Sunday, 2 June 2013

This is how you can reboot your life

When we're always running towards our goals, we miss out on the wonders of this life. And then it's too late. It's time to slowdown and start living. By Nila Sweeney

Do you sometimes feel that you're always running, towards a goal, towards something or somewhere you think would make you happy and fulfilled? And yet without fail, you find yourself back to where we started?

You're not alone. 

This has become a default activity in this hyperactive world we’re living in. Somehow we started to believe that if you sit still, life passes you by and you miss out.

But do you really? How many times we end up running around in circles just because we decided to run?

How many important life events have we missed out on because we were on the go? 

We rationalise that what we’re doing would benefit the people in our lives in the end. So we continue to relentlessly pursue these ambitions.

We trade our most precious commodity - time - just to get to our goals, whatever they are. We lose sight of the important things in life such as family, health and relationships.

In our pursuit for money or fame, we were willing to give up our humanity, our morality and sense of decency. At the very least, we compromise our health and sanity.

It’s a high price to pay. But we don’t always see it that way because the urge to get to our goals is so strong. 

We become frustrated and decide that if we run just a little bit faster, work a bit harder... maybe this time, we finally make it.

The sad truth is, this cycle will go on. Then you run out of fuel. Once you've used up all your life’s energy, there’s nothing left.

Time to take it slow
When we’re running, we don’t see and appreciate the beauty of this life we've been given.
We don’t appreciate the good fortune we're enjoying. We take for granted the people in our lives. 

Slowing down enables us to see that we have everything that we need to be happy right now. We don’t need to chase that mystical, magical future where we believe all our wishes come true.

Maybe you find it hard to convince yourself that you should slow down and take a break. That’s normal. Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, have a look at the following list of almost probable, highly inevitable realities that you will face if you continue down your current speed and trajectory.

1. You will lose your most precious relationships.
Relationships need to be nurtured. Of course you know that. 

You also know that if you’re always running, you won’t have the time and energy to develop relationships and appreciate the people in your life.

Even if your intention is to make life better for them in the future, your continuing pursuit for that future takes you away from their lives now, when it really matters. 

You would find that there’s no amount of material possessions or fame could ever replace the precious time you spend with your love ones.

Soon, they’d move on, with or without you in their lives. Once they've gotten used to you not being present, even without realising it, they've eliminated you from their lives. You become someone who comes and goes and never stays. 

You've lost the most important reason for your cause.

2. You will lose your health.
Relentlessly pursuing a goal comes at another hefty price: your health. 

Even if you exercise and do all the relaxation practices in the world, the unrelenting demand you impose on yourself will eventually take its toll on your body.

Every time you feel stressed, anxious or angry, you’re subjecting your body to unknown harm. There’s no way of knowing what would eventually trigger that unexpected nervous breakdown, burn out or worst, a heart attack.

Being always on your toes, tend to make your more agitated, which put more pressure to your nervous system and heart. Study after study shows that angry people tend to have a shorter lifespan compared to those who are peaceful and contented. 

It makes perfect sense. When you’re relaxed, the body doesn't have to work as hard.

3. You will lose your job or source of livelihood.
Ironically, the more we work hard towards our goals, the more we risk losing what we’re working for. 

Even if your goals are centred on your career or work, your dogged hunt for the prize, at any cost would eventually alienate your allies.

Without realising how your behaviour is having a negative impact on your colleagues or clients, you’d continue to self-destruct, until your boss no longer have a choice but to let you go.

No matter how valuable you are to business, no matter how much your manager loves your work, the undesirable effect of your behaviour and ways would force them to make that hard decision to let you go.

In the grand scheme of things, everyone is expendable, even the star performers. Especially the one with the bad attitude and “do all it takes no matter the consequences” mindset.

How to reboot your life now
Since you’re the only one who can make this decision, there’s no amount of encouragement will help you if you’re steadfastly sticking to your gun. However, I suspect that there’s a big part of you, that pure self within all of us, that wants a change for the better.

So here are some things that may help you finally stop and start living life. They’ve helped me a great deal and I’m making progress.

1. Realise the highly probable, almost inevitable future you’re heading to, if you don’t stop and reverse course. 

Ask yourself, are these goals you’ve set for yourself worth losing the most important people in your life? Is it worth the resulting illness? Is it worth losing your job?

2. Ask yourself what’s the worst that can happen if you stop right now.

What would be the worst consequences of stopping what you’re doing and taking a break right now? List all the things that you’re worried, afraid of and all the other reasons you make yourself believe are important to keep you going on this path.

Getting them into writing would help you realise that they are scarier in our heads than when we see them in black and white. It also help us see where we’ve been assigning the most fear and make us realise how absurd these assumptions are.

3. Ask yourself, what’s the best thing that could happen if you stop right now.

This can be a hard question to answer especially if we’ve invested all our waking hours and energy in pursuing something for the future. We tend to forget what we love doing.

Asking ourselves this question also forces us to really acknowledge where we’ve been unreal all these times. Are we trying to avoid or escape life by focusing our attention to our imagined future? What really motivates you to keep going as hard and as fast?

If you really look deep inside for answers, you’d find that deep inside, what you’re looking for is not what you’re working towards.

It’s not really about money, or fame, or power. It’s about being loved. It’s about being happy.

The good news is that when you stop running, you’d see that the beautiful people in your life have always been there for you, waiting for you to come around. 

They are always there to support you now matter what. All you need to do is open your eyes and heart and be present. This can only happen if you slowdown.

When you stop running, you realise that you already have everything to be happy in the present moment. 

You have your health, your loyal body and sharp mind. 

You are still alive. 

Recognising these gifts goes a long way to bringing happiness and peace of mind.

Thanks for reading. You may also want to read my article No Time To Lose.

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