Portfolio of Hope

‘Stop dealing with the smoke.
Start dealing with the fire.’

The above quote is one that I took from a podcast I listened to today; ‘The Diary of A CEO with Steven Bartlett.’ In the almost two-hour long podcast, Steven had an incredibly insightful conversation with best selling author Johann Hari. Bartlett and Hari discussed some fascinating topics, from why we get depressed, to why we are so obsessed with social media.

The quote I have written out above is one that really stuck with me. My interpretation of it is that it is an analogy for our need to get to the root cause of our problems in order for them to be solved. This is particularly relevant in the case of depression whereby one must really go beneath the surface to discover what exactly is making them feel the way they do. For example, someone with depression might find themselves telling people; ‘I feel depressed because I stay in the house all the time and never do anything.’ This, however, is not the root cause of their depression, but is in fact merely an after effect.  It is therefore ‘smoke.’ In the same way that smoke is an after effect of fire, so too is not leaving the house an after effect of depression. The smoke, or, in this case, ‘not wanting to leave the house’, didn’t cause the depression, for it is just a symptom of it.

We must therefore all seek to understand, on a deeper level, what actually causes us to feel depressed. Is it a result of a difficult childhood? Is it due to some sort of trauma we have experienced?

Only when we can identify the root cause of our suffering can we put out the fire.

So, let’s all put our trust in the process and leave the smoke for now.

Let’s instead deal with the fire.

For when we do this- when we deal with the fire, the smoke will gradually start to disappear on its own (without our intervention), and we will feel free again.

It will all work out okay in the end, I promise.

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