One question we often ask ourselves in different points in life: what is the meaning of life?
If you’re stuck, confused, you will constantly ask yourself why and how you end up in your current situation. You still haven’t figured out what you want to do in life, but you know you don’t want your current life.
It is okay to get lost. It is okay to question ourselves. In fact, I would always encourage questioning your thoughts, your decisions and even confront your feelings. Being more aware of what you are doing and feeling is important. So is the ability to read and understand yourself. When you have been in auto-pilot mode for too long, it is easy to miss out the signals or warning signs your mind and body are giving. You get too deep in your everyday life, and you don’t even know what you are chasing after.
How well do you understand yourself?
What is your usual routine? What are your behaviour patterns? What about your thought patterns? What do you spend the most time doing and thinking?
It’s time to pause and reflect. Quiet your mind and calm down. Look at your current life from a bird eye’s view. Whether you have a worthwhile goal to pursue or not, you are always committed to something. Your current life is the result of where you have spent your time and energy with. If you don’t like your current life, it simply means you are spending your limited resources in the wrong area.
Wanted to do more volunteering work but you’re always stuck in the office? Wanted to improve your physical health but never had the time in your busy schedule? Wanted to spend more time with your niece but you are so occupied with your life? How are you going to get your priorities right?
Yes, many people say they don’t have a choice. Their reality can’t be changed. They have family to take care of, mortgage to pay off etc. It all comes down to how much you really want something, and how committed you are. Understanding yourself by reading your thoughts and listening to your inner voice is therefore essential.
Why listen to yourself?
You only have one life to live. You might as well optimise it. In my humble opinion, it is very unwise to get stuck in a job that you hate in the next 30-35 years in order to enjoy the “financial freedom” when you can’t even walk properly. I’m very much subscribed to the “4-hour work week” lifestyle, but it’s a work in progress.
1 Find your purpose
Can you imagine how life would be like if you just listened to yourself and acted upon your desires and goals? Human beings have a sense of purpose. We are truly happy, satisfied and connected through achieving worthwhile goals. If you don’t have one, it might be a good indicator to pay more attention to your inner voices.
2 Find your next move
Sometimes you have to trust your gut instincts. When something’s bugging you, it is best not to ignore it. If something’s on your mind for a while and you still haven’t done anything about it, pay attention. We all know procrastination isn’t always the best move. By listening to what your heart has to say, you can figure out your next moves faster.
3 Boost productivity and performance
Listening to yourself means more than just observing your thoughts. Your body gives out signals too. Are you feeling exhausted? Are you experiencing burnout? Observe every single reaction. You can spot patterns easily – you are sick of getting emails from your boss after work hours, you feel upset or moody if you receive bad news first thing in the morning… these body reactions and emotions are hinting how you change your routines and habits to boost productivity and performance. Maybe you can stop reaching for your phone first thing in the morning. Maybe you can set boundaries for more deep work. Paying more attention to yourself is crucial.
How to tune into your inner voice
1 Me time
First rule: eliminate distractions. Create time and space for yourself. Be in the moment, and focus on what you are thinking or feeling. Putting undivided focus on yourself is a form of self-respect. Ideas will come along the more you practise mindfulness. They usually come in unexpected times – not when you’re at the work desk, but usually when you’re in the nature, early in the morning, or in the shower. When you have new ideas, quickly execute them. Your subconscious mind will work out pathways towards the goals you want to achieve when you are committed to make it happen.
2 Brain dump
Or brain vomit, whatever you call it. It is helpful laying out all your random thoughts on something you can see – whether it be digital or on paper. Writing helps you conceptualise your thinking. The stream of conscious writing makes your thoughts more concrete, and it is easier to notice patterns and areas to improve through spotting patterns. We process millions of thoughts every single day. While not all thoughts are helpful or productive, it is worth investigating the logic and triggers behind. You can easily spot events you constantly worry about. By tuning into your subconscious or even unconscious thoughts, you can do something about it. Being more self-aware is the first step to living a more fulfilling life.
3 Flow states
What makes your soul happy? What gets you so immersed in the moment that you lose track of time? Deep, meaningful work? Re-experience your favourite hobby in childhood? Getting into flow states helps connect your body and mind and appreciate little things in life. From there, you generate energy and a sense of purpose. As you explore, you continue to find meaning in life. You learn to see life from different lens.
4 Imagination before knowledge
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, giving birth to evolution.” – Albert Einstein
One way to tune into your inner voice is to ask yourself what you would be doing if you knew you wouldn’t fail. This challenges all your beliefs (maybe even excuses). Most of the time you will find money and time as the barriers that stop you from going after the life you want. Now you get to use your imagination. Forget all the “realities” you have been feeding yourself with. What is the chance of failing? From there, you work out a plan, or plans, to remove every obstacle on your way. This is also to test how committed you are willing to be.
Tuning into your inner voice, overall, leads you to a more fulfilling and meaningful life. The main idea is to tap into your subconscious mind so that you understand what you really want to achieve, and work out the next moves to get there.
Don’t wait for muse to come. You can start changing your life today.
Ready to step up your personal development game? Join my 8-week FIND YOUR FORTE program where we walk through the 3 importance phases in life to achieve mental freedom. More details here: https://findyourforte.carrd.co/