The mindset of pessimism and limiting beliefs can run deep. I was struck recently by a headline in the UK’s “Telegraph” that “We’ll never have it so good again“, with a report about the declining opportunities facing today’s middle class young. From the self-development perspective, it was the mindset and outlook on life of having disappointed expectations and also that the outcome was bound to be worse that grabbed my thinking. Whilst appreciating that young people are having a particularly difficult time in the current Great Recession and acknowledging that this is far from acceptable in public policy terms, it was however the assumptions behind the article that were to me striking. Why should it be never “so good again”?
A downward spiral of negativity is probably something many readers will be familiar with, where we can get locked into seeing only the negative and can struggle to reframe a situation in more positive terms. It can get addictive. In this context, having the underlying assumption that your life can’t be “so good again” sounds very much like a set-up for getting what you don’t want. It you take this course of thinking, then what happens won’t be so good, and you’ll get what you think about. Events will play out in consequence. Our creativity, according to this way of thinking, will be focused on the “not so good” outcomes.
This is of course a good example of the negative power of holding limiting beliefs. It doesn’t allow for the notion that the said young people might individually and collectively decide to buck the trend and start having “good” outcomes. We can change our thinking, we can “change our mind”, and different outcomes can follow. Such is the power of the mind.
Of course macro-economic trends can be powerful, as can the power of living within collective mind-sets, where if many think the same it will be a much stronger force. Then it’s about stepping outside the force of the collective and thinking for yourself, including challenging assumptions.
Expectations are very powerful, and can themselves be limiting too. It may not seem an obvious point but an expectation does not allow for change and can be inflexible. It is something about expecting things that might actually involve other people’s choices, and they might want something different, and also by holding on to expectations we might rigidify the process when we might be better served by stepping back and allowing things to be. So, expectations can also be a set-up for not getting what we want. When we instead set an intention and then let go, we allow the creative forces to work unhindered by the ego. We’re letting go of the ego investment in an outcome, for example a fear-based expectation. If, while attached to expectation, it doesn’t work out, then we’re disappointed, and thus we create more suffering for ourselves. This is why the ego characteristic of expectation is a powerful one to let go of. Then we’re no longer holding on to a given outcome through fear. We’re not invested in it.
Thus to step back and allow the possibility, through intention, that we will create a “good” outcome brings with it a letting go of expectation, having no attachment to whatever occurs. This gives freedom to the universe to flow in abundant ways and we can, as per the Law of Attraction draw to us what we really want. There is wisdom here too, because what we attract may be far more beneficial to us that what we were attached to in ego terms. Maybe the real “good” is far more valuable to us that what we had conceived of in ego terms. It’s an excellent example of how real freedom lies in letting go.