In the modern world, we are often pulled in many directions at the same time. Demands of work, the needs of our family, our desire to be healthy—we have many voices demanding our attention and our emotional energy. Our lives can become a series of silos—discreet elements that don’t feed off of or into each other. This forces people to constantly switch gears mentally and emotionally. How can we prevent our lives from becoming a jumble of unrelated activities? How can we keep it all together?
Who are you at your core?
If you strip away all the extraneous stuff in your life, what would be left?
In modern society, it’s hard to connect to our true identity because of all the static. The expectations, the influences, the demands: all this external pressure makes it difficult to know our true selves.
It can be helpful to take a step back and think about your essential self. By essential self, I mean the person at your very heart, the person you have left after you strip away everything not essential to your being.
What should I do now?
At every moment of every day, we have a choice. What should we do? Sometimes we feel productive. Sometimes we feel creative. Sometimes we feel like having fun. How do we decide what to do with this particular moment? What can we do to make this moment as meaningful and fulfilling as it can possibly be?
What about when we feel uninspired? Our time in this life is limited, but does that mean we have to make every second of every day count? If we’re just not feeling it, is it OK to become mindless and browse YouTube videos?
When I’m feeling uninspired or unproductive, I can’t force myself to create or produce. But that doesn’t mean I have to surrender, make myself a drink, and plop down on the couch. There’s a lot of space between not being productive and not doing anything. There’s nothing wrong with mindless entertainment, and we all need some downtime (see “Downtime”). But if nothing is the only thing we can imagine doing when we’re not feeling productive, then we’re missing out on a wealth of possibilities.
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.
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?