Your short-term urges? Or your well thought out plans?
We all need a plan or strategy for getting ahead in the world, for ensuring our own happiness. In fact, we all have an approach, whether we go to the trouble of making it conscious or whether we merely allow it to unfold all on its own. Either way, we all have a strategy.
What we get in life or how we feel day in and day out, reflects our activities, our daily habits, how we spend our time. Our activities will get us what we want, won’t they? Getting what we want is the same as getting where we want to go, isn’t it? Our desires point us in the right direction, so we’ll end up happy and have achieved. Right?
Well, we all know, or should know, that what we want, our urges, are not the same thing as our goals, things that we put careful thought to. Many of us learned about delayed gratification in our families, or in grade school, college or university. Study and achieve your degree and that results in a happier life than does, say, taking winters off to party and working as a home painter during the summer months.
If we don’t stop to reflect and to plan out what we have to do to achieve our more long-term goals, we’re more likely to end up pushing them further away, substituting them with short-term immediate gratification. Immediate gratification can become addictive, but it can only get in the way and block us from the ultimate goals of life we deeply yearn for. By living life spontaneously, just responding to the day-to-day pressures of life, we don’t stop to plan, days come and go, and we wonder why life is the way it is.
Resentments develop aimed at those we see who seem to have what we want. But there was a strategy that was carefully considered for them, somewhere along the line. Make no mistake, when I say carefully considered, I am not referring to a moment in time that you were so mad, that you swore to yourself that you would never, ever . . .
That’s just not a strategy. It’s not even a poor strategy. What it is, is just a highly emotionally bound declaration, that lacks the very “stuff” which defines a strategy. It requires a calm, cool mind that can reflect, deliberate and tap into critical, innovative thoughts and ideas that foster a future that the most ardent critics would applaud. In a nutshell, it defines only what not to do. We need to have a clear picture of what we should focus on, what we should do, and whom we could commit to. We need a vision or image in mind that encompasses our relationships, and that suggests an underlying motive, value, or belief. Why not all three?
It is a fact that we all strategize, even if at a subconscious level. A strategy is potent and eventually evolves into fruition. So, making your strategy conscious is what I’m selling here.
Without an effort to bring consciousness to it, our strategy gives birth to nothing more than our basest desires – greed, power, lust and – especially today – narcissism. In fact, I’m not certain there is much of a difference between these. Ask yourself, “can any of us really make a determined commitment to maintaining such characteristics and desires?” “Can two narcissists maintain a happy relationship together?”
I bring these concepts to your attention, because, we should really and seriously consider this, at least for as long as it took me to write it, shouldn’t we? It’s affecting the quality of our lives. I recommend that we create regular opportunities to discuss and reflect. Ask and answer for yourself three little questions. “What is important to me?” “What does the “Good Life” mean to me?” Finally, “What do I find valuable and meaningful about my answers?”
Consistency will also build trust. Maybe even give our personal strategies a modicum of respect. If we’re not slowing down, actively gaining control over or deliberately instituting positive goals, beliefs and expectations into our psyche on a regular basis, then maybe, we’re just really living a life of unconsidered habits, evolving in a way that’s being directed by our short-term urges, and not our well thought out plans.
I don’t know about you? But from time to time, I get urges. They’re not all healthy or good for my relationships. If I allowed my life to be guided by these urges, I’d be alone, obese and suffer from numerous chronic physical illnesses. Long-term well thought out strategy often leads to difficult daily decisions. They represent a discipline.
Urges impact, not just our physical and emotional health, but the quality of our business retirement plans, having adequate funds for the momentous event, the number of children to have, concerns about family and friends (whether or not to find a deeper level of commitment to our spouse), leadership succession plans, if you own a business, etc. The difference is noticeable, urges can lead us to poor decisions, toward obesity, high cholesterol and quite possibly, a life of unhappy struggles. A clear strategy can assist us to experience our dreams.
So is there any good reason why we don’t devote some regularly scheduled time and effort to increase our level of conscious awareness of our individual strategies?
Let’s get things going in our favor. Make things happen. Change the direction of life so that it’s unfolding in our direction. Experience more joy and better connections. Explore, feel proud of our lives, and of what we’re creating and what we’re contributing. Because after all, we cannot, not contribute.
Just a thought, I hoped you’d appreciate being reminded about.