Changes occur, whether in science, in corporations, in life, in ourselves because someone has taken notice ofsomething and determined to do something about it. Think about it…
- · Scientists are studying and trying to understand the root causes of diseases and are therefore uncovering new ways of treating them
- · Technological advances have been made in great leaps because people continued to focus on and experiment with new ideas
The important question then becomes - What are you focusing on?
We have the ability to change virtually anything about ourselves and our lives, but we need to understand what we want to change, why we want to change it and how we plan to go about it. Many people identify something they would like to have or do, with little thought given to why they aren't currently doing it. This simple introspective step is the critical key to being successful in changing and maintaining new behaviours.
Many of us spend our time accumulating knowledge but little time in developing our self awareness. This lack of understanding of we are and why we choose what we do is often the biggest barrier to our getting what we want from our lives. It is our lack of self awareness that prevents us from developing ourselves as fully as we can, or as much as we probably should.
“We are already the most over-informed, under-reflective people in the history of civilization” Robert Kegan, Lisa Lahey (Harvard-based Psychologists)
True development involves making changes. It is about transforming the way we think, react and behave. It is our lack of understanding and awareness of how we currently think and behave that is our biggest hurdle to overcome. Most of us work long hours. We are constantly juggling priorities and we rarely feel that we have enough time to devote to what is most important to us. Sadly, many of us are too caught up in simply ‘keeping up’ that we have lost sight of what is truly important to us in our lives. This state of 'busyness' has led us to being less introspective and less self aware. However, limitations always begin with a lack of awareness. You don’t (and can't) change what you don’t know needs changing.
- What is the impact on you and on others in your life of the choices you have made?
- What would be the impact in your life of making a different choice?
These are questions we need to explore to accept that we are who and where we are in life because of the choices that we have made. Our discomfort, dissatisfaction and dissonance is of our own making. If we want different, we need to choose differently.
We are skilled at self deception however, which allows us to avoid discomfort, to be accepting of (if not feel good about) what we are doing, what we believe, what we have become. We therefore avoid taking a more introspective look because we are afraid of what we’ll see. Learning to pay more attention to our feelings, as we are feeling them and before we start deluding ourselves about how we truly feel, allows us to make more reflective choices about how we want to live our lives. to reflect further on what was really happening when you made that decision.
If you find yourself feeling as though you need to justify the choices you've made, especially to yourself, you likely are in self-delusion mode. Instead, use this as a signal to reflect further on what was really taking place when you made that decision, how you really felt about it, what you might have preferred and why you opted out of choosing it.
To heighten your awareness and to become better at Taking Notice of potential positive areas of change, consider maintaining an Awareness Journal. Establish a couple of set times each day to use as checkpoints to determine – and record – how you are feeling in that moment. Record what you are doing and how you are truly feeling about the activity. Learning to observe our emotions helps us to learn to become more intentional in our actions.
Fully 95% of our behavior is a habit, whether through our unconscious or in direct response to external stimuli. We are run far more by our primitive reactionary brains that we like to believe. It is through mindfully and deliberately exploring how we truly feel about the situations we are engaged in, and what our desired outcomes and preferences are, that we can gain more conscious control over our actions, driving our outcomes.
We will not achieve anything that we are not intentionally focusing on in life. If we want to lose weight we must focus on making choices and taking actions that will lead us to that end. If we want to get fit, stop smoking, get a promotion, learn a new skill, or take up a new hobby we need to become more mindful about how we truly feel about the desired outcome, how we feel about the individual choices and actions that will take us there. Are you willing to do what it will take to achieve your desired outcome?
We get what we notice and pay attention to. What are you focusing on?