Everyone I know wants to be successful and happy yet most of us do not take the time to define and articulate what these mean to us. When this happens we become the obstacle to our own success and happiness and life literally feels like a wild goose chase.
The most common symptoms of being on a wild goose chase include being so busy you don't have time to think; working harder and longer with less satisfaction and fewer results; spending too much time 'zoning out' at the end of the day watching TV just to relax; feeling tired but unable to sleep; too much caffeine/alcohol/sugar/tobacco to either stay alert or unwind; no time for family or friends; habitually running late or behind schedule; constantly focusing on what's wrong or not working in your life; and having predominantly negative thoughts.
Well, I think I just described about 90% of the human race!! The problem is not that we do these things; the problem is being so caught up in our heads, in our busy-ness and the frustration of daily life that we LOSE AWARENESS OF WHAT IS HAPPENING. And when we lose awareness we become the victims of circumstance rather than the creators of our life.
I'm not going to pretend here and tell you that life is a bed of roses and that we should always have a positive mind-set. That's just plain unrealistic and not even desirable. There is absolutely no point in pretending about your life. If what's going on right now in your life sucks, then putting on a brave face or being the courageous martyr serves no-one and only depletes you of energy.
This may sound contrary to what a lot of motivational texts say - the one that encourages us to 'fake it till we make it.' Well, I don't know about the rest of you but that has never worked for me and it has never worked with any of my clients. Awareness starts with taking a reality check. This can often be painful but how are you ever going to make things better if you don't know what you are fighting against?
The key to a successful battle is knowing your enemy intimately. In this case, the enemy is the thoughts, behaviors and actions you have taken UP UNTIL NOW that have given you the results you are now enjoying - or not enjoying as the case may be. This is good news; in fact it's great news! It's great news because if you understand this one point - the point that says your past actions have produced your current results - you are free to change your life by changing your actions.
But before you can change your actions you need to stop what you are doing and THINK; you need to reflect on what is important to you and what is in your heart. Don't expect the answers to jump out at you immediately. Most of us have spent the majority of our lives chasing dreams that mean nothing to us or living according to someone else's expectations that our true feelings and hearts' desire are buried beneath layers of habitual and conditioned behaviors.
The first step is always this: take an inventory of where you are NOW.
Next, identify what works and what isn't working in your life and decide which things you want to continue doing and which you want to take off your plate. Be ruthless and above all, be honest with yourself. We are talking about your life here, not someone else's.
Then, and only then are you ready to start exploring what success and happiness might mean for you.