what all failures we have had. Experience is such a solid teacher that what you learn from it, you never forget. Life teaches only those lessons that come handy. We better hope that the tuition we end up paying for those lessons at UHK (University of Hard Knocks aka life) is not too steep.
Before you experience fair amount of life (say at least 30 years of varied experiences), there is always quite a bit of anxiety about the uncertainty. Life is uncertain. It is really a criminal waste that a good deal of our energy at the prime of youth is drained in worrying and anxiety solely because we have not had required experiences to assure us that there is a day break even after a very long and dark night. Every small setback pushes us into varying degrees of depression and causes varying degrees of diffidence. Lucky are those who are blessed to be able to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and move on. It is really a tragedy if someone gets into self destroying spiral due to some pretty serious failures early in life. It is good if life delivers a fairly average returns in the beginning. It just does not help to have everything rosy that one starts thinking life is utopia. Such people just crumble at the very first setback. Unfortunately for many decent people who come from highly principled and secure homes, this can be a serious problems. People growing up in secured and protected homes are sort of disadvantaged to enter UHK. If parents let you 'swim or sink', it probably is for your own good. Kids who are over protected think life is linear and only possible change is it can only become more and more comfortable. If it gets that way, good for them. But, to have any meaningful life, it just is not possible to have such a linear life.
So, if we can not develop that kind of confidence to face everything before really going thru our share of trials and tribulations, what can we do to reduce the pain? "We do not have to learn every lesson from our own lives." Developing interest about the lives of great souls is a great way to learn from others' experience. Great souls have undergone so much in their lives that we can probably think that as good 100% of all possible scenarios. How they faced life's challenges, how they won some and lost many more, what are all the lessons learnt from them, most importantly what can we learn from their experiences? "Life is too short to learn everything from the scratch." "Leverage the most from great people."
Another sure way to help reduce the pains of learning from inevitable experiences is to develop or rekindle spiritual interest. We can develop it by reading classics such as Bhagvadgita or Bible or simply learn to develop unshakable belief and faith in some higher power. Unmovable faith that there is some higher power and it takes care of our best interests even if it gives some short term pains goes a long way in reducing anxiety and stress. As our intellect develops over the years, that innocent but immovable faith diminishes and we become suspicious of everything using our analytical intellect. Flaw of intellect is that it has to categorize everything into life's dichotomy - good and bad, black and white and so on. When this division starts, belief in unity loosens and disappears slowly. That's why we feel so helpless when we are faced with challenges. Look at an unsophisticated simple man, who just says 'God is there to take care of every thing.' and continues do what he is supposed to and is so much more happy and stress free. We do not have to take such fatalistic attitude. Using our trained intellect, we can develop some sort of moderation and even improvise on the faith that we need to overcome obstacles. "If we do not stand for something, we will fall for everything."
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