"The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction not a destination."~ Carl Rogers
People often ask me, "How do I get started? I want to live a life of personal significance, but I don't know how to get there...how do I even determine what a life of personal significance is for me?"
The answers to the questions are deceptively simple, yet our human mind will find an almost unlimited number of ways to make it complicated. Our society, with its "norms", with its influences, with its shared perceptions, conceptions, and misconceptions, makes it difficult for us to see, hear, and understand the truth, even when it is right before us in all its glorious simplicity.
The easiest way to begin to live a life of personal significance, in fact, the only way, is to decide that it is what you will do. Decide, "I will live a life of personal significance." It does not matter that you may not know what "a life of personal significance" is to you. It certainly does not matter if you don't know how you will get there...the way to begin is to decide.
I told you it was deceptively simple. When I tell people that this is the way to start, they look at me with that look of, "You really don't understand what I am saying, or what I am asking." They will then proceed to tell me how hard they have worked toward what they want in their life...they will describe in great detail the ways in which they have struggled to make even the smallest part of what they want become a part of their life. (As will become apparent later in this post, "struggle" is the key to this statement.)
I have not misunderstood the question. This is what I meant when I mentioned the truth before us. We are either not able to see it because of the influences of our society and life to this point, or we are unwilling to see it, due to our beliefs.
I ask that, until you have finished reading this post and given yourself some time to reflect on it, you suspend your doubt and disbelief that my answer to "how do I get started?" is not what you are looking for.
Let me explain what I would do to begin living a life of personal significance, no matter where I am in my life. This is the method that I use each and every day, in all areas of my life.
Set Intentions / Expectations
The first step in living a life of personal significance is that you decide to do so. Set your intentions to live your life in a way that will be significant to you. Decide to live our your dreams, create your desired life, and do what your passions are drawing you to do.
I know this sounds oversimplified...but it really isn't. This is exactly what you need to do if you want to live a life of personal significance...set your intentions. Decide that a life of personal significance is your end goal...it is your destination.
Expect that your intentions will become your reality. If you truly intend something, then it will truly become. Your expectation should be that it is a given, that there is nothing that could stop it from happening. If there is no expectation of the fruition of your desires, then there is not really any intention...without intention and expectation, what you want is just a dream...with them, it is a certainty.
How do you know what a life of personal significance is to you? That is an excellent question. The answer is again, simple, yet it will be hard for many to hear or accept.
Throughout your life to this point, you have identified many preferences. As you have sifted and sorted through your experiences, through the things you have heard about or read, through the circumstances and situations you have encountered, you have formed preferences. You have seen things and situations that you like. You know of things that make your happy. You have experienced things that have made you less than happy. You have found things that are not to your liking.
A life of personal significance will contain your preferences. Your ideal life will be a composite of the things you have identified as the things you prefer. It is easy to identify preferences, and when you know what you prefer, you know what you want in life...and what you don't want.
Think of a life that contains the preferences you have identified. What would you love to do with your life? Where would you like to live? What circumstances would you like to live in? These preferences encompass every area of your life. To live the life you dream of is to live a life of personal significance.
It is important to at least ask yourself the question of why you prefer things in a certain way. It is important to understand why you want to live this life you dream of. "Why?" is a very important question, because it will get to your motivations and it will reveal what really drives you...when you understand why, all else seems to become simple. Delve into the why.
Now you know the two most important things...the what (your preferences) and the why (your motivations.) It is time to get to work in making sure that what you want is clear. Visualize your life as you wish it to be. Spend some time every day in thinking about your life as it will be. Feel it with every sense. Make it as real in your mind as you can. Involve all of your senses. Think about how it will make you feel emotionally as well.
As you go through this process, and as you experience more life, you may wish to adjust things, to add, or take away certain parts. You may want something different today than you did yesterday. Adjust away. Don't worry about what you wanted yesterday...it is what you want now that is important. You will always be changing, and your ideal life will change to accommodate everything you identify. You are never stuck with something that no longer suits you. You are always free to choose a new path, new goals...it does not matter how much effort or time you have put in on the "old" desires...the new ones are what matters.
