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Have you ever really thought about what your life purpose is? We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of working, running errands, taking care of our children, eating on the run, cleaning, cooking dinner, doing laundry, text messaging, checking email, Tweeting, Facebook posting and the list of social media goes on and on.
We loose sight of where our life is taking us when in fact we would be healthier and happier if we just stopped and grabbed the reins of life. I think of this as having a problem with the connection between our essential self and our social self and living our lives on auto pilot, sort of like having a bad connection on the telephone line while flying a plane on auto pilot and you suddenly find the navigation system is not working.
Martha Beck bases all of her counseling on the premise that each of us has these two sides: the essential self and the social self. The essential self has several compasses that continuously point toward your North Star, your true purpose. The social self wants passionately to become a doctor; the social self struggles to do what is expected, or believed to be best. If your feelings about life in general are fraught with disconnect, anxiety, frustration, anger, boredom, numbness, or despair, your social self and your essential self are not in sync.
Here is your two selves: Basis of Operations
Behaviors of the Social Self Are:
Re-connection and getting back in sync.
A Better Connection
Mindfulness-Based Practices have a way of fixing the bad connection on the "line" in our head. One of my favorite methods is called STOP:
Mindfulness is a process of actually taming the brain and paying attention to life in a certain way. Jon Kabit-Zinn provided this definition, and he defined mindfulness as "the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, with an element of openness to the unfolding of experiences moment-by-moment."
Getting Back into Sync
You can get back into sync by living your life with more engagement, pleasure and meaning.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's theory is by obtaining FLOW we can find a life of more engagement by finding the optimal state of challenge and skill at the same time, in our work and personal life. Flow is the psychology of optimal experience. It's a mental state of operation in which a person is fully emerged in what he or she is doing. A feeling of energy and focus for involvement and a sense of success of the activity.
Perhaps your skills, strengths and talents are being under utilized. Where are you in the state of challenge in your job or career. Are your skills and strengths currently being used or are they developed enough to take on new challenges. When you take on new tasks and use your strengths you can become completely focused with motivation and when you are in that state of motivation you have a sense of spontaneous joy while performing that task.
What steps could you take toward developing your skills? How do you define what you do? Is it a job, career or is it a calling and your life's purpose? What motivates you? Is it the paycheck, advancement, or is it your passion and privilege? What is your expectation and what do you look forward to? These are questions you could ask yourself to discover which road you're traveling.
By focusing on our strengths, clarifying our values and questioning our beliefs we can open the doors to infinitive possibilities.
By increasing our positive emotions to a ratio of 3:1, meaning 3 positive emotions to one negative emotion and up to the ratio of 11:1 we can live our life with more pleasure and we're able to thrive in life and personal growth and by doing this it increases our happiness, health and well-being.
What can you do to bring more meaning in your life? Are you living your life's purpose? Are you living the service model as a Servant Leader and giving back to others and your community? Are you cultivating kindness? Are you creating meaningful and positive relationships?
Metaphorically speaking, someone who takes 'the road less traveled' is acting independently, freeing themselves from the conformity of others (who choose to take 'the road more often traveled'), generally making their own choices, and perhaps leaving a new trail that will become the road more often traveled.
So the next time you catch yourself on autopilot and you're feeling absolutely drained, STOP and take the road less traveled to see where it takes you. You could find your destination to be "The Good Life" a life of pleasure, engagement and meaning.
The phrase itself is a famous few lines extracted from "The Road Not Taken" by poet Robert Frost.
Copyright (c) 2014
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