Original Thought · Self Improvement · Uncertainty

Its Up to You (believe it or not)

Are you optimistic, pessimistic, neutralistic? Is the world abundant, scarce or three bears just right? Is your view of the world about how you perceive the truth, your disposition, and/or your experiences? I can find myself feeling ‘hell-in-a-handbasket’ like my father, my grandfather and I am sure on occasion my grandchildren or I can deliberately expect and demand a different perspective from myself and different results from the world. My tendencies are a matter of wiring and if I don’t want to continue wallowing in self-pity I can undertake to rewire my brain to observe the magic, beauty, and mystery alongside the tragedy, hatred and vitriol.

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For me, it begins with morning meditation. I use a guided application called “Simple Habits” and practice is the first activity I schedule after my feet hit the floor. It isn’t a spiritual exercise as much as a consciousness and mindfulness kick start. This morning’s meditation was about gratitude for discomfort and how the aches and pains I feel physically and emotionally are likely my body and brain attempting to protect me from additional harm. Without feeling the twinge in my left Achille’s tendon, I might run until something snaps. If I didn’t feel anxious, I might jump off the next cliff without some measure of investigation and reflection. If I didn’t feel regret for not saying something to a loved one in a time of trouble, I might become callous and distant.
I don’t have any chronic conditions that cause me distress do I am not sure how someone could feel grateful for that kind of infliction but I encourage you to take a moment to understand and appreciate your stress, aches, or anxiety. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in it and don’t just accept the situation if there are options to improve or dissipate them.

My tactics for reframing are ecological, entertaining, and explicit. If I want to change my patterns, thoughts or actions I need to be aware of the surroundings that I find myself in and the surroundings that fit with how I see the changed self I want to become. In order to be more grateful, I can’t be surrounded by ungrateful or selfish people. I need to be surrounded by light, love, and learning. I can’t continue doing the same things in the same places in the same way that brought me to the valley of distrust and disappointment. For the circumstances to change, I need to change my where and how and who. Escaping from stinking thinking is essential. It means that there are people in my life today that can’t be in my life tomorrow. There are places I need to stop going and actions that I must stop undertaking. We all have a preferred or imagined ecology that fulfills more of our aspirations and unfortunately, it won’t manifest itself. We need to seek it out through our actions.

I can be shallow and unfocused and unless the change process is fun, I know that I might retreat to the depths that I am trying to escape. Fun need not be onerous or expensive. Meeting with uplifting people for an activity, a meeting, a coffee, a walk will put a smile on my face even when or because the conversation is an adventure. I met with three friends this morning for ninety minutes and we ranged across the sublime and inane to the profound and debatable. We laughed, we shared, we disagreed and we hugged. We expressed our gratitude for each other and the time spent and booked another gathering for a month from now. I left inspired, thankful and challenged. The stimulus of camaraderie and conversation caused neurons to fire against my hippocampus and began nurturing new pathways.

My final tactic; explicit is really an e word for intentional. ( I love alliteration so much that I always trying to catch it in my lists – ecological, entertaining, and explicit). In my worldview, nothing happens organically. Or nothing will predictably happen without intention. I must invest my resources and time in creating a V2.0 or V11.5 of me and I need to be vested in the outcome.

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.” ~ Johann Wolfgang van Goethe

Make Today Remarkable, by choice,

Bob

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Self Improvement

 

remarkable-peopleCan you design the life you desire? For most the answer should be yes. For those reading this, the answer is definitely yes? But where can we begin? We can’t identify barriers or set targets if we don’t know where we are or where we want to be. We need a destination and best it is one that won’t disappoint when we arrive.

I use a 1000 day horizon quite often because it seems close enough that I can imagine what my world will be like then (as opposed to 25 years). It is far enough away that almost anything is possible. I can’t be a medical doctor but I can be in my 2nd year working towards it. I couldn’t be a doctor – I don’t handle other’s pain and frailty particularly well and I know that I would be impatient with patients.

So 1000 days from now what do you want to be doing? Travelling? Writing? Running? Serving? Sharing? How do you know that any or all of these would bring you joy? How do I discover what is bringing me joy and conversely what is dragging me down? In the whirlwind of our days the rainbows of elation and the clouds of dissatisfaction blend and we miss seeing where they begin and end. What if we took 168 hours; one week and recorded throughout the day those activities and actions that we are involved with and record whether we are energized and joyful or exhausted and dejected or somewhere in between?

We could begin to see the kinds of stuff we should be doing more of and the stuff we should be doing less of. Then we can begin crafting the first 100 day segment. What do I need to do today to have more of what I want and less of what I don’t? What are the first 5 steps – which is first? Begin doing step one and move to step two. As you complete the fifth, re-evaluate : where am I, where do I want to be, what are the 5 steps? This won’t necessarily be 100 day segments. Sometimes the five steps can be accomplished in an afternoon, sometimes it will take a year. But if you keep a record and reimagine every 100 days it will serve as a motivation and you will become proficient at building a plan and completing it.

I usually say ” easy to say harder to do” but in this case I believe it is easy to say and do. Check in every morning, focus on the goal in front of you, move to the next and the next. Progress begets progress. You will soon find yourself closer to understanding what, why and how you want your life to be in late 2019 and you will be 20,30, 100 steps closer to it being true.

Make Today Remarkable, by noticing when you are and aren’t

B