Life is hardest for you but, it is also hardest for me.
I have been fascinated with the science of behavior and the mind for quite some time now. Really anything that speaks to the aspects of the conscious and unconscious experiences we face and the way that we think about those experiences.
In the last two weeks I have read books like (I am always up for recommendations if you have a good one or if you want to give me one, I won't turn it down)
I also listened to this podcast by Freakonomics Radio, "Why is My Life So Hard?"
On it they explored some really interesting research done by Davidai, Shai and Gilovich, Thomas called The headwinds/tailwinds asymmetry: An availability bias in assessments of barriers and blessings.
When you are bicycling into the wind, the air feels like the ultimate force. It blows you back, slows you down, and just makes everything more difficult. Then you turn around and start heading in the opposite direction. Now you have a tailwind. The air that had been pushing you back is now propelling you forward. We think about this propulsion for far less time than we do that which is holding us back. We tend to fixate on the barrier and ignore the boost.
Using 7 studies they provide, "evidence of an availability bias in people’s assessments of the benefits they’ve enjoyed and the barriers they’ve faced."
"Democrats and Republicans both claim that the electoral map works against them (Study 1), football fans take disproportionate note of the challenging games on their team’s schedules (Study 2), people tend to believe that their parents have been harder on them than their siblings are willing to grant (Study 3), and academics think that they have a harder time with journal reviewers, grant panels, and tenure committees than members of other subdisciplines (Study 7). We show that these effects are the result of the enhanced availability of people’s challenges and difficulties (Studies 4 and 5) and are not simply the result of self-serving attribution management (Studies 6 and 7). We also show that the greater salience of a person’s headwinds can lead people to believe they have been treated unfairly and, as a consequence, more inclined to endorse morally questionable behavior (Study 7)." (https://my.apa.org/apa/idm/login.seam?ERIGHTS_TARGET=http%3A%2F%2Fpsycnet%2Eapa%2Eorg%2F%3FloadState%3D1)
Why does this matter?
For one, gratitude is difficult when we are consumed in our headwinds. It's counter intuitive, gratitude creates the strength needed to face the headwinds. Focusing and complaining about the headwind creates all sorts of other issues that now we have to face.
The best thing to do today is sit down and write out 7 things you are grateful for, look at them, read them aloud, spend time focusing on them.
As a family we try and sit down each night at the dinner table. There is one question we ask (and it is on purpose) What was your favorite thing about today?
Not, what was wrong, what was hard, what did you hate?
What did you LOVE?
Let's face our headwinds with gratitude.
What was your favorite thing about today? Why?