Tag Archives: confidence

Stuck – focus on the process, not the solution

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Stuck in the Paradox of Choice

Over the last month I’ve had several conversations with people who are just stuck; their unhappy with their current place and want to do or be something different, but they don’t know what.

When talking to each of these people it became obvious that they were stuck in the paradox of choice. That is, in front of them they each had a variety of choices as to what job they could do, where they could live, and how they could choose to live their life. And while being in the position of having so many choices was great, they found themselves unsure of which of their choices to pursue, or even whether they should pursue any of them at all.

In all essence they were stalled by the number of possibilities in front of them.

Why before What

In each of the conversations with those people who where were stuck, I couldn’t help but challenge them on whether they really knew what they wanted to achieve in the first place. That is, when we know the destination, assessing which path to take becomes easier.

When I raised the question of ‘Why’ – what is the purpose you are trying to fulfil in considering any of these options – they each looked at me blankly.

“Surely it’s only when we understand why something is important to us in terms of contributing to our purpose, that we can understand what the best options could be for fulfilling it.” I stated.

In the face of Uncertainty – Focus on the Process!

The question of purpose is not always an easy one to solve. Often, when we haven’t properly considered this – what is the purpose of our lives – we sit faced with a blank field of uncertainty in front of us.

Unfortunately, as is wired into our physiology, uncertainty for most human beings breads anxiety and fear. And to resolve this, we rapidly fumble around trying find a solution, often unconsciously clasping onto the most convenient solution rather than that which will help us truly fulfil our potential and live our purpose.

To ease our anxiety and fear in the face of uncertainty however, we don’t need to jump straight to solution mode; we don’t need to ‘fix-it’ as quickly as possible. Instead, we can fill the space with a process that helps us on the journey to find the solution.

Process = Journey of Discovery

The recommendation I gave to each person I spoke with is to hold the tension of wanting to find an answer and use your energy to go on a journey of discovery. To guide them on this journey I encouraged them to consider a few simple questions:

– Who am I ? (who do you really want to live your life as?)

– Why am I here? (what contribution do you wish to make in this world?)

Through considering these questions I’ve already seen these people explore different alternatives, connect with different people who give them energy and most importantly, contribute more positively to those around them.

The answers in life are not always easy and obvious but embarking on a journey of discovery, where our focus is on fulfilling our potential and purpose, is what helps us live in a state of unconditional happiness.

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Self Importance – false or true?

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Where’s the spotlight

As I sit in the United Club in Chicago O’Hare Airport, it’s hard not to notice some of the people sitting around me. Almost everyone can hear their cell phone conversations as they try to close the last deal on a Friday. Or we are distracted by the guy at the bar who announces how this is his “last beer in the U.S.A. for three weeks” before he heads to China.

Unfortunately in such an environment, it’s hard not to get sucked into these valiant displays of importance. “Wow,’” is generally our initial reaction before we see the behavior for what it really is.

What really is important?

Often, because of the preconceptions of society, we allow ourselves to get sucked into definitions of who we should be, rather than who we really are and who we want to be. In doing this, we attach all sorts of symbols and meanings to our definitions of self. For example, when we are asked, “what do you do?” we respond with our job or title. In doing this we are in fact attempting to create a sense of self-importance, as aligned to what we believe society wants us to be. And in doing this, we unfortunately lose our true sense of self, instead trivializing it with a lesser definition.

Being an identity of true importance

As I watch the sales guy stand up, slipping on his Ray Bands in doors before puffing out his chest. And as I watch the guy heading to China who in fact appears beneath the surface to be quite a lonely individual, I can’t help but wonder: ‘What if, we each were able to distil what is truly important, not in terms of what we do, but instead of what impact we have?’ Surely then we begin to form an identity of true importance focused on how we contribute to society, rather than how we take from it, using the preconceptions to ‘prop-up’ the insecurities we have instead of being who we truly can be. Surely this is what we mean by living with purpose.

(Image care of 2magazineonline.com)