Contrast is necessary to teach the value of what we don’t want while honing in on what we do. That is why the negative of pain is a necessary driver to fuel success.
Contrast can be a polarizing experience. When contrast comes from purple irises sitting in a vase beside orange poppies, contrast is beautiful.
When it comes in the form of pain, however, it is significantly more difficult to accept, and yet, contrast is what is needed in order to nourish growth and success.
Purple irises look better in the vase, when placed with orange poppies, because, as a result of conventional colour theory, colours that lie opposite to one another on the colour wheel, or complementary colours, are more pleasing together. That enhanced visual experience is the result of science – photoreceptor cells in your eyes that help us see colour and perceive different colours of light in sharper ways.
Similarly, we often need the distinctly opposite experience of challenge and pain to fully experience joy. Just knowing what we do not want, sometimes only learned through painful experiences like becoming ill or losing a loved one, helps clarify what we do want.
If we were in a permanent state of happiness, we would soon lose the ability to feel it, as the brain is hard-wired for survival. Evolution has taught us to be alert and prepared to flee in the face of danger. Fear and danger teach us to be wary of busy intersections, bears in the wilderness, hot stoves, lightning strikes and gun-wielding criminals. But we can’t stay in a permanent state of happiness, or fear for that matter, because we would ultimately lose the ability to experience either.
The key is to identify the challenge at hand, name it and move past “problem, problem, problem to solution, solution, solution.” Staying stuck in problem mode only drives you deeper into difficulties, like when your car gets stuck in the mud and you spin your wheels but get nowhere. When we slow down and think of how to solve the problem, like digging away some of the mud, or reversing, we can become unstuck.
Think of when you have had a difficult time, and have been feeling low, how much sweeter it feels after you come out of it. You have experienced the dark and the light. The sad and the happy. Since you have come out of it, you feel so much better and you gain an appreciation for the good in life.
I began to look back on the powerful books that have served me during the contrasting times in my life – the fat days, the brilliant happy days, the bad dark days and this is the set I have come up with. Today I want to inspire you as I have so often done for myself.
This summer reading list might just do it for you too:
- THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE by Stephen R. Covey
- HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE by Dale Carnegie
- THINK AND GROW RICH by Napoleon Hill
- AWAKEN THE GIANT WITHIN by Anthony Robbins
- AS A MAN THINKETH by James Allen
- THE GREATEST SALESMAN IN THE WORLD by Og Mandino
- DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF by Richard Carlson, Ph. D
- DRIVE by Daniel H. Pink
- THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING by Norman Vincent Peale
Happy reading. Embrace the contrast!
Remember, I am always listening.
PS. Please tell me about your favourite book here, in the Comments section below. How did you become inspired to live a healthier, fitter life?