Many of us live in an era with an abundance of opportunities. We want to experience so many things that a lifetime doesn’t seem long enough. We search for satisfaction, pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment. Instead, we feel overwhelmed and fear missing out at times.
For example, my never-ending list includes several books to read, many places to travel to, various courses to take, new people to meet, and experiences I have yet to imagine. It is never enough.
Novelty is what we crave. It is natural and makes us human. But how do we plan around it to avoid getting lost in our long lists of wants and desires?
Being human contains several types of intelligence, including relational, cognitive, artistic, social, somatic, & spiritual. While feeding curiosity on one of them is enjoyable, there is a desire to have a balance on other dimensions of life.
But how does that work for each unique personality? How much do I know about myself? What’s important to me?
What has been helping me is clarifying my values and virtues. Identifying which ones need more attention. How I can develop more depth on those virtues through my daily life has provided me more clarity on my growth path. I ask myself questions like: at this stage of life, what’s the next step in my vertical development? What types of horizontal developments (skills) can support that? What makes me more curious and more compassionate?
Thinking about my values and pattern of my passion over the past few years, I learned that my focus needs to be on more reflective education on my life coaching journey. Gaining a sense of self-mastery in this area has become my top priority value. Digging deeper into adult development science has brought fulfillment and satisfaction in many areas of my life. I feel relieved when I clarify my top priority and can plan for other areas of development around it. The overwhelming feeling subsides and becomes more under control.
Here is what has continued to help me see and appreciate my growth. I create a one-year plan on who I want to be in a year, considering values that need more attention. I envision the more developed “me” in each dimension of my life using cognitive, relational, artistic, social, somatic, & spiritual intelligence? The plan doesn’t have to start in January.
The detailed plan needs to include these points:
- Alignment with my values and virtues. Values can evolve and become more complex based on the evolution of our worldview. This is where we can reflect on our current values and behavioral patterns and see what we can change to expand our worldview. I really like this list of virtues.
- Expanding knowledge of values can help us learn more about our desires. Once we learn more about our true desires, we can choose goals and disciplines to go after them with focus and attention.
- Practice focusing. Learning it from a good meditation teacher makes a huge difference. This is by far the most critical part of the plan considering the excess stimulus in our environment. At the same time, while we need to set a limit on distractions, paradoxically, we need to come to peace with the distractors in society.
- Accepting we can’t always have pleasant emotions. Plan to learn self-soothing and self-care practices when life throws triggers our way. You can watch my workshop on emotional regulation here.
- Identify a safety net of a trusted circle of people who can be there for us when we experience unpleasant emotions, especially powerful ones.
- Being realistic about our time and capabilities rather than planning to only satisfy what society asks for. Get to know your body budgeting system.
- Include plenty of regular and daily rest and relaxation for recharging. Depending on our state of being, each practice may work or not. Trying different approaches and having the right ones in our toolbox can be helpful.
Now, where would you like to feel a sense of self-mastery? Education, career, parenthood, relationship, finance, self-awareness, spirituality, health, environmental crisis, consumerism, capitalism, becoming an intentional yes or no sayer? What other values would you like to pay attention to?
Working on this process is precisely where a life coach can help. Changing our old habits and behavioral patterns is changing and creating new neural paths all over our bodies by staying focused and practicing regularly. A life coach with nonjudgmental support can help make this happen.
And meanwhile, please be patient with yourself. This is a process, and we learn step by step. Let’s stay realistic about the progress and celebrate every step’s victories on our development path.
I’d like to recommend this course in Coursera: Know Thyself – The Value and Limits of Self-Knowledge: The Examined Life.
Let’s grow together and make earth a better place to live for everyone.
Editing credit: Mike Curtis & Parnian Emami