Newsletter from Straight Up Living
July, 2, 2022
In this issue:
- Why becoming more self-aware is the key to living an amazing life.
- Breaking free of society’s made up rules.
- How to reverse engineer your goal or dream.
*This is the first issue of a multi-part series.*
This is where it all begins. There’s no work you’ll ever engage in that’s more meaningful, and life-changing, than the work you’ll do getting to know yourself. This is more than learning about your personality traits, it’s about learning your strengths, weaknesses, and how your brain is wired to resist change. It’s understanding where feelings of fear originate. Fear isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes it can inform and protect you, but learning to discern between fear that’s helpful and fear that’s holding you back is part of your work. Remember, your brain’s default programming is to continually assess the potential for threats. It’ll typically view anything unfamiliar as a potential threat. Since change is usually a move into the unknown, your brain may flag it as a threat and attempt to shut you down. You can train yourself to overcome this.
What are some things you can do to increase your self-awareness? Start by being curious about who you are. Why do you feel the way you do—about everything—and why do you have certain beliefs? How would you describe your disposition and how did that become your default way of being? What are you afraid of doing, or not doing, and what changes do you resist making in your life? Why do you resist? Do certain things make you happy, or piss you off? Why?
Those are some big questions, and the answers you come up with will reflect who you are and how you show up in life. The reason why this is important is simple. How can you build a life that is meaningful to you if you don’t even know what you are passionate about, what you enjoy, and find meaningful? If you’ll take the time and effort to write these things down (maybe start a self-awareness journal) you’ll be taking THE most important step toward creating a life you love to live.
Conforming or Creating: Breaking Free of Society’s Made Up Rules
It’s possible that you’ve been a free spirt since you were very young and have always followed your own path regardless of your surroundings or the people in your life. If so, you’re an exception and that’s freaking awesome. However, the odds are pretty high that you grew up in a way that heavily influenced the choices you made. Whether it was your parents, friends, society, or education, many of the thoughts and beliefs that formed within you are like an externally installed program running in the background. If you haven’t delved deeply into self-awareness, that program has been influencing the choices you’ve made for quite some time. This isn’t necessarily bad, unless you happen to be unhappy with how your life is going. If that’s the case, then you could be living your life according to the thoughts and opinions of others. Remember, the “rules” in every society are just made up and are actually just opinions that groups of people have more or less agreed upon. While some of those rules are beneficial, many are unnecessary restraints which hold you back from a life of real freedom.
Because you’ve unconsciously conformed to a way of life that wasn’t born within your own heart and spirit, you might struggle with lack of purpose, depression, feeling unfulfilled, or generally unhappy. You want more from life, and you KNOW there’s more to get from life, but aren’t sure what to do about it.
Becoming more self-aware is the catalyst that begins a life-changing domino effect that’ll eventually enable you to create a life built around your own needs, desires, and dreams. Some may think that sounds selfish, but it’s far from it. The more you feel your life has meaning and purpose, the more joy you’ll experience, which will better equip you to help other people experience the same. All of this creates a ripple effect that has the potential to impact millions of lives. This is how we can positively change the world.
Reverse Engineering a Goal or Dream
The next step, after self-awareness, is the willingness to change. If you’re unwilling to let go of who you are, you’ll never grow into the person you wish to become. However, if you’ve done the inner work, and are willing to do what it takes to become the person you want to be, then you’re ready to pursue goals and dreams that align with your heart. What’s amazing about doing the inner work on yourself is how a sense of direction and purpose becomes clear. Even if you don’t know exactly how everything will unfold, you become increasingly clear on the direction toward which you want to move.
I like to call that sense of purpose and direction your DESTINY.
Your destiny isn’t a predetermined blueprint of your life. It’s more a fulfilling of your potential as a human being as you follow your sense of purpose. The result is a life filled with meaning which creates a ripple effect that helps other people live a more meaningful life as well. If you’ve engaged in the inner work on yourself, and know the direction (destiny) in which you want to move, I’m going to share with you some things that’ll help you get there as fast as possible and without getting derailed by distractions. It isn’t a magical formula that gets everything done for you, but it is a method that works if you are consistent with it. It’ll always come down to a series of decisions, action steps, tweaks, and experiences, that take you where you want to go.
The pyramid image below is taken from my book, Your Time Is Now: How to Transform Your Life and Ignite Your Dreams, and is a great way to illustrate the process of reverse engineering your destiny (i.e. dreams/goals). In this issue of Life Beyond Mediocrity we’ll cover the top two sections of the pyramid. The other sections will be covered in forthcoming issues.
At the top of the pyramid is your destiny. This is the sense of purpose and direction that becomes clear to you once you’ve begun the process of deepening your self-awareness. It could be most anything, but what I’ve noticed is that it almost always involves service to other people. You’ll reap the benefits too, but so will many others. Important note: only you can define this for yourself. Others may have thoughts and opinions, but only you know for sure what your destiny will be.
If you’re still not sure about your purpose, start asking yourself questions.
What drives you?
What are your core values?
Who do you want to help, and how do you want to help them?
What are you willing to sacrifice for?
What would you love to do, if money were no object?
What does the world need?
What actions are you willing to take?
Remember, you get to decide and create your own purpose! And you don’t have to necessarily limit yourself to doing one thing. Fulfilling your purpose may involve you doing several different things, but they’ll all move you in a particular direction—toward your destiny.
Dictionaries define destiny like this:
1) What happens in the future: the things that someone or something will experience in the future.
2) A power that is believed to control what happens in the future.
I want to add something to part one of the above definition. Your destiny also includes your journey, things you experience along the way, not just stuff in the future.
Part two of the definition leads us to the next section of the pyramid:
Decisions: Daily decisions will lead you in a certain direction. Which direction depends on the quality of your decisions. Quality decisions will lead you to your destiny. Read carefully the second part of that definition and realize that “power” is your ability to make choices.
Some people believe that one’s past, or perhaps even their upbringing, determines their future or the quality of their life. Yet, have you ever known of someone who, despite being given every opportunity, money, education and love, ends up in prison, addicted to drugs or worse? I’ve known people like this and I’m sure you have also. Have you ever known of someone who had a terrible start in life? Maybe their parents abandoned them, or they were unable to get an education, were abused in some way, or perhaps spent their childhood in and out of juvenile detention centers. Yet, despite facing so many disadvantages, they grew to overcome all of it and became happy and successful.
The past does not dictate the direction of your life any more than the direction of the wind forces a sailboat in a certain direction. It all depends on how you adjust your sails, or in other words, how you decide to look at things. Every aspect of your life, right this moment, is being affected by the choices you make. Every decision you make sets into motion a ripple effect that creates momentum in your life. Where that momentum carries you will depend on your self-discipline in following through, and the quality of your decisions. It’s not just the big decisions either. A common misunderstanding is to think that big decisions are what chart the course of your life. They do, but only in part. It’s the seemingly small decisions you make every day that’ll have the biggest influence on your life.
What fuels your decisions and determines their quality? We’ll cover that in the next issue, so stay tuned!
- Self-awareness is everything. Your must know yourself.
- Break free of societal programming and forge your own path.
- Be willing to change.
- Clarify your purpose.
- Make consistent and quality decisions daily.
I believe in you!
See you next time!