A few days ago I saw a photo of a burning giant 2016 symbol on Twitter. For many of us there’s no need for explanation: this year’s major events seemingly justify to regard 2016 as a lost year. And from every single event’s perspective that may be true. Before, however, let’s have a look at the positive states of mind — acceptance, joy, and enthusiasm.
Should we really burn 2016? Of course, not.
I suggest a different approach: let’s do as the Buddhists do. There are three basic approaches to respond to a situation: acceptance, joy, and enthusiasm. If, on a rainy evening, your car’s tire burst and you have to change it — you probably won’t like that very much. If then, you get angry and keep swearing during the change, you are stressed and the whole process will probably last longer and will be way more annoying than if you accepted the situation and tried to manage the best chance of a tire you ever had. The thing is: the tire burst and has to be changed, no matter what. The situation is as it is. Now go and make the best out of it, by … at least, accepting it.
Imagine another situation: something good and welcome happens. You can easily respond joyfully. In essence, you accept that this situation is a happy one and you can react with joy. After the event has faded away you might feel joy for some time, but then you come back to your mood’s set point. A joyful response is short-lived.
If you’re strongly engaged in a hobby or if you campaign for certain purposes you might respond enthusiastically to most related events and situations. You feel an energetic and continuing interest in these topics and your feelings are inherently positive. Enthusiasm allows and enables you to put much energy into your topics without feeling stressed or exhausted.
The Positive States of Mind — Acceptance, Joy, and Enthusiasm
Now let’s apply that thinking to 2016, and more specifically, to the election of Donald Trump. (To avoid any misunderstandings: for me, DT is nothing more than a scary clown.)
First, simply accept that Mr. Trump will be the next president of the United States of America. By the way, the election result is nothing more or less than a result, a reflection of what Americans think. Now, spare all discussions about electors, the campaign strategy, and such. Accept the result. And move on.
How to feel joy, now? Hey, have you been happy with Hillary? No? Are you happy with a stale, corrupt political establishment? Probably not. So start working anew, start campaigning for your causes, again. Use DT and his team as antipodes and start building a sound political power from the base level. That’s fun, a lot of. that’s totally different from the political power play of an established power structure.
After you have overcome your actual state of shock and you begin experiencing joy campaigning (I don’t like the word ‘fighting’) for your causes, you will feel this long gone enthusiasm, again. If there is a positive aspect of DT’s presidency, it’s that it will unite, stimulate, and encourage people who think differently. This, again, will stir enthusiasm.
Maybe you’ll have four years to offer opposition, maybe it will be eight years, it doesn’t really matter. And it’s not only you, my US friends. Even we in good old Germany face a tough federal election in 2017 since we have our own scary clowns. If we accept the situation and follow the Buddhist’s thinking, our future will look a lot brighter. Let’s go back to work! How? Joseph Stiglitz has some ideas.