Between a recent meeting I had with a wise and generous colleague and a Robin Sharma video I just re-watched, I was inspired to create a four-part list of key things we need to identify, understand and integrate into our lives.
Please take some time to read, and think, about these four things as they could help to transform your life (if you’re willing . . . ).
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1) FEARS — (Name and) Understand
We all have fears, they are what keep us safe, and paradoxically (in our modern world) small and unfulfilled.
By small and vulnerable I mean that we have a neuro-biology optimized for safety and preservation – we’re built to a) avoid the saber-tooth tigers; b) gorge when there’s good food available and c) stay close to whoever we can.
Without going into the particulars of a, b and c above, suffice it to say that life is not as tenuous as it was for our ancestors. We live in an amazing world of opportunity and abundance, yet we – largely – allow our lives be constrained by minor fears and insecurities.
Let me put it simply: whatever you truly, deeply want (that you’re not moving towards) lies just beyond an irrational fear.
When you – coolly, calmly and curiously – name your fears, or, usually, more effectively, when you name what you want and suppose there’s a fear that stopping you from going for it, you can actually start working on creating exactly what you want.
Because there’s either 1) Irrational Fears; 2) Obstacles or 3) Things You Didn’t Really Want.
2) FANTASY — (Name and) Transform
Something I’ve come to learn is that fantasies are almost as bad as fears. (I would have said as bad, but I don’t want to do anything to diminish the place of fear as the #1 thing that keeps us from living amazing lives.)
Fantasies, in the narrow case of “entertainment” are all well and good. It can be fun to be transported to a different place or time via a book, movie, TV show or video game.
But that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about the difference between dreams and fantasies. If you’ll allow the distinction, dreams are things we want, that resonate with us and are actually achievable (by us). Fantasies on the hand are things we think we want, or things that we think getting will make things magically “okay.”
The key difference between dreams and fantasies is dreams are intrinsic (i.e. of our own making) and fantasies are extrinsic (meaning they, somehow or another, come from without).
Why this is so important is that we won’t work hard, over time, for things that aren’t ours.
Fantasies are something that someone else wants, or designs, or portrays, and while very seductive, they are something we’ll never create ourselves – they only serve to waste our times, keeping us stuck and wishing.
3) FACTS — (Name and) Incorporate
Just as we need to name and face our fears, we need to understand the facts of our (current) situation.
BUT, we need to do so carefully and with one key thing in mind: stories are not facts.
Another way to think about “facts” is to ask ourselves “What’s the reality of my situation, right now?”
And to ask ourselves, “Given what I deeply truly want, and the Facts of my current situation, how do I best proceed?
If you want to see a sunrise, don’t walk into a cave. (Much better to either start walking East, or better yet, get to bed early so you can see the sun rise where you are.)
Another way to understand this is: if you want to run a marathon, and walking up three flights of stairs takes your breath away, you need to start small and work up to running a marathon.
The key here is 1) be clear-headed about where you are now and 2) be willing to see the steps you must take as a worth-while challenge (in service of an authentic goal).
4) FREEDOM — (Name and) Embrace
The key to realizing the promise of today’s amazing and abundant world is to not just think that we have tremendous freedom and opportunity, but to embrace it
This is a question of mindset.
Every day we get up and live out our lives according to our mindset. Our mindset includes our values and beliefs and habits and routines.
If we truly value ourselves and believe we have tremendous freedom and opportunity (and abundance), we will act one way — and have certain experience and create one set of results.
If, however, we believe that life is hard, and the odds are against us and world is a scarce, cut-throat place we will have a certain experience and create a very different set of results.
Take a minute, in a quiet, safe space; close your eyes and breathe slowly and deeply for 15 or so seconds and and ask yourself which experience you would prefer, and which set of results would you be proud of and value?
* * *
The above is a lot to take in, but each “F” offers a number to the combination of a great life.
I like to think that our lives are “perfect.” And I wouldn’t want my life to be any different than it is.
How, and why?
Because my life is the way it is – almost exclusively – because of the choices I made and what I did and didn’t do along the way.
Thus, whatever I want — to preserve and to change/create – is up to me. I need only make different choices and do the work of creating the life I want – and Life will give me all the feed-back I am willing to notice along the way.