Blog Post #8 Showing up in your Daily Life
How do you show up in your daily life? We all do stuff! The question is why do some of us do things we don’t like? I think we can practice maximizing those things we enjoy doing while either eliminating or at the very least understanding why we do those things that we don’t particularly enjoy doing. When we break up our activities, I usually divide them into two categories: Things that we enjoy doing and those things that we do not enjoy doing.
The first question is, why would we do anything that we do not enjoy? If we do not appreciate doing something, this brings us to our first obstacle because everyone has things that they do in a day that they do not enjoy doing, but here we are doing them day in and day out again and again. Why? We must first consider the importance of anything we choose to do. Is this activity essential and if so what am I getting out of this activity to move my life forward? I know that is more than one question, but we have to consider these things. The simple fact is we are going to do some things that we don’t enjoy, and we better know why we are doing them. Once we have decided that activity is essential, we can then ask ourselves the second question.
The second question is, does this activity achieve some kind of basic human need? We all need to breathe, eat, drink, and move so am I performing this activity as a part of my basic need to be a human being or am I doing this activity for another reason? The saying, “You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others,” this rings in my head all the time because people neglect themselves so much every day to work at a job or to bring home a paycheck and they never consider that these activities are stealing their lives. Sure we all have to do basic things to meet our human need but don’t you think we need to revise what it means to be a human being? I will break this topic down in another section called, “The Basic Humans needs to Breath, Eat, Drink, Move, and Communicate.” In our world now it’s a different type of survival we no longer have to worry about staying alive as much as we have to worry about getting consumed by the excess. Human’s at least in America don’t worry about starving as much as they do about being overweight or over medicated. People forget about their health as long as those paychecks keep coming in, and finally, they forget about other people because it’s too complicated to tell someone what is on their mind, so they bury those thoughts along with themselves. Deal with these things instead of trying to forget them or hide them! They will always come back, and no amount of money or distraction will ever give you the chance to tell someone you love them, say thanks, let them know they matter or let them know they hurt you. Believe it or not this is a basic human need and we could all do a better job of taking care of ourselves before we set off and try to take care of everyone else.
The third question, does this activity create value in your life or the lives of others? Here is where everyone justifies how they spend their time doing the things that they deem essential. Usually, the problem is that this question is answered first, before the other two and we never go back to consider our basic human needs or whether we enjoyed doing something because at that point those things are not crucial for some reason. For example, a father justifies working all the time to provide for his family but if he never considers whether he likes doing what he does or that his work is destroying his health. Sure! He is creating value for him and his family, but at what cost to the quality of life he will live when he gets the chance to enjoy time spent with his family or all the time he will spend in retirement? That has become the standard. People work until retirement, and by that point, they have lived an unhealthy unenjoyable life they become miserable and resentful pointing the finger at everyone except themselves. Harsh I know! But it’s so true that we are responsible for our own happiness. We are accountable for our own happiness. If we work on developing habits that will serve our basic human needs such as breathing, eating, drinking, and moving we can also begin to develop these habits into an enjoyable activity that will move you forward in your life. So when we come to those things we don’t want to do, we will have a better understanding of why they have to get done. To summarize, we have to do things that are important to us, they serve our needs to be human beings, and they create value for our life and the lives of others.
Taking out the trash, brushing your teeth, doing laundry, taking a shower, or working out for some people can fall into the category of “Things I don’t want to do,” and there are many more examples. Most of the time when we do something that we don’t want to do we need to evaluate why we are doing that activity and work towards eliminating it or finding importance, value, or necessity as a human for why we do the things we do. For example, I enjoy drinking alcohol and if I am being honest there is no real importance to doing this, and there is no inherent value either but I feel as a human being we deserve to relax and enjoy the company of others while having a drink. I know we could argue that alcohol has both good and bad health benefits, and from a social perspective it has inherent value to how we communicate and relate to people or any other number of reasons but for me I still do this activity because I have made the decision that this is an activity I want to do because despite having evaluated it objectively I personally see the importance, value and necessity in my own life to have on occasion a few beverages despite knowing the dangers. I feel I am responsible enough to make my own decisions when it comes to an activity that I could quickly consider having no value, importance, or necessity in my life. I wish I would have thought this as a younger man because I am pretty sure I drank alcohol for all the wrong reasons which are why when I drink now I don’t do so unless it is to celebrate or relax, never to dull, numb, or forget.
Video games, Ice Cream, shopping and the like are some things that people do that we could argue have little to no importance or necessity in one’s daily life. However, these things no matter how trivial have meaning, value, and are enjoyable to the individual which for some of us may not make much sense but it doesn’t have to for us it only has to be enjoyable, meaningful, and provide value to that individual. Unfortunately, most people don’t evaluate their activities objectively and find meaning and value to the things they do that take up their time. So that is what I am asking of you. Make a list and put all the stuff you do in a day on this list it will take some time so make sure you go back to the list from time to time and add things. For each item on the agenda ask yourself these three questions:
Is this important to me?
Does this serve a basic human need?
Does this create value for my life or the lives of others?
On a separate sheet label these things into two categories:
Things I want to do and Things I do not want to do
Remember those things you want to do are enjoyable, meaningful, and add value to your life and the lives of others. Those things you don’t want to do may not be enjoyable, or have meaning, or add value to your life and the lives of others but you still have to do them for one reason or another so write on this list as a reminder why you are doing those things. This list will provide you excellent feedback on how you want to show up in your daily life. If you are doing a lot of things that you don’t want to be doing, you can work on eliminating those things while maximizing those things that you do want to be doing.