Just a quick preface, this is definitely a “collecting my thoughts” sort of post so my apologies if it’s a bit disjointed. But anyway, onward.
There is a bittersweet truth about why I’m even here writing. Some years ago I was a promising student studying Manufacturing Engineering. I did everything that was expected of me and my future seemed quite bright. A while back though for one reason or another I changed, and I went from promising engineering student, to an addict that wanted to end my own life. You could probably guess that I am no longer studying engineering, and I don’t go to school anymore. It was a hard reality for me, but the moral of the story is one of hope. I developed a concept that I’m sure already exists in some form, but I wouldn’t know because this comes from within as I searched inside myself for a reason to live life. I desire to write a book about this concept and how to apply it in hopes that I can help others who found themselves in a similar place to my own escape and find their reason to not only live, but live happily. I refer to it as a bit of an art, the art of trying. Today I not only have found a reason to live, but I am so much happier for it. It has become easy to embrace waking up every day and doing what I do, and in this post I want to indtroduce the foundation for this concept of mine to help both you as a reader and I as an author trying to help.
The Art of Trying is a concept I developed as I tried to understand why I was struggling with what felt like an inescapable level of depression. Its foundation is built upon an idea that I coined during that time as Positive Motivation. I recall having what felt like a rather firm idea of what I wanted to be and do when I grew up at a very early age. Turns out I was looking pretty heavily at the content of my life rather than the context. I loved making things, engineers made things, so it made sense that I wanted to be an engineer. However, when in school, engineering seemed so lifeless. I made things, but not in the way that my innermost ambitions had hoped. I loved my family, parents, the faith my church instilled in me, yet in almost all facets of life, the examples I tried to live by left me empty feeling. I began to ask myself why?
A few answers to that question arose as I really went searching for them. The main thing I discovered was I allowed myself to let negatively charged motives, mostly fear, govern my decisions. An example of how the thought process was went something like, “One of these days I have to live by my own means so I need to adjust my dreams or set them aside entirely in order to make enough money to provide for myself and my eventual family.” Or, “This is the way I was taught to achieve happiness in life, and I want to be happy so I better do X thing or else.” And even, “Well this person loves me and I want to marry them, but they don’t like X so let’s just toss that part of me out the window or else I may not have a happy marriage.” Basically I kept telling myself, “You better do X thing or else.” In a way I look back on it now as a bit of a blessing that mantra made me insanely depressed. It eventually became my vehicle for change because the more I tried to live by it, the more depressed I became and the more I crashed and burned. Soon I was failing at practically everything I did and life as I knew it to be structured just didn’t make much sense anymore. I wanted to be happy, but I just couldn’t do so in the way that my upbringing taught me.
I meandered around for while, which was miserable, but it allowed me to arrive at the conclusion that serves as the basis for the concept behind the art of trying. I identified that negatively charged motives encourage you through the consequence of loss. “If you don’t do X, you will lose X or X will no longer be available to you. Well, by the time I realized this I had already lost the very will to live so fear of negative consequence just didn’t do much for me. But, then it dawned on me, I have nothing to lose because I have already lost it all, why not try and figure out what I actually wanted to begin with? With that sort of question the journey behind Positive Motivation began. I started to ask myself things like, “The root of being an engineer was I just wanted to make things, how can I do that in a way that’s fulfilling?” Or, “I am a human being, I have needs, why not figure out what those needs are and embrace them?” And even, “How about I figure out what it means to be happy instead of trying to live an other’s definitions of it? More or less, instead of asking “where do I fit?” I shifted to “I do fit, I just need to make the space.”
Soon the journey began to be the reward of life rather than the trial. I found myself being pulled by my visions and ambitions rather than pushed by my pains and trials. I found I could process things better and I found myself empowered by the virtues that make up my identity rather than weighed down by then. I could keep giving examples but it is sufficient to say that a little shift in perspective slowly but surely has redirected my entire life and what I get out of it. The best part about it is it’s just an idea, it’s not some skill or product only available to a select group of people. All an idea needs is your belief and a willingness to try it out.
There are certainly many details and logistics about this that I’ve only begun to mention. But what I hope to convey at least this time is that there is a way to turn a negative into a positive and it doesn’t matter your current circumstance or capacity. I hope you continue to check back with me as I elaborate on the details. If you give me a chance and it happens to help you, there’s nothing more rewarding.
Thank you for reading and hope to see you again.
Jordan Dunford (weRDunfo)