As the song goes, “Obladi, Ohblada, life goes ooooonnn!!!” Life is moving at a frantic pace and we are all currently in the moment right now. And also now. Oh, and now. See that? At least three moments have passed you by! Most people are constantly concerned about being somewhere else, they forget about being present and being in the moment. The question is what are you going to do about YOUR moments? Are you happy with your current situation? Are there some things you would like to change? Are there relationships that need attention? Understand that it takes conscious thought about who you are being in each of life’s moments to begin the process of changing your situation.
He spoke about how our beliefs shape everything we do. Delving further, we discovered that the majority of our beliefs we just make up ourselves. So if you believe you can or can’t do something, you are probably right. So the bad news is that whatever situation you are in is your fault, but the good news is that it’s your fault. Hooray!! You have the absolute power to change your situation. TODAY. So what will you do? Try these four steps that I call I.C.A.N.
1) Identify the Situation
This may sound like a simple thing to do, but most people get this step wrong. Have you ever asked someone, “Hey, what’s the matter?” And the response goes something like this, “Oh you wouldn’t understand. I just have so much going on right now and it is so stressful, and I just have to solve all of these problems, but more things keep piling up, and I never get time to…” And so on and so on. When you ask them what they are going to do about it, or even how you can help, they just shrug and say, “No, I just have to buckle down and figure EVERYTHING out.” This happens all the time and contributes to massive stress and often isolation. Also, when you complain, you make yourself into a victim. But when you really break it down, typically all of your problems stem from a key few items. The trick is to take some time, drill down, and identify the specific issue that needs to be addressed. And take them one at a time. Otherwise, there will never be a light at the end of the tunnel. Imagine your life as a car engine. When something in your engine starts making a funny noise, find out what it is. It would be silly to think that you have to replace every component, but your overall performance and other components are affected when one part is not working right. And if you don’t address it sooner than later, you may have engine failure and it’s time to bring in a professional!! So identify the problem, isolate it, and then you can address it.
2) Connect with Your Thoughts
What is really on your mind? Take a few moments to sink into your thoughts and completely understand what it is that is making you think and feel the way you do. Remember that all of your previous experiences in your life have shaped your behaviours, and as a result your reactions to situations. Why, specifically, are you feeling the way you do? Are there some contributing factors in your life that are really influencing your behaviours, thoughts, and beliefs about your situation today? Why do you keep telling yourself that you are okay, when you really don’t feel that way? Take a few moments and really think about your thoughts and emotions and whether they are 100% valid. Have you ever sent an email in anger in the heat of the moment? And then when you cooled off, you realized that you maybe shouldn’t have done that? Maybe you blew things out of proportion and now there is a permanent record of your tantrum. The best thing to do is write those thoughts down on paper. Go back to them a day or two later and re-read them. Most times, our thoughts will have changed. Take the time to connect with what you feel and why you feel it, so you can get to the root of your problem.
3) Accept it
Now you take the emotions out of the equation. If you want some clarity on this process, read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle. Remove all fear, doubt, worry, and anxiety from your thoughts. Understand that everything is your choice. I wrote about choice in my post last month called “Resolutions Suck. How Badly do you Want Success in 2012?” You have absolute choice in everything you do. You cannot control what has happened in the past, and you cannot control what people are going to do. You can only control how you react and what choices you make. So stop worrying about everything around you. Everything that has happened, has. Accept it.
One of my favorite passages from “The Power of Now” is around negativity.
“How can we drop negativity, as you suggest?
By dropping it. How do you drop a piece of hot coal you are holding in your hand? How do you drop some heavy and useless baggage that you are carrying? By recognizing that you don’t want to suffer the pain or carry the burden anymore and then letting go of it.”
4) Now What?
Is there something you SHOULD be doing? Then take action and DO it! This step is where it all comes down to what you are going to do about your situation. About your life. You are in control of your destiny and have the ability to react and make decisions in every single moment. So what decisions will you make? And remember that doing nothing is also a choice. Many people are so afraid of making the wrong choice that they freeze themselves into indecision. But indecision itself, is a choice. So what do you do? Here are your three options:
- Remove yourself from the situation
- Change the situation
- Accept the situation
What will you do? As step 3 suggests, don’t bring emotion into this. Just make a decision and live with that decision. If you decide to do one of the first two options and take action, then try and do it with a positive mindset and with some mental momentum (I Just liked the sound of that!). Who cares if you make mistakes. Learn from them and make new choices and don’t let fear cloud your judgement. Get out of your comfort zone and get it done. NO EXC– USES.
The third option is to accept the situation. There will be instances where you truly can do nothing to change your situation – that’s fine. Accept that and give in fully to it. Stop fighting it, complaining about it, and otherwise letting the situation itself dictate you as a person. Maybe you need your job and have to stay there for another year, maybe you are in the hospital, or maybe you are in jail. Accept what is, and stop feeling sorry for yourself.
One last thing, if you decide that there are things you should be doing, and really don’t want to get up and do them now, accept your inactivity and laziness in this moment. Enjoy your laziness and be as relaxed as you can. We all need to have balance, so when you really do feel like you want to be lazy and make the choice to do so, live in THAT moment and when you are ready to make other choices, go make them! Every choice is yours!