We are creatures of habit.
We go through our day carrying out routine tasks, thinking routine thoughts, asking routine questions, and offering up routine answers.
We’re thinking on a level that doesn’t take up too much mental energy – we have enough ‘stuff’ to do and think about, right?
Now I’m going to shake things up a bit for you and ask three questions. But before I do, I want to add a little extra to the challenge – I’m going to ask you not to think about them – yet! Just read them over a few times in your head (or out loud if you prefer):
- What would you do all day – for free?
- What will your life look like in the next five years, ten years, twenty years?
- What impact do you want to leave on the world?
How long did it take before you started thinking about them or perhaps you just answered right away “I don’t know!”
It’s OK not to have an answer – guess what – most people don’t. Clearly these aren’t your typical everyday questions – but they’re pretty damn important questions, don’t you think?
So what does this all have to do with the topic of ‘Awareness”?
If we don’t know what we love to do, if we don’t have a vision of our future self, and if we don’t know what we want to leave behind, then what do we spend our days thinking about, wondering about, and asking about?
Awareness means having consciousness – having knowledge. Don’t confuse this with Alertness. Alertness is more like being awake and thinking really, really hard! Alertness is pretty easy to do – Awareness, not so much.
When are you most likely to be in a state of awareness?
When you are present – when your mind is in the moment, the here and now – you’re not thinking about the past or the future.
Some people do this through meditation, but I know people who have told me their best ideas, insights, new knowledge (all moments of awareness) have come to them in the shower, in the tub, out on a run, or hiking up a mountain – in other words when they are focused on one thing or nothing at all. What do you do?
Back to my earlier list of questions:
- The act of asking these questions creates curiosity
- The act of answering them creates AWARENESS.
You don’t have to spend your days ‘creating awareness’ – that’s not the point. We all have busy lives – we’re all figuring stuff out and just surviving to get through the day. But it doesn’t have to be like this – not every day!
- You could discover what you love to do – and even get paid for it.
- You had a clear vision of your future self – who you will become.
- You knew what impact you wanted to make on the world – your legacy.
I invite you to follow the steps below over the next 30 days (or so):
- Write down and display the three questions listed earlier – somewhere visible.
- Read them out loud daily.
- Start doing something that brings your focus into the present – do you shower?
- When the first sign of an answer appears, write it down – post-shower!
- When more answers appear, keep writing them down.
- Keep asking them and keep writing them down.
- When you have a list of answers, create a plan of action – your rough first draft.
- Start acting on the plan – nothing grand – small steps to living your answers.
- Keep editing the plan – start adding more details – and more dates!
- Write your own list of ‘awareness-creating’ questions.
Rinse + Repeat!
I’ll end on a quote because this clever chap sums it up so well:
“The ultimate value of life depends upon awareness and the power of contemplation rather than upon mere survival.” Aristotle
In other words, don’t over think it!