Are you in denial?
Grab your notebook and a writing-tool. If you don’t own any, do yourself a favour and buy a moleskin and a pen that glides smoothly across the pages, then return and continue reading.
We’re wired for physical connection: the contact of pen and paper, the sensation of skin on an organic surface – these have a strong effect on our psyche and emotional life. Unfortunately, the world of virtual technology is systematically diluting these experiences with “clean”, synthetic and sterile surfaces. In this digitally disconnected age, pen and paper can still give us sense of being grounded in the actual world.
So, with that in mind, and your brand new moleskin and fountain-pen, do the following exercise:
Step 1: Draw yourself as a little stick-man.
Step 2: Next to your stick-man-self, draw a staircase with 5 stairs.
Step 3: Jot down (or illustrate, if you like), your priorities in life, from top to bottom on the stairs. Don’t think about this for too long – just write them as they come to mind.
Step 4: All done? On your other side, make a list with numbers 1 to 5.
Step 5: Go to your diary / calendar, and take a look at your past week: fill the list from top to bottom, organizing the activities from the one you spent the most amount of time on, to the activity you spent the least amount of time on.
Now, compare your stairs to your list. How did we do? Are the priorities on your stairs reflected in how your time was spent?
The power of denial:
The quote from the well-known Sci-Fi series, Battlestar Galactica, still rings true:
‘You [humans] have an amazing capacity for self-deception.’
When we only think about our lives in terms of abstract ideals, our view of ourselves tends to be inaccurate. Take a look at the activities you spend the most time, energy & money on (the list) and compare these to your ideals (on the staircase). Do you see the mismatches? Do you know why it is there? Has this happened this week only, or has it become a lifestyle?
It’s not your fault
If you haven’t spent time on what you deem important, this doesn’t mean it’s not important to you. It does, however, mean that life got in the way. It does mean that you had to make choices, and re-prioritised to deal with life. However, if you allow the motions of life to keep getting in the way, you’ll end up trapped in trivialities. In the end, your most treasured passions fade from disuse.
Take one spoon-full of reality
So, how do we avoid this downward spiral? One of the habits we find most helpful to help curb life’s curve-balls is a commitment to honest reflection: By spending a few minutes at the end of each week, honestly assess how you spent the previous 7 days. This way, you’ll get a realistic image of where your life is at.
If you have some reference of what is important / valuable to you, you can compare this with your reflection, and find ways to organize your life differently, to get closer to your ideals.
Be brave! This simple activity of reflection can be quite overwhelming, especially when doing it for the first time. But, take heart – it’s the small shifts you make in your schedule that will eventually tip the scales.
What do you find most difficult with the habit of reflection? Which decisions have helped you match your reality with your values?
Do you need help with this process? Book in for a FREE discovery call and learn more about how I can help.