We all want to be more productive, live a good life, be happy and feel fulfilled. “Self-actualization,” as Maslow would put it.
Some days we feel that we have it all. Things are going great, you’re flying high and enjoying all the wonderful things that is happening in your life at the moment.
Then suddenly, the tide changes and you’re back down again. Down that dark, familiar place again that you don’t want to be. And there you stay, waiting for the tide to change.
It feel’s like this is an ever moving target – in this moment it’s X that’ll send your dopamine soaring, and the next moment, it has to be Y or nothing else will suffice.
Ever felt this way before? Anyone?
That was me. I did my homework and sought out resources from various thought leaders. They must be doing something that I’m not. I thought, “What can I learn from them? Human evolution must have figured this out by now.”
I scoured through so many books, podcasts, interviews – all to learn how to change my life. And the advice was as beautiful and varied as the coral reef. I soaked it all in and savored their wisdom and truth. I drew inspiration from the East and the West, from newbies to sage teachers, from mainstream to fringe thought leaders.
The single best thing I learned that changed my life – I had learned this before but it hit me like a ton of bricks at the time I needed it the most – was realizing that I control my thoughts, not the other way around.
Your thoughts are constantly churning, it’s that inner voice inside your head that narrates everything around you – what you see, what you experience. It’s that voice that will keep you up at night saying things like “I shouldn’t have said that to Tim, he probably thinks that I don’t know how to lead the project” or “I was supposed to go to the gym today but I didn’t, argh I’m never going to lose this weight. I hate my body.”
I’m sure you have them right now. If you observe, you’ll hear the constant chatter. You can even try it and shout something in your head like “HELLO, ANYONE THERE!” Can you hear it? Yup, that’s what Michael Singer talks about in his amazing book The Untethered Soul.
“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it. If you don’t understand this, you will try to figure out which of the many things the voices says is really you. People go through so many changes in the name of “trying to find myself.” They want to discover which of these voices, which of these aspects of their personality, is who they really are. The answer is simple: none of them,” Singer says.
A big realization was that I am not that voice inside my head. That voice can be downright mean to you at times. Can you imagine having a friend like that, telling you that you’re not good enough, or second guessing everything that you say or do? That’s no way to live.
Instead – you are the observer. You are in control of your thoughts and your reaction to life. You chose how you want to react to what happens to you.
These thoughts are a tricky thing though. They come and go, it can be a rollercoaster. Some days, you’re crushing the “observer” game. That negativity doesn’t stand a chance getting past your protective veneer. And other days, well, let’s just say things are not so rosy.
The most important thing is that you’re aware. You are awake. That is already so powerful.
Good luck, and remember…
~ Persist and Grow Forth ~
I’d love to hear how you’ve changed your life or are in the process of doing so (aren’t we all?). Share your wisdom with us all, we can all learn from each other as we go forth in this journey called life.