Bring to mind often...check in
The next thing you need to do to bring about your life of personal significance is to keep the life you wish to live at the top of your mind. Think of it often (remembering to think only about the things you want in your life...not the things you don't want.)
One of the things that most people get stuck on with this is trying to think of the "how." We are conditioned, within our society, to know how we will get something accomplished. This is a false condition. It is not necessary to know how you will do anything. You just have to know what you want, why you want it, and have set the intention to have it...the how will present itself. The Universe will arrange this. If you determine "how" then you have eliminated all but one way that your ideal life could come about...there are an infinite numbers of ways that it could happen, but if you set your sites on just one way, then all others have been eliminated. If you allow the Universe to choose how things will play out, you will have an amazing ride, and in the end you will realize that it actually happened in the best possible way.
Set reminders for yourself to think about your life as you wish it. Pay attention to the things happening around you...for when you do, you will see subtle indicators, usually from places you could not have imagined, that things are moving into place. Reminders might be things that you will see at certain times in the day, or they might be alarms set to remind you to think for a few minutes about the life you wish to live.
Pay attention to how you feel. Your emotions and emotional state are a good indicator of how things are going. If you feel negative emotions, then you need to adjust how you are thinking about things to align with what you want. When you feel good, you will find that things are lining up for you. Try to remember to check in with yourself on a regular basis. It is difficult to remember at first, but as you gain some practice, it will become easier and more natural.
Remind Yourself that there is no rush/that all is perfect
There is no rush to all of this. Your life is perfect as it is...it is just not like you wish it to be...that doesn't mean there is something wrong. You must start where you are...and things will change, as long as you have set the intention and you expect results.
Remember that as you move forward, things will change, but the changes may be small and you will not notice them...not until you look back over a period of time...then you will see the vast difference...the growth and development. Each step will seem like only the next logical step...and even when that last step is taken, you might not even notice it, as it will be the "next logical step."
Most of the work that needs to be done is internal. You will need to work on your emotions and your thoughts. This work is very subtle and much of it seems to take little effort...and that is not how we have been taught that things work. We feel and have been taught that we must offer large effort for large change...and that is not the way things work. It takes no more effort to create a "small" thing than it does to create something "large." This is hard to accept, but try...it is integral to this new phase of your life.
Accept the perfection of your life and the perfection of the timing of the changes in your life. All that you intend is coming to you.
At the beginning of this post I mentioned that people may feel that they have struggles so hard and only made a little progress. It is understandable when you realize how things really work. We are taught that it takes effort and struggle to accomplish things...and this is not necessarily the case.
Struggle is resistance to our alignment with what we want in our lives. It is actually pushing against things. What we all need to do is to learn to allow things to happen, rather than making them happen.
The Universe wants what you truly want. It is the whole purpose of your existence on this physical plane. The Universe craves the expansion that is coming from your life, and that expansion was not meant to be a struggle. It was meant to be smooth and exhilarating. There is nothing wrong with struggle, for it helps us to identify new ways of looking at things. It helps us to identify new preferences, which, again, lead to expansion.
Allowing rather than forcing, is a path of much less resistance. It is the natural flow of things. If you look at nature you will see evidence of this allowing everywhere...our lives are meant to be the same as that. We have learned, however, to resist that easy path...because it doesn't seem like there is enough effort being put in for the rewards we seek...but merely allowing is far more effective than forcing and controlling everything. Relax and allow it all to unfold as the Universe plans it.
That is all that there is to starting to live a life of personal significance.
First Intend and expect. Next, get clear. Bring it to your mind often. Don't be in a rush. And finally, find ways to allow it to happen, rather than making it happen.
Go through the entire process on a regular basis. You may even want to reset your intention daily. It won't hurt. Repeating the process will refine it and as you get practiced at it, it will become easier and easier, until you find yourself doing the whole process automatically...and witnessing the results quickly and in ways you could never have imagined. Keep the "what" and "why" in mind. Allow it to happen...don't worry about the "how."
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by putting this into practice...at least to try it out. Leave a comment and let us know what you think. Ask questions, and keep us up to date on how things are progressing.