I met Ashira Jones many years ago and she has always been a very stimulating force in my life. I like the way she thinks and I like the way she acts. She has a blog that you can find by using her name.
This is from an old blog of hers but it seemed appropriate for my circumstances at the moment. The title is “Stay the course or chart your own path?” I mentioned that my life had become too self-centered with the illness I was dealing with. This list from Ashira is a good list about curiosity that can help you break out of that funk.
She says that if you pause to consider what you REALLY want in life, ask yourself these questions.
1. Are you where you want to be in life? If not, what’s missing?
It’s so easy to live our life by default. We roll with what comes along without thinking about what we want in life or where we should be.
I have another close friend, Fritz Seyferth. Fritz is a Team Culture Coach. His book is The Shift from Me to Team. He is an incredible consultant and has helped many people and teams better themselves. However, years ago we were talking about the percentage that really wants to get better. It was purely a guess but the consultants around the table felt that if we were moving 6% of the people to 7%, we were probably doing well. Are you a part of that 6-7% or are you just floating along? As Ashira questions, are you what you want to be in life?
2. Is lifestyle creep limiting your options?
This is an interesting point that Ashira makes. She says that lifestyle creep happens when increased income leads to discretionary spending.
It’s interesting to me because I retired (to a fixed income) several years ago. Up to the point of retirement, I never thought very much about my spending. While I didn’t get extremely extravagant, I did spend whatever I wanted whenever I wanted to without much thought. Looking back I probably should have saved more and I certainly should have given away more. Was lifestyle creep limiting my options? Yes, I let it.
3. Can you articulate your top values?
I believe my values have always been relatively clear to me. They probably could have been more focused.
Ashira talks about autonomy being at the top of her list. I can see that in her. She makes decisions that support and lives a life that supports that. That might have been one of the reasons I’ve considered her an influential force in my life.
4. What patterns do you notice in your most frequent thoughts?
When I’m sitting and staring into space, my wife will often ask me what I’m thinking. Sometimes it may take me a few minutes to put it into words but I am definitely in deep thought.
Unfortunately, I see too many people who are either afraid of being alone with their thoughts or just never developed the habit of paying attention to them. Our social media with powerful computers in our hands has given people too many distractions. It’s easy to avoid your own thoughts or spending any time contemplating what they mean to you. That’s a very dangerous place to be.
5. What are you afraid of?
Ashira makes a really good point on this subject. Fear can be very real. However, if it’s examined you’ll notice some fears are real and other fears are fake.
When I was a young engineer, one of my first jobs was walking steel (6 to 8 inches wide), sometimes as high as 200 feet in the air. There were no nets or safety belts. It was a fearful situation and the fear was real. Making a wrong turn in a car or wondering if someone else approves of your decisions can also be fearful but it’s a false fear within your own head. Be very careful of your fears. Sort them out, which are real, which are false. Life will be easier when you’re clear.