What are you steering your life by? (Part 2)

What makes a good day?

Pretty much every moment we are asking some form of these questions: “how’s it going?”, “how am I doing?”, “am I getting what I want?”, “am I safe?”, “are people liking me?” … It doesn’t matter if we feel we are in a powerful position or an inferior position; these questions run in the background of our consciousness, affecting how we feel, what we do, how we interact with others.

These questions frequently shape our decisions much more than our plans, our goals or even our commitments. We easily forget what we set out to do and unless there are structures that keep us in place (meetings, deadlines), they push us around.

Even when we reach a goal, if we don’t have a satisfying answer to these questions we don’t feel happy or successful or fulfilled. The amplitude of the agitation these questions stir up determines whether we feel we’re having a good day or not—and, in the long run, the meaning of our lives.

The trouble is that we don’t notice these questions. We’ve lived within them for so long that we don’t notice their influence.

So that’s a very good place to start. Each of us could notice when these questions show up.

A good initial structure could be listing for individual questions that show up in your mind. After that you can start noting what effect they have on your emotions, body, and thinking.

The essential step—a huge one toward our own freedom—is separating ourselves from these sticky, pervasive questions.

What could you be paying attention to instead?

Return to Part 1.

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