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“View life as a series of movie frames, the ending and meaning may not be apparent until the very end of the movie, and yet, each of the hundreds of individual frames has meaning within the context of the whole movie. View your life from your funeral, looking back at your life experiences, what have you accomplished? What would you have wanted to accomplish but didn’t? What were the happy moments? What were the sad? What would you do again, and what you wouldn’t?” -Victor Frankl
You’re barreling down the highway in your car racing to get to the beach. It’s early, and a bright sunny day; the ocean water is at a temperature of sixty-nine degrees. Ahhhhh...perfect day to relax and get away from the desk. Your imagination is running wild: you sitting in a beach chair, under an umbrella, and sipping on an ice cold cocktail with the ocean waves crashing upon your feet. That’s the life, isn’t it?
However, you haven’t seen a beach sign for sometime now. In fact, when was the last time you saw any sign? That thought snaps you out of your day dream haze, and you finally see a road sign ahead: US 1N.
Route one north? No. That can’t be right. The beach is south. How long have I’ve been going in the wrong direction? Oh my God!
You freak out. And beat the steering wheel relentlessly: “No, no, no, no. This can’t be happening. It can’t be.”
Then, you see an emergency vehicle only connector that brings you to the opposite direction, going south. It’s an illegal turn, but your day of relaxation only has so many hours.
Should I do it? I don’t know, what if I get caught? Oh...screw it!
You cut the wheel left, make the illegal turn, and get yourself going south towards the beach. You feel a sigh of relief. You’re now going in the right direction and there were no cops. Wooohoo! And to top it off, the sign you just past said, “Beach 30mi.”
Alright! Now that’s what I want to see. I’ll be at the beach before 10 AM.
At some point in our lives, we have all experienced going in the wrong direction when driving to our destination. And as soon as we realize I’m going the wrong way, we immediately do a 180 to get back on the right track - regardless of the consequences.
However, why then, when it comes to your success and well-being in life, such as with your job, do you put up with being unhappy and dissatisfied? Why don’t you do a “180” in your life and try something different? Go in a different direction?
Maybe you don’t know why - you’ve never considered your own happiness and well-being. Or, maybe you feel stuck and trapped by fear because how will I pay the bills, put a roof over my head, and meet my needs if I quit my job?
So, you go on day in and day out denying what you truly want, and considering alternatives. You put up with being unhappy, and hope one day, that by some act of grace, your situation will change, and you’ll be happy.
If that’s what you are waiting for, an act of grace, you’ll be waiting for many, many lifetimes. I recommend you take a more practical approach; an approach that has the power to change your life and get you out of an unsatisfying job.
Accept the Truth to Set You Free
Most people become dissatisfied with a particular area of life, such as his job, and put down the blinders. He will do anything in his power to stuff it out of his awareness and get through the day. But doing so only perpetuates his unhappiness. In other words, his unhappiness threshold grows bigger.
Not a pleasant life to live, wouldn’t you say?
The way to get on the right track, just as you do when you find out you’re driving in the wrong direction, is to fully accept the truth to your situation. Then, with the truth-be-known, you will be able to predict where you are heading if you stay on your current path. And when you can see where you are going in life, you have the power to change that direction.
Finding the Truth
There are two elements to Truth: perception and prediction. Each element has important qualities that brings awareness to your current situation. With awareness over how you do your life, you have the ablity to create what you want.
The perception part to truth unveils how you do that problematic area of life - how you feel, the thoughts that lead to those feelings, and how you behave.
For example, if you cannot stand being at your job anymore, you must figure out how you consistently feel at your job (which shouldn’t be too hard). Let’s say that your job sucks the life out of you, you’re depressed when working, you don’t want to be there, and you have an aversion towards the customers and co-workers. Well, that’s how you feel. And clearly state those feelings, “My job sucks the life out of me, I’m depressed when working, I don’t want to be there, I hate my customers and co-workers, etc.”
Now, what we tend to do is push those feelings away. However, that only keeps you stuck. Next time you go into work, know and expect yourself to have depression, have an aversion, and be those negative qualities that your job brings out of you.
Then watch yourself, with awareness, to how you do those feelings. Do not try to change anything about your job or your feelings. Allow yourself to be and feel whatever happens in the moment, but watch the thoughts and internal pictures that trigger your unhappiness; just watch it happen.
When you can clearly see that it’s not your job or any life situation that causes your unhappiness, but rather the thoughts and internal pictures you identify with that cause your feelings, you are free to choose how you want to feel in any moment.
The last part of the equation for fully embodying truth is prediction. I believe Victor Frankl has a great method for predicting your life and viewing where you are going. He suggests to view your life from your funeral, and look back at your life experiences.
So go ahead and get in that frame of mind right now. Close your eyes, and imagine that you are on your death bed. All of your loved ones are gathered around to see you off from this life and into the next one. Are you there? Do you have the visual in your head? Now answer these questions:
1. What have you accomplished?
2. What would you have wanted to accomplish, but didn’t?
3. What were the happy moments?
4. What were the sad moments?
5. What would you do again, and what you wouldn’t do again?
Take your time with these question. Pour your heart and soul into answering them.
Having perception and prediction combined, you’ll have an objective view of how you are doing your life (the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that lead to your unhappiness) and you will know the exact path you are currently on. You now have tremendous choice over how you want to create your life. You can see what you don’t want, therefore, you can begin creating relationships with what you do want in life.
The question now becomes: What is it that you really want in life?
This article is generously contributed by Nick Pfennigwerth from Big Heart Small Business, helping small business owners connect with their heart and larger vision so that they can make a difference and a healthy profit. At Big Heart Small Business, Nick applies his buddhist, spiritual, zen teachings into growing an authentic, heart centered business without the hype and strong arm tactics.
P.S. Enjoy your free PDF first chapter of Time For My Life. Thanks for visiting!
© Thea Westra publishes a wealth of material for increased life power, self improvement, inspiration and personal success. Adding wings to our unique journey of life. See her many personal development resources at www.forwardstepsblog.com
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