Concepts of the Post:
- Having direction and purpose lends itself to a more meaningful life
- Taking time to pause and reflect is a healthy practice
- Action: Make a list of your own aha moments
“There’s so much information on the internet. But people don’t need more information, they need ‘aha moments,’ they need awareness, they need things that actually shift and change them.” – Jack Canfield
This post is all about what I have learned over the last couple of weeks. It is about ‘aha’ moments.
Aha moments are those moments, often small, where you experience a realization of something that brings you greater understanding, like a missing puzzle piece that falls into place. At least in my case. This past holiday season was filled with them
I break the following list down into 15 points, under three sections: Lessons regarding Purpose, Lessons regarding stress and Lessons that are amusing (to me). I’m not writing an epic tome here, so I will keep them brief. I may expand on some of these with full posts sometime.
The reason why I am sharing them is that it is good practice to acknowledge aha moments when they happen, but in a larger way, to spend time digesting what we are experiencing in life. A momentary pause on the journey to review and adjust.
Without further ado…
1. Where’s my horse?!
As the holidays approached, I took a week off and went on vacation. This was the week before Thanksgiving. Then there was a crunch time before Christmas, time off after Christmas and then New Year’s. Now I’m in the middle of January and my horse is nowhere to be found. I like taking time off, but time speeds up and horses don’t like me. I have to find the horse and get back on it to be productive again. That’s why I’m a dog person. This is a personal realization. [horse = productivity/momentum]
2. “…objects at rest tend to stay at rest.” blah, blah blah
No science lesson here, but when my horse took off, I found myself sitting on the couch playing Words With Friends (Scrabble on my iPhone). Heck, I wasn’t even looking for my horse (ie., being productive). Ah, that couch is comfy!
This is a realization as well. But even a realization can be a lesson. Wow, a few weeks ago I was full of ideas, on fire keeping notes, trying to blog, Facebook, Twitter, write…what happened? Dang that horse!
3. Purpose is important
Yes, practice what I preach, I know, and you’re right. Purpose is like a GPS unit. It helps locate you in relation to your horse (oh, I’m going to beat the dead one in this post, I can tell). Just as GPS can tell you where you are, the importance is to gain reference to where it is you want to be.
Purpose is like this. It is a guide to reference your position. Oh, Words With Friends isn’t guided by my Purpose? What about all that toffee? Wine? Oh. Okay, I’d better do something about it! There’s my horse!
4. Planning is important
So where was I going again when my horse took off? Uh, hm. I would like to do something, but what? I wanted to be productive. I even thought about it a lot, but that couch is comfy and toasty. What was I doing again?
In steps Evernote. Oh, I actually had a plan when I started my journey? Wow, I used to be productive, so of course I did! Okay, now I know what my priorities are.
5. I need Accountability
Getting off that couch and putting down my phone isn’t easy for me. I am more of a reflective person who can get caught up in a good book just as easily as surfing the internet tirelessly. I also tend to get distracted chasing carrots. That’s why I also need a stick. This is a realization, but also a lesson I have to keep lecturing myself on.
It is great if you have a mentor to hold you accountable, or a mastermind group. But what if you don’t have either of these? Mentorships seem to have fallen out of favor, and masterminds are hard to find unless you start one yourself. A spouse or partner can be good for a lot of activities, if they are supportive, but maybe you don’t want to have your partner hounding you to get moving.
Ahem. Cough cough.
It took some realization and only a mild amount of exasperation with myself to pick up listening to my podcasts again. How are podcasts holding me accountable? I may be odd in this way, but I listen to podcasts that relate to my purpose in life, and they are a virtual motivator. They stimulate my mind, getting it back in the game. They stimulate and focus my ideas in the right direction. They are supportive in the sense that they are of a compatible purpose which supports and confirms what I’m doing. This helps me overcome inertia and get moving again.
I listen to Entrepreneur on Fire, because I like John Lee Dumas’ positivity and energy. It gets me pumped. I like James Altucher because he is so transparent and humble, and challenges convention. Among many others, I also like Mixergy, because Andrew’s tough and direct questions bring out answers out of guests they hadn’t expected. Through energy, humility and hard reality, they keep me going.
What would these virtual mentor’s say to me if they caught me dwelling on the couch, sipping a Pliny? Ouch. Let’s move out, horse!
6. I lost my thought…
Planning is important for me to inform me as to what activities provide the highest value to others. I know writing is more important than reviewing Google Analytic’s, for example.
But what do I write?
With my mind out of the game, it’s like walking into a room and forgetting why you are there. There was a reason and a destination in mind when you started, but what? Planning doesn’t always help me here, but can be a source of ideas. I do keep lists of topics, things I think are important, directions I want to take the conversation, but it takes more than an idea. I need to be inspired to write.
When I came up with this post, I happened just to be reflecting back on the last few weeks, having time away, getting antsy to get back to a routine, looking at what I want my life to be over the next year, and so forth. I took some notes and a post was born, organically. Whether it sucks or not is yours to judge, but hopefully reading my process will spur your own process of reflection that will get you out of a rut, or help guide you in decisions to follow your Purpose over the next months.
