Monthly Archives: November 2008

Lessons from Gilbert

The fact is human beings come into the world with a passion for control, they go out of the world the same way, and research suggests that if they lose their ability to control things at any point between their entrance and their exit, they become unhappy, helpless, and depressed. 

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

It occured to me lately that I feel powerless in my life. Maybe it was the “relationship” I was in, or that the world is in such chaos, or that things at work are spiraling out of control with decisions being made about our futures without our knowledge (I’m talkin’ they decicded to stop contributing to our 401K’s five months ago and didn’t tell us) and now we have to interview for the jobs we’ve been doing for years at our organization to see if we are essentially expendable. The word powerless came to mind and I got angry, and I really don’t get angry. I’m more of one those gals who suppresses her anger and instead cries out of frustration. 

I read the above sentence in Gilbert’s book on the train ride home today. Then I reread it. And reread it again. Is it possible we seek control our entire lives? I know it sounds slightly vague, but how do we achieve it in all aspects of our lives so we are not depressed or anxious? My therapist told me recently that we while we may feel powerless-and are in fact in some situations-we can change our perception. 

I also learned in Gilbert’s book today that our frontal lobes hold our ability to foresee our futures. It is what causes us to think about the future which in turn, causes anxiety. Something that I deeply suffer from. I couldn’t help thinking that I wish sometimes I could turn off my frontal lobe and just live in the moment, not having the ability to think about the next.

So, to strangely wrap up the lesson learned today, I wish I could control my frontal lobe, but I can’t, and that makes me kind of depressed.  Maybe I should just keep trying to change my perception. Or maybe I’ll learn more from Part II of Gilbert’s book and keep blogging about it.


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