Just a few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend and asked what goals they had for their future. I asked where they saw them self in five years and what they wanted to be different from the way things in life are today. My friend’s reaction surprised me as if that was a strange thing to even think about.
Is it enough to be satisfied with struggling in the daily grind, week after week, while not making progress toward a more fulfilling and satisfying life? Is it wrong to have higher goals and a desire or vision to achieve & have something better? What about dreams of a different lifestyle? Or simply having peace and happiness?
Is it enough to just pay the bills and take one vacation a year or no vacation at all? Wouldn’t you like to experience more, share more and have a greater sense of self worth, peace and joy that comes from having freedom over your life?
We all get up out of bed every day and begin our daily routine. A lot of people start the day in a rush for time to go off and spend the majority of their day in a place they really don’t want to be or doing something they’d rather not being doing.
Something that we all share in common is the need to make a living. To support ourselves and those who depend on us. To pay the bills. To keep going forward, one week after the next.
Running the Rat Race…
Have you ever had the feeling that stuff just doesn’t change? Every day, it’s the same thing over and over and you don’t seem to really be getting anywhere? I’ve often felt like a rat who’s running through a maze, racing to get a nibble of cheese only to be placed back on the starting line to do it all over again.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. – Albert Einstein
No matter how much we dream of accomplishing, being, doing or having something different from now, it’s not going to happen on its own. It always takes some kind of lasting effort, sacrifice and investment. It takes us doing something different than what we’ve done before to attain something different than we have now.
The attitude of “if only” takes over. “If only I could win the lottery.” “If only I had a better education.” “If only I weren’t stuck here.” “If only I could lose this weight.”
Life will always have a certain amount of drama and we’ll always have challenges in one form or another to deal with. That’s a given. If we let these challenges keep us from what we really want, then we become victims of our own tragedy – a tragedy of excuses. In doing that, we’ve given away power and control over ourselves to circumstance and we no longer own our lives.
There’s something I call the Pessimist’s Paradox: The more time a person spends being unhappy with the way things are, the more they begin to accept it as normal, lose sight of what they really want and make excuses for why they are where they don’t want to be. It becomes easier to give up and allow that circumstance to control us.
This is a learned behavior – which means it can be unlearned. We have the power to change… but it’ll take effort.
We’ve heard stories about someone who has had a near death experience or serious illness and it somehow changed their life. What we usually don’t stop to realize is, it isn’t the illness or traumatic experience itself that changed that person’s life. It simply changed their perception or outlook on life or circumstances, which in turn allowed the person to also change their own actions.
A Catalyst for Change
Now that you’re reading this, maybe you’re wondering what 7 questions you could ask that would make a difference. The questions themselves are going to seem far too simple and some who read this are going to dismiss them as useless rambling. I guarantee that by following the exercise below, you will ignite something within you – and that something is the great potential & power for change.
Remember – the questions are just a catalyst to organize the building blocks of your future. Their purpose is to help us in our effort to change our own perception of where we are at, compared to where we want to be. To define how where we want to be is different from where we are now, in order to bridge the gap between the two.
Our lives are a product of our past and current thinking. This is because past and current thinking have dictated our actions & choices. We all create our own reality based on the choices we have made up to this very moment.
So, to have different results than we’ve had, to have a better lifestyle, to have more success – to achieve what we want when it hasn’t happened yet, we have to spark a change somewhere. That somewhere starts with our own thinking.
For now, 7 Most Important Questions You Can Ask Yourself for Personal Change…
I want you to try something before we get to the 7 Questions. Get a piece of paper and something to write with. Now, as you read through the questions, take time to really think about each one and write your own answers down as a list. For this to really be effective, you have to bring your answers from inside of you and commit them to a solid form. Give them life. Make them real.
Here we go…
- How do you really feel about your current place in life (finances, debt, relationships, health, education, career, where you live) – are you completely happy?
- Where do you see yourself 5 years from now if nothing changes?
- Where do you “really want” to see yourself in 5 years?
- How is question 3 different from question 2?
- What are you passionate about in life, your career, interests?
- What are you not willing to do, sacrifice or give of yourself to make this change happen?
- What are you completely willing to do, sacrifice or give of yourself to make this change happen?
The fact is, these questions have to be followed up with not just your own answers, but with action. The action part will be to plan simple steps like a ladder to get you from where you are now (point A) to where you want to see yourself in 5 years (point B). Then follow the steps in that plan and make it happen.
These steps will be broken down into baby steps because the plan has to be real, it has to be feasible. We’ll cover that more later, but for now you have a starting point – a point to refer to.
Bear with me for a moment as I offer a word of caution. At this point, it’s probably best to keep your list to yourself. You probably know someone who may have great intentions that you’d like to share your list with but that could backfire. As I was renewing my own list a while back, I was told by someone I was discussing it with that I should be more realistic and in touch with reality. Until you are ready to begin planning the steps that will allow you to realize your goals, you don’t need negative feedback to spoil your own list.
Live It Like You Own It
Think about how your list of answers is different from the analogy of a rat racing through a maze. Would you have a different sense of freedom in your life, a sense of happiness, a sense of peace? Would you feel more control over your life if you could live your own answer to question number 3?
Over the next few days, take a few moments each day to look at these questions and your list again. Make changes or edit it. Let your list grow. Allow yourself to imagine exactly what you want from your life in the years to come as if you are in complete control and actually own your life.