The chicken or the egg?

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Which came first: the chicken or the egg?

Chickens hatch from eggs. And all chicken eggs are laid by chickens.

Chicken-and-egg has become a metaphoric adjective describing situations where it’s not clear which of two events should be considered the cause, and which should be considered the effect.

What I love most about this is that one can find truth in either answer.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve grappled with what I call “low-grade anxiety.”

It’s such a real thing for me that I have even coined it as my “LGA,”—a code name so I can embrace it a bit more without feeling so bad about myself.

My LGA is something that I have become more aware of as I get older. And I have become a master at managing it with life enhancing choices, i.e., working out, going for long walks, having a really good support team around me (therapist, coach, business mentor, etc.). It doesn’t always work and some days I don’t manage it well (just ask my partner Chuck about my bad days).

While jogging a few days ago something about my LGA hit me deeply.

I have been living most of my life from the perspective that the circumstances of my life have been the source of my low-grade anxiety.

For example, during the 2008 recession, the loss of over 50% of my work certainly did activate a level of deep anxiety, which totally makes sense.

Looking back, that event helped me justify my core belief that my low-grade anxiety was created from my life’s circumstances.

Yet, what if the other way around were equally true? Which comes first – the chicken or the egg?

What if my low-grade anxiety is simply an inner state of being? What if it’s so ingrained that it is looking for a reason to exist, a reason to justify itself? And what if I’m so creative and so powerful that I actually go find, or should I dare say – go create circumstances to let my low-grade anxiety live on?

Now, that is a paradigm shift that upends the reality of my life completely.

Yesterday, like many mornings, I awoke with my low-grade anxiety fully present.  For no reason I started to worry about my next conference. I started to worry about a big corporate speaking gig I have next week. I started to worry about a whole list of things.

At the same time I remembered the chicken or the egg.

I realized that I was hunting for things to be anxious about. What if I simply stopped hunting? What a paradigm shift! This way of thinking allowed me to open up my mind to a new way to be in spite of what may have appeared to be true at the outset.

Now to be clear, circumstances do happen that can create deep pain and darkness in one’s life. I certainly mean no disrespect to major life circumstances that alter your way of being. I’m not suggesting that you simply dismiss your circumstance.

Instead, I’m suggesting a perspective or paradigm shift… a new way to look and be in an effort to create more freedom and creativity in your life. For me, that’s what the game of life is all about.

What about you?


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