Humans drew the short-straw when it comes to life.
Unlike every other living being on this planet, humans are the only creatures that are plagued with ‘self-awareness’.
We are conscious of our own existence and success on a level that can often be – politely – a pain in the posterior.
Have you ever heard of the story of the wild flower that felt like a loser?
Neither have I. That’s because the wild flower is confident that it’s doing what it is meant to do …all the time!
It doesn’t have anxiety pangs that the flower next door may “out-bloom” it. It doesn’t have questions about whether it should be near the pond or down by the plains. And most importantly it doesn’t feel it has to justify its place in the world. Like grab every passing bee and force it to collect honey because that validates its existence.
Of course, wild flowers don’t have emotions.
(If they did – maybe there would be wild flower psychiatrists)
But there is a lot more to this example than just complete harmony with the universe because of the lack of sentience or knowing.
The United States of Zombieland
Most people go about their lives in a zombie like trance.
Every day is more of the same; working from pay check to pay check, taking care of their dues and inching towards the ending that would be just an ending of their physical body.
Cause inside they are already numb and not really living.
They are aware of a bigger picture.
They do feel that they are capable of doing more.
But instead of taking action to find how they fit the puzzle, they either:
- Avoid talking about purpose altogether
- Or obsess about it simply because they hate their life and think that the answer to “Why am I here?” will magically take them to a land where they’re happy, passionate and invested in their world.
They conform to the status quo because it is the easy way out.
But they forget that ‘know thyself’ is not just a biblical command. Or religious propaganda.
It is in fact the solution to most problems we face and the sure-shot way to success.
Why ‘Know Yourself’ is Stellar Advice
“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment” – Lao-Tzu
The world is a noisy place filled with distractions.
It’s easy to go about life awestruck by the countless opportunities being hurled in your general direction.
There are so many paths to walk, so many choices to make and infinite possibilities surrounding each of your decisions.
So how do you know the correct decision to make at any given time?
The short answer is ‘self-knowledge’.
It’s knowing who you are, what makes you want to go on living and what you are absolutely unwilling to compromise with.
The answers to these key questions let you filter out choices.
And believe it or not choices aren’t such a great thing.
Imagine the classic toothpaste aisle scenario.
Whoa – so many flavors, so many variants, so many prizes.
Too many choices risk a couple of things:
- Analysis Paralysis, that is you end up confused and make no decisions.
- It is impossible to test all options and no matter what you go with, there is always the regret of having possibly passed up something bigger, better and more lucrative.
The Shiny Object Syndrome.
The list can go on and on.
Your big picture thinking and your self-knowledge.
The Hanged Man – A Quick Guide to Success
There are several different ways you can create clarity in your life by eliminating choices that don’t serve your purpose and goals.
One of my favorites is known as “The Hanged Man”
It’s basically a series of questions you ask yourself about a particular outcome that you want in your life so that you can sweep away the options that don’t take you towards it.
Let me show you how it works:
#1: Choose an end result you want to see happening in your life
#2: Hang yourself upside down (not literally)
This involves reverse engineering the outcome. It’s flipping your perspective. You ask yourself the following, starting with what you know for sure – the what and ending up at the heart of the matter that may have been subconscious.
What – What is the goal? What is the effect once the goal is achieved? What can be done to make me achieve the goal quicker?
When – Is there a specific due date? When will you start the project and when will it end?
Where – Where will you find the resources to help you achieve your outcome?
Who – Who is involved? Who will be affected? Who will get a specific task done?
How – How will you achieve this (specifics)?
Why – Why are you doing this goal? Why does it matter? Why can’t you ignore this goal?
#3: Now armed with complete knowledge – the outcome, how to achieve it and why you would want to achieve it, look at the choices. You will find yourself that you won’t question your motives, or suffer from performance doubts or feel the need to validate your ideas and yourself with approval from others or in fact chase the wrong options.
Semi-self awareness is a dangerous thing.
All it produces is chaos and confusion.
The Hanged Man – or finding the Why– gives you the chance to work out the details and focus on only that which truly aligns with you and your deepest desires.
Who doesn’t want that?