If you’ve been reading my monthly blogs, you may have noticed a thread running through them.  I am fascinated with thoughts and lessons about reducing self-imposed stress, both in my endodontic practice and the rest of my life.  In fact, reduced stress is a core component of my Endo2Endo coaching program. As human beings, we put so much pressure on ourselves – afraid to fail, afraid to lose. Every goal is filled with angst. What if we turned this kind of thinking on its head and looked at the “games” we play throughout life through a completely different lens?

I read a book by James P. Carse, called Finite and Infinite Games.  In it he says, “There are at least two kinds of games.  One could be called finite; the other infinite.  A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, and infinite game for the purpose of continuing to play.” Is life black and white? You’re a winner or a loser, or are there many shades of grey to be considered in various situations? I say it’s a mix of both.

Winning, Losing, Success, Failure:  When we adopt an infinite mentality we’re able to adapt, change and grow more easily and with more purpose and we’re able to have more fun along the way, enjoying the process rather than dreading some arbitrary end point.

I’ve asked myself, does the game lose its luster if there is no win?  I got to thinking that any win is fleeting and temporary, and every “win” has a different meaning to the winner. Looking at the long game called life, there’s relevance to the cliché, “It’s the journey not the destination.”  Why attach the belief that you’re a failure if you change your goal mid-stream or come close but don’t hit the mark? Whatever the end point, the knowledge you’ve gained can be applied to benefit you in new situations. In my mind, that’s not failing, it’s growing.

When we change the meaning we attach to our beliefs, we open our minds. Once you become open to reevaluating programmed thinking you become more aware of your actions and reactions. Here’s one to ask yourself: Are you quick to react and turn things into affronts? If someone cuts you off in traffic, what’s your first reaction? What if, instead of cussing the person who cuts you off (raising your blood pressure and adding negativity to your day) you instead assume that person is rushing to take their mother to the hospital. Point being, don’t let your assumptions change your mental and physical state. Keep an open mind because we don’t know what we don’t know. So, why not lean toward positivity?

If we look at life in a way that holds infinite possibility, and we drop the negative baggage we’ve assigned to beliefs (things we think but do not know), we open ourselves up to a more enjoyable, more stress-free way of living.

If you have thoughts about my blogs or ideas you’d like me to write on, I’d love to hear them.