7. All is well…Not!
Complacency is a killer. It destroys productivity, conspires with lack of motivation and halts all forward positive movement in life. Just when I start to feel “maybe I don’t need to do X, everything seems pretty good as it is”, I know something bad is happening. I think its also related to fear, which tells you not to stretch yourself, at least for me. Complacency is warm sun and a tropical drink. It may feel good at the moment, but nothing else is happening.
I need a sense of urgency and to keep my eye on the prize. That’s when I go back to #5 and start to hold myself accountable, along with my virtual mentors. Soon I’m back in the groove, moving along again.
Cortisol, Stress and an Abbreviated Life
Dramatic?! I think not! Okay, it is a bit dramatic, but all true. Here are my lessons I’ve learned over just the last couple of weeks.
8. Politics Suck
After being away from the news for a few days (I tend to be a news junkie), I couldn’t believe how more relaxed I was. That and the world kept spinning.
I have stayed away from most political news from time to time because, frankly, it mostly isn’t journalism and it means nothing. Literally nothing. You can read every article, listen to every news report and know the constitution and history backwards and forwards. You know what? It doesn’t matter. It will not affect the system in the slightest. It is a complete and utter waste of time. All you need is to be able to be informed enough to vote sensibly.
I hope it goes without saying that if you are in politics or your job is related to it, then the above statements don’t apply (you may be feeling the hate towards me right about now as well). For everyone else, it may feel important, but it’s not.
Politics is a deep dark hole of stress and frustration. Stress is bad for you. It will have an impact on your health. Trump supporters will lead shorter lives.
Avoid politics and lead a much more stress free life (and live longer). Unfortunately now that I’m back ‘online’, I can’t avoid all things negative or stressful, but I’m trying!
Remember, this isn’t hiding your head in the sand. It’s practical.
9. American has lost its ever-lovin’ mind
We are now in total panic in America, and are willing to piss away our liberties turn against each other. The nutbags in Oregon are some evidence that we have lost our minds (okay, not Oregonians, just those outsiders with a penchant for standoffs with the Feds). Now our neighbors are the enemy. We look at each other with suspicion and are ultra afraid of our security. Despite the fact you were more likely to get mudered in 1975 than you are today.
I guess its time to start bombing some third world country somewhere to make ourselves feel better.
I’m saddened by this, and don’t know what to do about it, but to hope that saner minds prevail. Again, avoiding the news will prevent the mental garbage to be poured in to your mind from a dump truck. There are more important things in life than getting worked up about things you can’t control.
The Important Things (The lighter side)
10. Nature is good
This isn’t a tree-hugging call to action, but getting away from a hectic workload and getting outside can be incredibly refreshing. Somehow being where nature exists and thrives without the intrusion of humankind is impressive.
For me, I’ve learned that it can re-charge my spirit, reduce stress and put me in a much more peaceful place. Re-connect outside the concrete jungle!
I was in Mendocino, California, and the landscape along the coastline there is stunning. Watching the waves crash onto the rocky coastline, it is hard to imagine all the pain in the world. It’s just the relentless ocean versus the rocks, in an eternal battle.
11. Hardwood is…hard
I’ve got nothing else to say about that, but it was a profound realization when attempting to sand it…
Making a walnut cutting board? Yikes that wood is hard.
12. (American) Football is heartbreaking
I used to live in San Diego and am a Charger fan. Now I live in Northern California surrounded by 49er fans (I’m too afraid of Raider fans to have any). Now the Charger’s are leaving for Los Angeles (probably) and the 49ers’ organization is a mess.
St. Louis got screwed, Oakland is back where it (hasn’t) started, and San Diego is back in a state of limbo.
There’s hope for baseball though. Go Giants!
13. Snow is an acquired taste (maybe)
My son is 2 1/2 and we had the bright idea to introduce him to the snow.
That is all.
14. I probably shouldn’t grow a beard
No selfies here!
Okay, there isn’t a 15 on this list, but it just didn’t seem right to say I only had 14. I originally had 20, but some were duplicates. There probably is another aha in here somewhere.
All of this is to say, life is a complex thing. Sometimes it is joyous, sometimes it’s not so much. Still, it is important to know where you are at, where you want to be, who you want to be. It is important to realize when something is not quite right and to take the time to do what is necessary to take care of yourself.
Spend some time early this year and revist your resolutions if you have made them. Do they make sense in light of your Purpose? Do they get you closer to becoming the person you want to be? If so, acknowledge that and allow that to motivate you.
If they don’t, then reconsider what is important and keep your eye on that. A little self realization and reflection never hurt. Maybe even write down what thoughts you have had over the last few weeks and what you have learned about life and about yourself.
Maybe you just need to find your horse.
If you liked the post, please leave a comment. What are some of the aha’s you have had?