Something holding you back? Try the Jack Shepard method.

by nomeatbarefeet

I wanted to take a moment and write a post about something that has been on my mind lately. the other day someone asked me this question:

what, if anything, pisses you off about your life? that is, are there aspects of your life that make you angry, despondent, bitter, or just down right mad?

let us leave aside the usual suspects that can give us all moments of exasperation: kids, spouse, the government, scratched dvds. we need to dig deeper and talk about the obvious and the not so obvious things that really piss you off about your current situation.

how about your job? or, how about your lack of job? many people are in jobs or have settled for jobs that they hate going to. they have taken what they can get and are simply trying to get by. for instance, “Almost one-quarter of all jobs in the United States pay wages below the poverty line for a family of four.” Of these jobs a great number are in the fast food industry. These workers “are in the lowest paid occupational category.” if you are working 24 hours a week at a fast food joint, I am betting your stress levels are way up, and I am betting that you aren’t exactly thrilled with your take home pay every week. Especially if you have other people to think of (wife, husband, kids, grandparents). I am definitely in a place where my job is not what I want; I have yet to apply my degree and have been working in retail/food service for over a decade. Granted, I make pretty good money doing it, but the stress and mundanity is tiresome.

at least I have a job; so many people today cannot say that, and that burden will surely create a weight upon all other aspects of one’s life. according to the most recent statistics from the US Dept of Labor nearly 11.3 million are unemployed, a rate of 7.3 percent. if you are having to live unemployment check to unemployment check, with uncertain prospects of getting a job you are probably a bit despondent and pissed off.

or maybe it is student loans; or car problems; or bills; or unfulfilled expectations of the dreams of where you thought you would be at this moment. there are any number of things that might piss us off about or lives.

what am I getting at is this: we should be consciously examining those things in our life that piss us off and then face them. we need to take a hard look at what angers us, at what is depressing us, at what is holding us back, and then try to let that part go. we cannot let those aspects of our life limit what we can do or where we can go. in fact those things shouldn’t even be an aspect of our life. no, it might not be easy to get a job. so it is not as if the fact of unemployment can change; what can change is our view of that fact.

we must not let the things we cannot change drown us in a sea of discouragement.

right now things are what they are, and each of us has to do the best we can to make the most of the situation we find ourself in. this means accepting those things that we cannot change and moving forward.

i have found that employing the “Jack Shepard method” is very helpful. (yes, I made up this helpful method by employing the pop culture side of my brain.) for those of you who are Lost geeks like me you know who Jack Shepard is. For the rest of you, Jack Shepard was the doctor-protagonist on the TV show Lost. At one point Jack is having another character, Kate, sew up a wound on his back. While she is sewing he tells her a story about a surgery gone wrong. In that moment, says Jack, “the terror was just so crazy, so real and I knew I had to deal with it. So I just made a choice. I’d let the fear in, let it take over, let it do it’s thing. But only for five seconds, that’s all I was gonna give it. So I started to count. One, two, three, four, five. And it was gone. I went back to work, sewed her up and she was fine.”

I believe that there are two significant aspects of the “Jack Shepard method” that we can take away:

(1) Don’t deny fear. We are all afraid at some point in our life, and at that moment something will grip us with fear—and that is fine. Fear is a natural, and valuable, human emotion. What we do with the fear, however, how we deal with it makes all the difference. So when we find that aspect of our life that pisses us off, or keeps us in a state of fear or despondence, it is ok to let ourselves be afraid and scared and unsure…but then we need to say “ok, that’s it” and move on with what we can change.

(2) We all have to deal with life. Jack knew that he had to deal with the mess in front of him, even though a part of him was completely terrified. All of us have to deal with the situation we find ourselves in, despite that part of us that would have us turn and run. We have to face where we are. I saw a meme that said “Just get the f*** out of bed.” That is precisely the spirit of the “Jack Shepard method”—life is happening, and it can be scary, but you just have to get the f*** out of bed and face it. End of story.

so I’ll ask you: what about your life pisses you off? once you can ask this question you can learn whether or not you are letting the fear of the question or even the fear of facing the answer keep you rooted in place. while asking the question won’t solve the problem I believe that it will open you up to the possibility of moving forward and facing those things that are holding you back.