Updated: Nov 9, 2021
Clarity - being aware of your wants and needs
Do you know what you really want in life? Do you know which industry you want to work in? Do know what kind of lifestyle is most suited to you? Do you know where you want to live? Who you want to be with? In short, are you clear about the kind of life you want to live and the kind of person you want to be?
These questions may seem obvious, but they aren't. It's very easy to get sidetracked by all the distractions around us (and available to us). It's easy to want other people's lives, other people's success and other people's lifestyle because we're in constant communication with a myriad of people from all over the world, whether we realise it or not. With so much information travelling at unseen speeds, whether on your phone, tablet or laptop, whether via email or social media, it can be difficult to create internal awareness around the kind of life we want to live and the kind of person we want to be.
That's why it's important to continuously ask ourselves questions like the ones I've highlighted above. Why? Because these questions can serve as our internal accountability mechanism. When we get distracted, sidetracked or disheartened, the answers to the questions above can help us get back on track. If we get in the habit of journaling a couple of times every week, for example, it'll be difficult to lose sight of all the things we want to achieve. If we get in the habit of self-reflection every time something goes well (and when things don't go well), it'll be easier to get to know ourselves, our triggers, our insecurities, our concerns and our fears. The thing is, whether we want to admit it or not, we can all do better at getting to know ourselves, our triggers, insecurities, concerns and fear. There's nothing wrong with any of the above, but, what is wrong is trying to supress these areas as a reaction to what society wants you to think and feel.
Always challenge the status quo and always challenge yourself to be better. Challenge the way you think about yourself, challenge the way you think about other people, challenge the way you consume social media, challenge the way act. There's room for improvement in all these areas and it's down to us to challenge ourselves. If we don't, we'll most likely have to learn lessons the hard way. When I look back at periods of my life where I have stumbled, the patterns are so obvious to me now. They weren't back then. It's easy to get into the habit of thinking a certain way about ourselves and about other people. It's easy to get into the habit of consuming social media in a way that is detrimental to our mental health. It's easy to get overwhelmed by our jobs and to suffer from impostor syndrome (everybody does, even the most successful people - if you don't believe me, read their biographies and watch their interviews). It's easy to get into the habit of acting in ways that reflect our egos as opposed to our wisdom.
The truth is, it doesn't matter where I'm from or where you're from, it doesn't matter what job industry you're in, what our hobbies are, and how many languages we speak; we all have insecurities (often the same ones), we are all scared by a number of things (often to a similar extent), we all question how well we're doing. Trust me - it doesn't matter how good we are or how successful we are - as humans we've been conditioned to think, speak and act in certain ways. Just look around you. Speak to people. Connect. Find out what they're thinking, what their passions are, what their ambitions are and what they want to achieve in their lives. I bet you that you'll hear similar things. I've spoken to a lot of people, I've travelled a lot, I've moved around quite a few times and it's striking to see how despite our different childhoods, upbringings, and experiences we often think and act in certain ways. We all belong to the same race (human) so this shouldn't come as a surprise. What is a surprise is how we all stumble in similar ways. Why? Because we don't take enough time to reflect about how we think, speak and act.
See, the questions above are tough - but we need to get into the habit of asking them. Not because we want to get disheartened but because it's imperative we stay on track. I often say that one of worse things in life is to have regret in our hearts and minds. The only way to avoid regretting is to be extra present and conscious of each and every moment.
Be clear. What do you want to achieve? Who do you want to be?
1. Commit to reflecting on a weekly basis by journaling
2. Understand the value of self-reflection
3. Ask yourself what you really (really) want in and out of life
4. Focus on asking the tough questions on a regular basis