Today, we have distanced ourselves from life so much that we have become robots with a heart. We have lost our memory of a meaningful life. Are we enriching our days with productive and loving moments? Do we remember what it is to live a life where we do not have to fight for mere survival? Have we still not understood that life is meant to be lived? The quote “The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing” by Marcus Aurelius reflects a lot about how life is, in general. It talks about our perception and attitude to life as well as how we live it and our stance in it. Understanding and reminiscing about this saying not only makes you understand very many life aspects but also helps in taking the right approach towards ensuring enrichment and enjoyment of the life that you live currently.
So what does this saying tell us? What insight into life does it provide that we don’t already know? It essentially gives us a sneak peek into two things:
- Our Attitude towards Life
- The Nature of our living
Our Attitude towards Life:
If we considered life to be a beautiful journey, a wonderfully flowing travelogue which takes us to various destinations some of which we like and some we don’t, it would have been more like a dance. A beautifully flowing dance where you perform on stage at every moment for every act.
However, the way you live life in general, going by your day to day approach to life, does it feel like a dance? Chances are that it doesn’t. It’s more like a wrestling match that you have to win, a fight where you just can’t drop down and even if you do you need to get up again and inch your way towards victory. Simply because there’s no other option but to go on and win.
Yes, life to most of us is all about firefighting and the day to day fight for survival. By survival, its not only the extremely poverty-stricken people and the beggars on the streets that I’m talking about. It refers to anyone and everyone and talks about all our fervent fighting to bridge the gap between the desired and the experienced.
Starting from your assignments and examinations in school and college to your job deadlines now, from living up to the expectations of your close friends and family to the myriad compromises and adjustments now, from the fight to reach your workplace in the morning to your fight towards the yearly appraisal, isn’t life more of wrestling than dancing? I’m sure there would be hardly anyone who would argue. Hence, the saying says it all about our attitude or approach towards life in general, more of fighting it out than dancing it away, more of a struggle than enjoyment.
The Nature of our Living:
Coming to the second point of reflection that the above saying makes, we come to the topic of our living our lives the way we do. Read the quote once more. What does it tell you about the way you live your life? The core nature of your style in which you take life day to day? The stance of wrestling vis-s-vis the stance of dancing, clearly indicates that in life, your approach is to always to be ready and well prepared for anything that is accidental or unforeseen in nature. Your low risk-taking persona, abiding by social norms attitude, planning for future habit, etc all these results from the internal preparation that you constantly do, whether knowingly or unknowingly, in order to be well prepared for all the lemons that life has to throw at you.
Converting the Wrestling into Dancing: Mastering the Art of Living
If you want your life to change from wrestling to dancing mode, you need to search for and find the beauty of the life that you possess. So that you can bring in a rush of positivity and a sense of exhilaration to each precious moment of your life. Things which you can do to master the unique art of living include:
Remind yourself you are the dancer
Wake up in the morning and tell yourself that you are going to take life as a stage and yourself to be a gliding dancer, without ending up at the boxing ring wrestling with the others.
Decide to be happy – again
Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself that you are deciding to be happy again today, come what may. It is hard, but not impossible. It takes effort, but it is all worth it in the end.
Optimism is the key
Be optimistic and make it a habit to look at the positive side of things. Again, this is a skill which you cannot develop overnight. But have equal amounts of patience and motivation. Optimism is a magic that works only if you are a consistent magician.
Give something – and don’t expect anything in return
Do one self-less work a day. The inner feeling experienced while indulging in selfless giving in unexplainable and unparalleled. It is a myth that we benefit the underprivileged when we do social work. But it is ourselves that we develop in the process and it is us who we benefit more than what you do.
Go with the flow
Taking life as it comes, not focusing more on the future than what is necessary. Be alive, feel the moment and live for the moment without the usual sacrificing ‘now for future happiness’ gig.
Let go of what you cannot control
Accept what is not in your hands. This mere acceptances fills your heart with a positive vibration that changes the quality of your life altogether. Learn to not try and control everything. You cannot, and should not, seek to control things, even at the cost of your own happiness. Remember, don’t fight against which you cannot win.
Take the difficult phases of life as tests to your capability and perseverance. Remember, it is only because you can handle it that god/nature is giving that share of pain to you. Think about how you can emerge from the dark night with flying colors. The art of living is not easy. But in the end, you will be happy you mastered it.
Stop being judgmental. Stop judging people and rather understand the positive sides to them. This is the best way to gather increased positivity in one’s life.
Challenge yourself once a day to master the art of living
Do what you like doing – a little crazy thing every day. Meet new people, make friends, say that you love the ones you do, say thank you to people who have helped you, read a good book, sing a song, write a short story, watch a movie and do all that gives you real and true happiness from inside – makes you feel life isn’t a boxing ring but a beautiful dance. If you are still lost, have a look at these 30- Day Challenge. This will surely help you become a happier person.
Thus, the above are the various ways in which you can change your entire outlook towards life form that of a wrestler to a beautiful dancer. If you spend too much time thinking about the accidental or unforeseen aspects of life, you will miss out on experiencing and living life per se. So what are you waiting for? Live every precious moment of your life to the fullest and dance those blues away!