"An unexamined life is not worth living."–Socrates
Read the quote above and take a couple minutes to think about it. Consider how it applies to your life.
Thought about it? Good.
I thought about it, too. Here are a few things that came to my mind...
First, I think the process of regularly evaluating one's life should be a part of everyone's routine. We should constantly seek awareness of our thoughts, actions, routines, shortcomings, mistakes, and so on. Then, by using whatever we learn from this process, we can steer the course of our lives in the desired direction. For many of us, this will be a “correcting” of our path back to the intended, most direct, route to our goals.
Take time each day, week, or month and evaluate how you are spending your time and the direction your life is taking.
If we never take the time to stop and evaluate the route our life is headed, we quickly find ourselves getting distracted and headed down winding roads that may or may not be getting us closer to what we want. It’s often the wind of life that blows us off course.
Personal reflection allows us to adjust our sails and return to our intended course.
When you avoid self-reflection, you let your problems, that brew “under the surface,” boil until they eventually spill out in the form of freak-outs, mid-life crises, and other undesirable, totally avoidable, happenings. If you allow it to, your subconscious will literally turn you into a different person. The only way you combat this is by being aware of what’s going on below the surface. You can’t sweep your problems under the rug and expect them to stay there forever.
They always come back to the surface.
The more aware you are, the more power you have to make decisions that align your actions with your intended course. You'll are in tune with what you are doing and where you are going, like an expert navigator at the helm of a ship.
This is a calling to analyze your life.
Just like any project at school or work, you should set aside time to do a thorough analysis of your life every so often (once a month is good). If you’ve never done this, that’s awesome because you have a gold mine of possibility just waiting for you to engage in the exercise. (I’m excited for you!)
Use a spreadsheet or a notebook. Be analytical about it. Ask yourself hard, probing questions. Take notes. Write to yourself. Do this before going to bed for a month (this puts your subconscious to work while you sleep). You’ll be amazed by the results.
Most people never do things like this, like ever. But you are different. You give a damn about your life and future so you are going to spend some time making sure you are living it right.
Many of you will have a difficult time with this at first. The biases ingrained in your subconscious will fight you every step of the way throughout this process. Your Ego doesn’t want to be poked and prodded by inquiry. It will try to convince you of your own BS. Don’t let it. Dig down deep inside and pull out the truth.
How do you feel about x, y, and z?
Why do you do what you do?
Where can you improve?
What is brewing deep down under the surface?
What is holding you back?
What are your strengths and your weaknesses? And how can you improve the latter and use more of the former?
Come up with your own questions. Write them down and the next time you complete your “life analysis,” you can compare your answers. This simple process can change your life.
Like an expert sailor, you must be aware of the direction the wind of life is blowing you. By paying close attention to your map, and making subtle corrections at the helm, you will stay true to your plotted course.