Leaning In...

Each day, we are bombarded with choices. Literally every task we perform within a day is a choice.  From the decision to have a glass of water or not, to the decision you make every morning to love your partner - every action is a choice.  Fun fact, it is estimated that we make over 35,000 remotely conscious decisions each and every day.  Why does this matter? Because each one of those choices matter.  Each decision made renders an outcome and each outcome provides its own set of consequences.  It is the accumulation of these consequences that shape the reality in which you live.  Within this framework, it is very easy to surmise that you are in control of the world you live in.
It is a well known tenet of mindfulness practice that each event within your life is neutral - neither good, nor bad. Your choice in response is what gives it meaning. This applies not only to events, but the consequences of your decisions.  If you act in a certain manner that generates an outcome, it is you who decides if that outcome is favourable or not.  The question is - are any outcomes actually unfavourable? Meaning, is there really such a thing as a bad decision?
Throughout our lives, we should be constantly striving to improve and grow.  Growth does not happen without stress.  The best teacher is tension.  A wise man (Jay Nera) once said, "Pay attention to the tension. The tension is your teacher."  Training provides us the perfect analogy for this part of life.  Think about the moment in the bottom of a squat, or with the bar at the chest on the bench, or in the bottom of your deadlift setup and you feel like you're going to explode from how much tension is stored within your body.  Then you drive out of that position and unleash every bit of your strength into the movement.   When the tension is highest and you embrace it and go deeper into it, building and building - that is where all your strength lies. That is where your PR's live.  If you get into those positions and you don't feel that tension, you know you're in trouble.  You're getting stapled by that squat, handcuffed by that bench, or left questioning who turned up the gravity on your deadlift.  Without tension, you're D.O.A.
When we face consequences that create that tension, we should not run from it - we must lean in. We must lean towards it and look for the message that this tension is teaching us because once we learn it, we unlock a whole new level of growth and potential.  What motivated us to make this decision? Why did it create so much tension? How can I learn from this? How can I use this experience to become a better version of myself?
Too often we run from the consequences, or we accept them and move on without conscious contemplation. You stand to learn nothing and continue to make the same decisions time and time again if you don't lean in.  Once you embrace tension and get comfortable looking within yourself to learn its lessons it is very easy to answer the question posed earlier - is there such a thing as a bad decision? No, there is only opportunity for learning.  Be grateful you were given the opportunity to choose and provided the privilege to act for yourself. Remain humble and continue to seek out tension so you can never stop learning.
Wu-Tang Forever,
Paul Oneid