Friday, September 2, 2011

Should Be and As Is

By Julie Rahm

Hurricane Irene has ripped into Pamlico County leaving a huge amount of devastation. Unfortunately, with the devastation, often comes despair. When the storm surge subsides, despair remains behind. It is not the destruction left behind by hurricane Irene that is fatal. Often fatal is the despair that remains long after the hurricane has moved up the coast. The loss of possessions will not ruin a life. But the accompanying despair will ruin those things most dear. Relationships, marriages, employment and health will all eventually fall victim to despair. Despair is a mental cancer that spreads into a life leaving the victim hopeless. Even worse, a case of despair is not easily cured.

However, some Pamlico County residents handle the devastation and despair with little effort. They are credited with resilience and positive attitudes. Their strength is touted as an example for all of us to follow. But as I examine these residents, I have learned the resilient are fundamentally different than the rest of the majority. They view their world in a fundamentally different way. Those that thrive, in any circumstance, view the world “As Is” not as it “Should Be”. They are focused in a constructive way. Being focused on things “As Is” makes individuals neutral about their personal losses from hurricane Irene.

For example, when the entire first floor of their beautiful home gets blown back into the Neuse River, the resilient are not focused on “Should Be”. They are focused on the fact that the first floor is gone, “As Is”. Despair doesn’t take hold in these residents. They remain in the present; ready to move forward with their lives. As a contrast, those focused on “Should Be” are stuck facing backward. They cannot move on from the thought that their first floor “Should Be” here. They cannot move forward because they are not in the present. A focus on “Should Be” leaves the door open for despair to arrive and thrive.

As another example of “As Is”, a Pamlico County resident was without electric, water and phones for days. His car was totally flooded. This resident was completely cut off from everything comfortable and routine. However, he was not focused on his current plight and what “Should Be”. He was focused on “As Is”. A few days after the storm, I found him barbequing his soon to be spoiled freezer contents for his neighbors. He was still cheerful without an ounce of despair. He camped out on his back deck and enjoyed things “As Is” without a thought of how his circumstances “Should Be”.

The distinction between “Should Be” and “As Is” cannot be overstated. It is a very subtle but substantial difference in the mindset of people allowing them to thrive despite the circumstance.

Get your prescription of “As Is” by visiting my website at And, listen to the Mindset Mechanic Radio Show, Saturdays at 5PM on FM107.1 WTKF.

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