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The Secret Of Life

I am unabashedly, a huge James Taylor fan-- absolutely no qualifiers. That said, I love the song but respectfully disagree that the secret of life is, " enjoying the passage of time".

As engaging and upbeat as it may sound, however, I don't think that conclusion holds up. Enjoy the pleasant moments-- who wouldn't agree with that sentiment? But what about the not-so-pleasant moments, or the downright unpleasant moments? Most of us don't enjoy them!

Obviously, we can't simply ignore unpleasant moments-- and it's not particularly useful to dismiss or ignore them. Repression is widely regarded as an inappropriate strategy. What we can do, though, is work on our response(s) to the unpleasant moments. And the trick is training ourselves to avoid reaction. 

Avoid the impulse to catastrophize and avoid the impulse to attach significance to things we don't fully understand and cannot influence or control. Needless (and useless) handwringing? Nyet. Unhelpful rumination and worry? Not useful, and strangely self-cancelling.

So, what's the secret to life? I'd suggest working on responding, rather than reacting. And for good measure, giving ourselves a little love, every now and then. That might not make for a very good song (lyrically) but with a bit of wordsmithing, it'd probably play!


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