Habit of Reflection
One of the best habits you can get into is the habit of reflecting periodically on your life. So many go through their lives without ever pausing to ask themselves what is going on. A basic question such as "why am I doing this" is extremely helpful when evaluating one's progress through life. Unfortunately, since so few take this step, it is no surprise that many end up at the end of their lives full of regret.
I am the first to admit that daily occurrences can build up. We all have situations in our lives which demand immediate attention. Even without entering into the emergency state, the fact is life is a continual pattern of bill paying and Monday mornings. It is easy to allow one's life to just "slip away" without a concentrated effort to figure out why things are occurring.
Many attempt to make a change come the first of the year. Since we just past the beginning of the new year, I know there were many who had grand ideas entering 2013. Nevertheless, with almost a week gone by, many are already falling short in the action department. While one knew a few changes needed to be made, most are unaware of why they are trying to change things. In short, they believe the superficial when the reality of life is much deeper.
I will suggest that throughout this year, you spend regular time in reflection. Ask yourself why you are pursuing something? For example, why are you going to work each morning? I understand that this is how you earn an income which allows you to support yourself (and family). However, what is the end result going to be? Where are you going to be in 5 or 10 years? Is this a path that you want to follow for that period of time or is this a temporary stop? If so, for how long? Keep asking yourself questions along this line so that you can monitor your progress.
Determining What Is Important
One of the grandest benefits of reflection is to determine what is important in your life. Believe it or not, most have no clue what is important to them. This is evidenced by the fact that so many chase what amounts to be superficial things. Sure, having nice stuff is a thrill and certainly nothing to be frowned upon. However, it is crucial that things are kept in perspective. There is an old saying that nobody ever saw a UHaul behind a hertz. This is true. We come into this world with nothing and that is how we leave. So, I ask you, what is really important in life? This is something that you must figure out.
The bigger picture will assist you in determining this. Often, people enter the reflection stage when someone close to them dies. This is natural and a healthy activity to engage upon. However, how often does this reflection result in anything changing? I would say very rarely. Instead, people tend to reflect and then simply follow the same path they were on before. Of course, this is terrific if one is fulfilled and happy taking that route. Yet, since we know most are not, this is a sad outcome.
A fantastic exercise is to look back upon one's life as if it was already ended. Some call this the "deathbed exercise". The point is to place yourself, mentally, in a position where you are viewing your life as if it is almost over. When looking at things through this lens, we are able to see where we invested time in things which ultimately are unimportant. As they say, few reach this point and say "I wish I spent more time at the office".
Therefore, it is vital for you to uncover what is important in your life. We are allocated only a certain amount of time on this planet. As anyone who is aged will tell you, it all passes by too quickly. While we want to think that we have lots of time left, the truth is we never know. And, even if there are decades before we transition out of this existence, we all know how time seems to speed up the older we get. Focusing upon the inconsequential will lead to regret later on in life. It is imperative that you force yourself to step back and sees things from a wider perspective.
Another benefit is that by taking this approach, we can use it to overcome the short-term snags that life will throw our way. No matter what the pursuit, it is not without difficulty. It is at these moments that we need to dig deep within ourselves and most past the obstacle in front of us. This is assisted greatly if we have reason to propel us. Seeing the eventual payoff before it happens helps to rise one above the present circumstances and see things from a different perspective. Oftentimes, this is the genius behind men like Steve Jobs; the ability to see the bigger picture while others are focusing upon the inconsequential.
Add this "genius" to your life by taking the time to see the bigger picture. You will find it invaluable.
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