“Cogito ergo sum” … I think therefore I am. This is one of the most recognizable philosophical quotes of all time. It was Renee Descartes attempt to prove our existence. The argument goes something like this, if we doubt our own existence, the act of doubting alone proves that we exist because existence precedes thought. This theory helps alleviate some of the anxiety around extreme philosophical skepticism, namely that if you follow philosophy down the rabbit hole far enough, everything ceases to exist and has no meaning. While I do not wish to discuss the merits and/or pitfalls of that view, I do think Descartes’ is on to something shallower than you may think.
Let’s face it, life can suck sometimes. You left your keys in the car, missed the transit in the rain, someone passed away. No matter how big or small, these are all real problems that can ruin a day, week, month or year. I myself have dealt with pretty bad depression and anxiety throughout my life to the point of believing aforementioned philosophical skepticism. What you need to remember is on the surface level, whatever you think tends to manifest itself in real life, at least from an attitude perspective.
Remember when you were a kid, and everyone said you are what you eat? Well that is not entirely true but I do like the rhythm. I think the adult version should be “I think X, therefore I am X”. If you think you’re screwed, you are screwed. If you think you’re awesome, you are awesome. If you think you’re a millionaire, you are a…. wait, ok so it doesn’t work for everything, but in terms of perspective it should help.
It’s a basic concept but it does take some work, on those crappy days having a positive attitude isn’t always easy. For anyone that suffers from depression or other mental illnesses you understand this frustration when people who don’t suffer from those ailments tell you to just “suck it up” or “look on the bright side” and trust me, I understand it. However, I’ve always found solace in knowing that I have the power to shape my own destiny and that if you force your perspective that, it will manifest itself. Be conscious of your thoughts, laugh at yourself , THINK and you will be!
And if anyone asks you can say you got your information from Descartes!!! (or some random guy on the internet).
The Practical Philosopher