Last week I read an article on positively present that contained this statement by Dani:
“The past may be gone and the future might be uncertain, but we have the power to choose our now. We can edit out what we don’t need in our lives and we can start doing that right now.”
That has been a theme lately on this blog. For a great way to learn what to edit out, you want to look into are you free now?
One of the problems with editing your life and cutting things out, is that it is so easy to rationalize and justify all your current actions. They must be necessary right? We couldn’t possibly stop doing something because the world would then come to an end. Somebody is going to shriek in fear at your selfishness; the selfishness you show by refusing to cater to their selfishness any longer.
We are creatures of habit and you have a giant rolling stone of momentum to overcome if you are to stop doing something you have been doing. I fight it all the time.
A Zero-based Life
In order to break free of this prison of habit, try starting from scratch. If you want to know what you really want and what is really important to you then don’t start from where you are, start from zero.
Imagine you are no longer in your current life. It is totally gone. Imagine your dream life, your ideal life. Do not automatically include anything from your current life in your new dream life. If you could do anything you wanted to do what would it be? What kind of relationships would you have? Where would you live? What would you do for fun? What would you do for a living? What would you do to give back? What would you do for growth? What would you do?
Don’t let any current restrictions restrain you. Don’t assume current limiting factors like your income. This is an exercise in what you want, not what you have. Take your time. Play with this a while until it really gels for you. It’s best if you write it down. You can’t keep it all in your head without it getting lost and mixed up with your current routine.
When you are doing all this be totally honest. Don’t put something in your dream life that you think should be there. Only put in what you want to be there. Don’t get caught up in what society, your parents, your friends, your family, or anyone else thinks you should do. They are not you. You are not them.
As I write this, the TV is on (darn family) and the All American Rejects are singing “Gives You Hell” on the Today show. The beginning of that song fits right into this theme:
I wake up every evening with a big smile on my face
And it never feels out of place
And you’re probably still working a 9 to 5 pace
I wonder how bad that tastes
Your Current Life
You should know how you spend your time now and what you are doing with your life. Once again a good technique is to use the methods described in Where Are You Now? Whatever technique you use, list out how you spend your time (your life) now. You should end up with a written description of your current life.
Now whatever exists in your current life that doesn’t exist in your dream life you can cross off your current life list. I know that sounds simplistic and drastic but do it anyway. That tells you what you should edit out. Just because you don’t know exactly what or how you are going to do something else, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start the process. Bold action is required. The first step is crossing out what you know know you no longer want. You may end up with a list that has everything crossed off. That’s ok. It just means you have a fantastic upside in your life potential.
Next simply start editing out (stop doing) what is no longer on your list. I’m not suggesting you edit everything out today as that is probably not possible. I haven’t done that either. If you have a family depending upon you (spouse and children, not leeching friends or relatives), don’t walk out of your job today and hope something you love will pay the bills. You have to do this in a smart way for things like that.
But I guarantee you that you are doing things that you can cut out immediately, a lot of things. Whatever you cut out can be replaced by something else; something better. If you don’t take bold action, you will just keep your current routine and nothing is ever going to change. You will always find and justification for what you are doing as somehow necessary. If it wasn’t in your dream life, it is not only not necessary to your life, it is keeping you from living your true life.
“The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized – and never knowing.” — David Viscott
It is time to make a choice. Are you going to read this stuff and say “Yeah that’s great. I agree and I’m going to do something about it.” and then do nothing? Is that what normally happens with you? I know it’s easy do do that, but then why are you bothering to read and think about this? For entertainment? It’s time for action.
Will some of the changes be difficult? Yes. Will some people get angry at you or be disappointed? Yes. Will there be a price to pay for some of them? Yes. If you don’t make those changes will you lay on your deathbed and wish you had? Yes. Too late.
Are some of the changes going to be easy? Yes. You can just stop wasting time trying to satisfy and make others happy. It’s futile. People who truly care about you, are happy when you are happy. You make others happy when you both are doing something for your mutual benefit. Do what makes you happy. Those things are easy, at least for me.
I’m going to end with the same quote I ended my last article with. To me it says it all.
“For all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “It might have been!” – John Greenleaf Whittier
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