In our culture, we have access to so much that we often lose sight of how luck we really are. We sacrifice our joy and we obscure our enjoyment along our quest to do or have more. We amass culture and commodities, yet, we have no time and sometimes no ability to appreciate them.
There are things that we can do to change this and these things are simpler than you’d expect.
1. Slooooow Things Down
2. Pay Attention to What You Really Love
3. Recognize that Trade-Offs Aren’t Such a Bad Thing
If you’re like most people, you’ve been in this situation: you’ve done something and only seconds later asked yourself, “Why the heck did I do that? I know better.” You’re then launched into the position of needing to figure out what you can do to rectify the situation.
There are many different ways we can assess what motivates our actions. For example, we can look at our behavior through a developmental lens or through a situational one.
This week, I’m going to look at how our behavior is rooted in our biology. And I’m going to take a specific look at three unique behaviors: shutting down, procrastinating, and tuning out.
What you can do about it: The first thing to know about “shutting down” is that you really can’t verbally or rationally explain why this behavior shows up. When this behavior presents itself in your life, you might not even have access to the traumatic memories that instilled this reflex. The easiest way to look at “shutting down” is to see it as a response initiated by the nervous system and not a response to a memory.
What you can do about it: One of the easiest things you can do to help counter-act your tendency to procrastinate is to break your task down into small, easily accomplished steps. To support your progress, you can remove all distractions from your work environment, set and keep a consistent schedule, and monitor your mood.
What you can do about it: Sometimes your lack of ability to see the newness around you is more about you than about the unchanging nature of your relationships. My advice here is for you to challenge yourself to approach your life – and all the people in it – with a sense of curiosity. Look for what you have not seen before.
It’s easy to feel disempowered when reading the news, driving down the street, or simply moving through life. We read about the recent terrorist attack in Paris. We get stuck in traffic next to a driver who yells profanely at the person who cut him off. We find out that a family member became sick. And we slowly emotionally withdraw from the world around us.
Throughout our lives, we experience so many negative things that it can seem impossible that our actions could make a positive difference or have a lasting impact on this ever-changing world. We ask ourselves: how can one person change the world – how can I stop hatred, face adversity, and create social equity? When we don’t come up with an answer, we resign ourselves to the “fact” of negativity. We stop ourselves from seeking solution.
The hard truth is, though, that apathy is noxious. Giving up in the face of adversity leaves us feeling like a half a person.
Yet – as many brilliant leaders have shown us – you can’t fight your way to a better world. When we use anger and angst to resolve a problem we only create a new problem or compound the old one.
We need different tools to create the change we desire. These tools are love, truth and compassion. They make up a set of holistic and healing approaches to adversity that transforms the world around us. The best part is that these tools have always been with us.
I believe that the entire world benefits when you choose to build your life with these tools. Bringing love, compassion and truth to each situation you face takes practice, though. And this is why I developed my LifeWork Virtual Program – which offers weekly practices that help you cultivate awareness and develop skills that make your life easier and more rewarding.
These practices are instrumental in creating positive change in the world around us. For this week’s article, I’m going to talk about three of these practices today.
“Hatred does not cease by hatred, but only by love; this is the eternal rule.” Buddha
“If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.” Jesus Christ
“No man is a true believer unless he desireth for his brother that which he desireth for himself.” Muhammad
While none of these skills are easy, they are all quite simple and in the reach of every single one of us all the time. We don’t need to start a movement or become a politician to have an impact. We only need to focus on being a better person and sharing this with the world.
I will leave you with this quote from Rumi. “Listen with the ears of tolerance. See through the eyes of compassion. Speak with the Language of love.”