What’s Directing Your Life?

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 merely allowing it to unfold on its own. One way allows our short-term urges to direct us. The other our well thought out plans. Either way, we all have a strategy.

What we get in life & how we feel emotionally, reflects our activities, 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?

What we want (urges) are not the same as our goals (things 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. The results will be a happier life. Happier than if you take winters off to party and work as a home painter during the summer months.

Stop and Reflect

Personal-ReflectionIf we don’t stop to reflect and to plan out what we have to do to achieve our long-term goals, we’re more likely to end up pushing them further away, substituting them with short-term immediate gratification. When we say “yes” to one thing, we are also saying “no” to something else. 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 when they were so mad, that they swore to their self that they would never again, 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. Our strategy 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, an angry declaration 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 underlying beliefs, values, and motive. This image reflects our identity.

Conviction, Determination, & Commitment

Conviction It is a fact that we all do strategize, even if at a subconscious level. A strategy is simply what we think about and it is potent, eventually evolving into fruition. So, making your strategy conscious is what I would like you to warm up to 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?” It’s like living the “survival of the fittest” life. No caring, love, or support. So perhaps it’s doable, just not desirable.

I bring these concepts to your attention, because, we should really and seriously consider them, at least for as long as it took me to write and edit this post, shouldn’t we? Our strategies are 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.

  1. “What is important to me and why?”
  2. “What does the “Good Life” mean to me & what would I hate to live without?”
  3. Finally, “What do I find valuable and meaningful about my answers?”

Consistency will build trust in a relationship, but not like commitment will. How important are your relationships to you anyway? Give your answers to these questions, and to your personal strategy, 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. Do not live on automatic. Think. How happy are you right now?

Self-Discipline is Strategy

DisciplineI don’t know about you? But from time to time, I get urges. They’re not all healthy for me 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 require a certain amount of self-discipline.

Urges impact, not just our physical and emotional health, but the quality of our business retirement plans, whether or not we’ll have adequate funds for the momentous event, the number of children we have, concerns about family and friends (whether or not to find a deeper level of commitment with 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.

Calgary Psychologists primary website


As an Executive coach and licensed Psychologist, I assist professionals, individual entrepreneurs, and corporate clients with interests and challenges related to personal and professional leadership. Posts reflect client concerns and actions. You don't need to be an executive to secure coaching for yourself, but you should have a degree of ambition. Strategizing on how your career or life might improve and move forward takes time for reflection, either on your own or through dialogue. Opportunity is required to reflect well upon new and detailed information regarding your strengths and weaknesses. Sound consideration leads to a strategy that produces informed action, which precedes success. Wear your strengths like a badge of honor, and be cautious of areas you may tend to error in.

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