1. Letting go of what’s out of our control.
First and foremost - just let go of the mental junk. What is mental junk? The regrets, the fretting, the worry, the indecision. I have it. You have it. We know we hold on to it for no good reason. If the matter at hand is something within our control, take action. If it's not within our control, then we are just expending energy spinning our wheels for naught. Why waste your precious time dwelling on matters? The moment you catch yourself fretting or worrying, make a clear decision and move on.
Don't beat yourself up about it though. Just nicely acknowledge to yourself "oh, there it is again. That worry and fret for no good reason. But I can do something here." Look at nature. It goes with the flow. Water flows in the path of least resistance. Fish swim with the flow of the stream. They don't fight it (except salmon, don't be a salmon). There is a time and place to climb that mountain and fight the tough fight but be extremely selective about your mountains because they take almost all of your mental bandwidth if you are doing it right. Assess your options, acknowledge your anxiety / stress level, ACT, and do not allow it to fill up your mental real estate any further.
Ask yourself these 3 questions:
1) Can I impact the outcome of the situation?
No? Then as Elsa screamed from the icy mountaintop, LET IT GOOOOOO.
Yes? Move on to step 2.
2) Can my actions significantly influence the situation to a favorable outcome for me?
No? Go the way of Elsa again.
Yes? Move on to step 3.
3) Will the amount of energy invested to reach a favorable outcome be worth it?
No? Again, Elsa it.
Yes? Get after it!
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2. Focusing on your top 3 priorities in life.
Time to revisit what your life priorities are. This shouldn’t be a time consuming task. You should be able to spout them off in 10 seconds. For example, mine are family, health, and peace. Boom. Done. Yours may be adventure, friends, and God, or Mother Earth, your dog Boomer, and villagers in Ethiopia. Whatever speaks to your soul, revisit it and get clear on it. Change it if it needs to be changed.
3. Remembering the impermanence of life.
It’s a fact of life that we don’t get to stay here forever. You have a finite amount of time to share yourself with this world. How is it that you want to spend that time? There are 3 authors / speakers that have shaped my view on this.
(1) Professor Jordan Peterson's view is that life is tragic, and the pursuit of happiness is a pointless goal. We experience painful loss in this life. It's a fact from the day we enter the world. BUT... we have the opportunity to improve our communities, improve our value to this world, improve ourselves beyond what we were yesterday. He disagrees with the practice of telling our children today how perfect they are. No, you are not perfect, and neither am I. But you know what? We can bust our butt being a better human being tomorrow. What's to live for if you are already perfect? Not much. Stop being so....
(2) Stop being so precious. This brings me to Jen Hatmaker. I could never summarize effectively all her thoughts on how precious we are as parents, our kids are as kids, and today's society in general. Here's my takeaway on how being precious robs us of the actual preciousness of life - we are easily offended; we are so careful not to let anything go wrong; we are overly cautious about getting hurt; we are fear-mongers; we cannot be wrong. This robs of us "just go for it"ness and lends way to overthinking and dwelling (see point 1).
(3) Habit 2 of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Franklin Covey is Begin with the End in Mind. Or what is it that you want to be or what is your legacy? Covey asks that you actually visualize your own funeral. Think about who would be there and what they would say. Did you make an impact? Did you leave carnage in your wake or did you build others up? What do you want to leave behind you on this Earth? Get going and do that. Don't waste another second. Do that NOW (right after you finish reading this post).
4. Realign actions with priorities. Plan out your day accordingly.
OK now that we have our priorities back in the forefront of our mind, and you have framed it with your own impermanence, you are motivated to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak. We can align our actions with those priorities and de-prioritize the things that don’t really matter at the end of the day. Plan out your day putting what’s first first. When you make your life priorities the first thing you focus on in your day, then life has an order to it. Everything else will fall into line, and the back seat priorities will get back where they belong.
5. Joy in simple experiences.
And what if we scheduled in time to actually slow down and feel the all encompassing joy of simple experiences? I shared with you that one of my priorities is peace. Thus, I make time to find peace in simple moments. Peace isn't necessarily found on that luxury vacation or those material things that clutter up the closet. It can be found in a simple flower growing randomly in your yard. Or the wind blowing through the leaves. Or a child's innocent laughter you overhear while walking through the grocery store. Just giving your mind's focus to that simple moment will grow the feeling of peace within you. We have all heard that what you focus on grows. Here's your chance. Tune out the messy news broadcast, and turn up the volume on peaceful, everyday moments.
I'm going to keep the last three short and sweet. They speak for themselves. Don't overthink them. Don't make them difficult tasks. They aren't. Turn off the inner dialogue of why you can't do these, and just give yourself the gift of doing them daily.
6. Express gratitude often.
8. Take time to pray, meditate, or sit in silence.
Thank you, dear readers, for sticking it out to the end of this post. Seriously, you matter. This life matters. You can change the course of the world. Get into action today!
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