Let’s put those New Year’s resolutions and goals you made 2 months ago aside for a moment – squirrely little things that they are – and talk about something more important. I’m talking about the importance of figuring out the reasons why you do what you do.
Yes it’s important. Frankly, it’s way more important than you probably think. Your reasons why are the only thing that can sustain you long enough to accomplish whatever you want to do with your life.
If I had to choose one morsel of advice to pass along to my younger self based on my somewhat advanced degrees in the the school of hard knocks, it would be remembering that life is about asking the right questions – and the most important question you must ask yourself this year is ‘WHY’?
- Why do you believe what you believe to be true?
- Why does the world have to look the way you think it does?
- Why do you think you can’t do something when there are more opportunities to learn than there has ever been in the history of the world?
- Why do I care so much about (enter trivial concern here)?
- Why am I trying to impress others instead of myself?
- Why do I believe there is only one way to live my life?
Every time you catch yourself ‘bottom lining’ things in your life, stop what you’re doing and ask yourself where that belief came from and is is legitimate. Think of this exercise as a way to expand your thinking, and thus your options.
It works, trust me. And its important.
Here are 3 tested and practical ways to help you gain more freedom and quality of life this year:
1. Challenge your own thinking moment by moment
This is the beginning stages of how to think less like a mass consumer and more like someone who owns their own mind. Examining the reasons why you choose to do what you do, say what you say, each what you eat, and think how you think is the beginning of your liberation. Living life on autopilot is not a life.
Most people live out the life that is handed to them in the form of values, priorities, and example without ever asking ‘why am I doing this?’ Start challenging what you think and why on a moment by moment basis to start modifying your programming towards believes that are more useful.
2. Value your time and relationships over your stuff
99% of the ‘stuff’ in your life can be replaced. Please read that sentence again. Money can be replaced, jobs can be replaced, stuff can be replaced. Your time CANNOT be replaced, making it the most valuable and most precious possession you own.
Try this: walk out to your garage and look around at the stuff you have piled up. Ask yourself an honest question: in 30, 20, whatever years you have left to live, do you really believe you’re going to remember or care in the least about any of this stuff as I lay dying?
This is been a huge hurdle for me in my life. I was taught to value and protect things many times to the detriment of relationships. only through practicing point number one above have I been able to mostly kill that propensity.
3. Check yourself into media rehab
Have you ever watched a TV show and then fell like you need to go take a shower afterwards?
Just last week, my wife and I made the decision to cancel Dish TV. All we have now is HULU and Netflix and a bunch of other free channels we get from our Roku (internet television). 6 days in and we barely miss it.
Instead of wandering out into the living room to channel surf for my next distraction, I grab a book.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like and follow a couple shows (Walking Dead anyone?). But by eliminating the temptation to get sucked into some brain cell reducing programming, I’m giving attention to myself over the media. I dont regret that decision.
Reducing your personal exposure to popular media is only half of the benefit. The other half is what you do with the time you just gained by turning off the set.
Did you spend an extra half an hour playing a board game with your kids? Did you take another step towards that dream you have by spending some time doing research? Or maybe giving yourself a walk outside to breathe in some fresh air and grab some solitude is what you needed.
Regardless, you’ve just taken a huge step towards giving yourself a higher quality of life, no matter how small. Bravo.
What do you do to undomesticate yourself? Share them in the comments…