I recently read a post on a dear friend’s social media page where she indicated her goal in life was to be stress and worry free, thus guaranteeing, to some extent, a happy existence as she navigates life. This lady is whip smart, a pilot and well respected professionally where she works very hard to support her bosses and the public they serve. I suspect her expectations were summarized in one of those little social media assessments that pop up every once in awhile supposedly based on some form of analysis. More often than not, these things are a shot in the dark, but in her case, likely dead on. I poured a cup of one of my favorite coffee’s, a vanilla bean blend, and gave her situation some thought. Being stress and worry free is a tall order. As a student of human behavior, the real world, street stuff that is not the substance of psychology textbooks, I thought I would offer a few perspectives. The caveat to these observations is obvious; if I had the recipie for eternal happiness, I would be wealthy enough to buy Jeff Bezos out, instead I am an old trooper who knows full well that hindsight is 20/20. Some of these thoughts are the result of watching experienced criminal investigators work, folks who can read people like a truck stop menu, folks who can turn stress into a double edged knife when eliciting information from people who are in trouble.
Perfectionists are destined to an early demise. Their obsessive, detail oriented existence permeates everything they do, from cutting the grass to writing a note to a friend. Much of their stress in life is the result of their expectation of the same level of obsessive/compulsive behavior from everyone around them. It is not going to happen and the sooner in life you recognize this, the longer you can wait before establishing a relationship with the heart mechanics.
If your concern in life is centered around what others think of you, you are going to have a rough row to hoe. I can guarantee that if you are positively impacting the world we live in, you are angering someone. Live with it and move on.
Two of the weaknesses in human beings that good cops exploit on a regular basis are a defined sense of right and wrong and a conscience. Police officers do not always respond in a black and white way, but they live in a black and white world. For instance, police officers, generally, have a healthy respect for the polygraph, because they have a clearly defined sense of right and wrong, making them ideal polygraph subjects. Having a conscience is a great asset when considering some act, but a terrible liability after the act is done. The old saying, let your conscience be your guide is sage advice…….on the front end. A conscience is one of a cops best friends when we are “talking” with you about something of importance.
Consistency is a key to happiness. The only class of human beings that I am aware of that can exist with inconsistent positions on the things that matter most, are politicians. If you possess the ability to look a friend in the eye and disagree without being disagreeable, kudos to you. For most of us, life is not an election, therefore we are afforded the luxury of a heartfelt difference of opinion in the name of honesty and fairness, without worrying about losing a vote. A lack of consistency creates internal conflict, remember conscience, and has put many bad people in prison.
Heart mechanics welcome folks to their offices who do not have something they believe in. Scientific stuff doesn’t count here. I am talking about the belief in a higher power, a concept that does not lend itself to mathematical confirmation. As an example, look at the rather large number of condemned prisoners who turn to religion in some form when the hour of their departure approaches. My own father, a warrior who was a skeptical Christian as a result of his experiences, spent hours with an Army Chaplain on the day before he died. I am not making a case here for a specific religion, rather for faith in something infinitely more powerful than what you see around you. The ability to trust something other than mortal man provides a peace that is necessary to happiness.
Two passages come to mind when I think about the road to happiness and a worry free life. First, “The truth will set you free” followed closely by “What a tangled web we weave when we first practice to deceive”. Liars are a cops best friend when we are investigating. When confronted by a situation that threatens your well being, don’t lie, instead shut up. In the police world, we have a little thing called the Garrity Rule. Because officers are held to a higher standard, administrators can compel an officer who is the subject of an investigation to tell the truth in all matters, with the exception of criminal conduct protected by the 5th amendment. Citizens are not under such pressure and are essentially free to lie under most circumstances. In the investigative world, officers love liars, especially liars with some degree of conscience. Lying on substantive matters almost always involves the tangled web of deception mentioned above. One again, rather than lie, shut up.
I am acquainted with both a fabulous heart surgeon and a heart electrician who have combined their skills in an effort to provide a little more time in this world to think about what I have done and seen. America today is not Utopia. We live in a world of constant conflict, worry and stress that we cannot control……..
…….however, there are things we can control. The bright lights in an operating theater are scary as is the not so reassuring suggestion by the doctor, that you are “going to go to sleep now.”