Thoughts for No One in Particular

Ceteris paribus

I know things do not always go the way I want them to. In fact, they rarely go exactly the way I want them to… if they do, I have to pinch myself to make sure they really did happen exactly as I dreamed. But that is about all I do. I get a bit scared of the rare blissful moments, but I never really stop to wonder how I made them happen. I suppose it is because I either believe I did everything right, or it was all luck – either way, there is nothing that can be changed to make the outcome any better.


Just as rare, but a lot more troublesome, is when things go completely wrong and seemingly out of control. Because I know things do not always go the way I want them to, I try to keep my expectations from getting too high and leave some room for let-downs. But when my worst imaginable nightmares become reality, all I can think of amidst woeful periods is… something’s gotta change!


But what to change, and how?


When things start to go wrong, everything seems to go against you.

Maybe you start to doubt every little thing you do, and suspect there is something wrong with everything.

Maybe you try to fix one thing, and while working on it, find something else that requires fine-tuning, and end up tinkering both aimlessly.

Maybe you fiddle with this and meddle with that, only to find yourself resettle right back where you started.

And maybe soon enough, you will find yourself knee deep in a big mess you have created for yourself.


Well, before you get to that point, I have a suggestion: ceteris paribus, or hold all other things constant. It is quite tempting to change everything you think is going wrong all at once, but that would not shed light on exactly which things need to be changed, and by how much. To find out, each thing must be changed by itself, while all other things are kept constant.


So, before you start to change something, get back to doing things the same way before the problem arose.

Maybe you used to say hello and smile to those around you a lot more.

Maybe you used to compare yourself with others and get discouraged a lot less.

Maybe you used to eat and sleep a lot better.

Maybe you used to be much more (for the lack of a better word) you!


Maybe these are very basic things that seem unrelated to your problem.

But maybe they are so basic, they have pervasive effect on all things you do.

Maybe just by getting them back to their usual level, most of your problem will be resolved.

Then maybe it will be much easier to get to the root cause of what is going wrong, and you will see much clearer what exactly needs to be changed, and how, in the most effective and efficient way.


Hmm, I guess it is true what they say – when in doubt, get back to the basics. If something’s gotta change, resist the rush to make haphazard changes and start by holding all basic things constant. Ceteris paribus may seem a roundabout way to go to make things go the way you want them to, but at least you will not make any unnecessary, unwanted changes to yourself that may exacerbate your problem later on.


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