Sound. Woman playing guitar.

Sound

Each of us has a soundtrack to our lives.

We have the sounds we hear during our normal routine and during special events, including those sounds we seek out.

For some, this soundscape is intentional; they craft their lives based in part on what they like (or don’t like) to hear. For others, their soundscapes are a complete afterthought—literally just background noise.

Some like the sound of the hustle and bustle of the city, while others like the subtler sounds associated with nature. Some like raucous, energetic music, while others prefer it calm and melodic. For many, the sounds to which they are drawn depend on their mood, and their tastes will vary accordingly.

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Envisioning one's goals

Goals

Are you doing what you want with your life?

Is your life what you expected? Are you accomplishing what you set out to do?

These kinds of questions are related to a more fundamental question: What are the reasons and motivations behind our life goals?

We all want to live a “good life,” but what does that mean? Success can mean vastly different things to different people, but there are presumably some common reasons that we each take our respective paths.

Some of these might include subsistence, happiness, fulfillment, having a legacy, or making an impact on the world.

What are the reasons for your life goals? What would success look like?

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Distractions. Multi Coloured Squares in Mid Air Gathering To Form Head.

Distractions

What’s the next thing?

How can I entertain myself? Where’s the next mindless stream of drivel I can distract myself with? What do I need to turn off my brain?

In this world of ever-present distractions, it can be challenging to live in the present moment—to exist and to be who we really are (see Exist).

The world seems designed to ensure that we always have sufficient distraction to never have to be alone with ourselves. Why is that? Have modern people become so lazy that they can’t bear the thought of reflection? Have we become so distracted that we’re not able to spend time with our own thoughts?

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Play! A group of friends having fun.

Play

Do you want to go out and play?!

As adults, our time for playing is usually not as spontaneous as that. Our playtime is often highly scheduled, goal-oriented, competitive, or in many cases, non-existent. We may have hobbies, activities we do for relaxation, or things we do to pass the time, but how much of it is fun? How much of it is carefree? How often is it spontaneous?

As adults in Western society, we have many expectations placed on us. We’re expected to go to work, pay our bills, raise our children; more fundamentally, we’re expected to act “responsibly.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but for many, this sense of responsibility displaces any sense of fun we had. We may occasionally let our hair down in a card game with friends or at the beach on vacation, but is fun and playing an essential part of our lives? Is it part of who we are?

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Serenity. Woman floating in a canoe.

Serenity

Throughout my life, I’ve experienced many extremes.

I’ve been blissfully happy and deeply despondent. I’ve felt supremely confident and utterly worthless. I’ve buzzed with energy and been completely listless.

Extremes are part of life and are something we all experience. Obviously, the positive extremes are preferable, right? We want to feel good, not bad.

What about another option? Instead of chasing elusive and fleeting feelings, we can aspire to serenity—a more consistent positive feeling that, with practice, is not fleeting, but something that we can feel all the time.

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