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, thoughts & 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? Not necessarily.

What we want (urges) are not the same as our goals and where we ultimately want to end up (things we should 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 provide you with a happy life. Certainly a happier life 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 selves that they would never again, ever . . .

That’s just not a good 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 want to focus on, what we should do, and whom we might commit to. We need a mental picture, and we need a strategy. One created to achieve the vision or image that we have in mind that encompasses our relationships, and that suggests underlying beliefs, values, and motives. Our inner image plus our strategy or plan to make it happen reflects our identity.

Conviction, Determination, & Commitment

Conviction Although it’s not always the case, I regularly meet passionate people, putting out all sorts of effort, but without a real strategy. They’re spinning their wheels without traction. They’re frustrated because they’re not getting to where they want to end up. I inquire into their personal vision but also want to know about their method for creating that vision, their strategy.

It is a fact that we all do strategize, even if at a subconscious level. A strategy is simply what we think about and our thoughts are potent. They eventually evolve and bear fruit. So, making your strategy conscious is what I would like you to warm up to here. Insist that your strategy is built to create the vision you’re after.

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. Careful reflection is the tool that will empower the transition from our basest desires to our most admirable values, traits, and goals.

Ask yourself, “can any of us really make a determined commitment to maintaining a healthy relationship with someone who maintains a narcissistic personality?” “Can two narcissists maintain a happy relationship together?” It would be like living the “survival of the fittest” life. No caring, love, or support, only competition. So perhaps it’s doable, just not desirable.

I bring these concepts to your attention for a chance at greater happiness. Because, I strongly believe that we should seriously consider them, at least for as long as it took me to write and edit this post. Am I right? Our poorly considered visions and inconsistent 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 quick questions.

  1. “What is one of the most  important things in life, to me and why?”
  2. “Why is this significant & what emotional state does this create?”
  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 time and attention to your answers to these questions, and to your personal strategy.

I suggest that we slow down in the lane of life. Actively gain control over and deliberately institute positive goals, for ourselves. Align our beliefs, expectations, and actions on a regular basis.

Don’t merely live a life of unconsidered habits. Evolve the way you’re directing your life.  Switch from a life that’s being directed by short-term urges to a more well thought out plan. Do not live on automatic. Think. How happy are you right now? Now take some action.

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. But they’re worth it in the long run. They require a certain amount of self-discipline. If happiness and success were easy, well, they’re not.

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 momentous events. The number of children we’ll have. Concerns about family and friends, such as whether or not to put in the effort to find a deeper level of commitment with our spouse. Leadership succession plans, if you own a business.

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, one that is in alignment with our highest values, can assist us in experiencing 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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