As we approach the end of the year and contemplate heading into 2019 this is a great time to consider what are we holding onto that we shouldn't be and how do we enter 2019 free of encumbrances that are not serving as well. The following which was shared by Carl Richards, one of the thought leaders in the world of financial planning and life that I follow. I think he does a great job of putting into perspective this idea of clearing the decks of ineffective holdings in our lives.
Greetings, Carl here.
Today, I want to dig into the problems that arise when we invest in the wrong things.
But, quick disclaimer, I’m not talking about money. I’m talking about emotions.
Let’s start with this story from Jon Muth’s book "Zen Shorts":
Two traveling monks reached a town where there was a young woman waiting to step out of her sedan chair. The rains had made deep puddles and she couldn’t step across without spoiling her silken robes. She stood there, looking very cross and impatient. She was scolding her attendants. They had nowhere to place the packages they held for her, so they couldn’t help her across the puddle.
The younger monk noticed the woman, said nothing, and walked by. The older monk quickly picked her up and put her on his back, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other side. She didn’t thank the older monk; she just shoved him out of the way and departed.
As they continued on their way, the young monk was brooding and preoccupied. After several hours, unable to hold his silence, he spoke out.
"That woman back there was very selfish and rude, but you picked her up on your back and carried her! Then, she didn’t even thank you!"
"I set the woman down hours ago," the older monk replied. "Why are you still carrying her?"
If you’re feeling deja vu, it may be because you read this story in a column I wrote for The New York Times. If you haven’t read it already, it might be helpful to check it out. It’s short, and I promise it’s worth it!
There are so many bad emotional investments we get stuck holding onto. An argument with a friend, something a spouse did or didn’t do, the person who cut you off in traffic. None of these things provide any sort of positive ROI in our lives. And yet, we can’t seem to let them go.
At the end of that article, I asked a question of my readers. "What’s one thing you can set down this week?"
I expected a lot of feedback, but I never anticipated the depth, insight, and creativity of the responses.
Next week, I’m going to share with you a little of what I learned.