We all have experienced at least one moment in life when our decision was overridden and there was nothing we could do about it. If this happened at a young age, we learnt to put up less resistance going forward up to a point when even being proper adults doesn’t change our approach towards how we treat life, decisions and things coming our way. We sometimes forget that other people made decisions that weren’t in our best interest. It was comfortable for them not to have to deal with the prospects of success or failure. Not having to bother. But nothing happens unless we take responsibility and do what’s right for us.
The cheat mentality is responsible for many of our downfalls and the most negative impact attracted by this poor choice is felt by the person making the choice. Let’s unpack.
Cheating on your homework or an exam? Free gratification that teaches us we must be applauded when we’re not putting in the effort.
Cheating on someone romantically? Impacts the self-esteem, attracts guilt and destroys relationships that could have had a more peaceful fallout.
Cheating the law? The fear of being caught and the guilt can bring misery.
Going back to bed in the morning? Well, time slept is time not lived. Time slept when our body and mind had enough sleep is an insult to our being. We deliberately choose to put ourselves on hold, to cross off time from our life. Time we will never get back.
Slipping off is failure as long as we keep on slipping and do nothing to adjust our course. But slipping off also teaches us how to navigate through life and to maintain balance when we are likely to slip off. What are you going to do differently?
The array of objects that we surround ourselves with every day is likely higher than the number of people we’ve met throughout our entire life. As extreme as it might sound, each of us will meet on average 80,000 people throughout our entire life and as it goes for the items that we own, an average American household has around 300,000 items.
It’s easy to get anchored into the material reality and care more about the immediate dopamine spike given by a new purchase than the long term rewards, but scrolling through shopping websites leaves less time for introspection and reflection to identify those long-term goals. Shopping, replacing items and redecorating are all activities that give the illusion of achievement. The results that we see now have been seeded months or years ago. Same goes for a lack of success. A lack of success can either indicate that we are on our way to create it or that we are walking on infertile soil. How do you fertilize your life to let yourself bloom?
Excitement and motivation have an expiry date on them. They are products of our thinking and our environment and can only be consumed within a certain time frame. We then move on to pure willpower and once that fades away, there are two options: a feeling of worthlessness and/or a built up desire to push through the process.
Regardless of the stage of the cycle we are at in life, to make every moment count means to stay present while being aware of the future implications of our decisions. We can only act now, but we have an understanding of the law of action and consequence that we must bare in mind. And although we cannot predict the future, we can ensure the highest success rate through decisions that might be uncomfortable in the now, to say the least.
We all have small accomplishments that we can pride ourselves with and patting ourselves on the back can be helpful and reassuring. But what if we think that that’s the best we can do? One college degree, landing a ‘safe’ job, providing for our family. By falling into the patterns of success that others, generations before, laid out for us, can prevent us from being truthful to ourselves and prevents overall progress.
The job, the car, the house. A circle of expenses where we produce just about enough to get by while holding on to our tokens of achievement. So many of us can’t seem to see outside of this vicious circle. The businesses are dehumanized, as if they’re not built by fellow humans. And we fall for the illusion that others will know what’s best for us, even after experiencing pain from a young age while sitting through classes in school for four, six, eight hours a day. Even then we still believe the narrative that that’s all that life has to offer.
What do you have to offer? What are your wants and needs? Your unexplored skills, waiting to be developed? And what value can you bring into the world?
Time can easily go unaccounted for, but we all have dreams. The most important question when pursuing our dreams is looking at where we are versus what we should be doing. Time unaccounted for is time that hasn’t been maximised to grow the skills we need that will help us in the long run.
Thinking small will keep us small. If we can uncover the big dreams and expectations we had from life and from ourselves from a very early stage, we can use discipline to get there. We need a purpose in life, may it be a housework project, career or personal development, we need to know where we want to reach. The road will always be unknown, but ensuring that we are on the right track will bring familiarity into our journey. Success feels familiar when we’ve projected it in advance.