Every question here I've been asked at some stage of my life, and every question I've hated. Yet by being willing (not always immediately I can promise you) to explore the questions - I've been forced to face my own demons which ultimately changed my life.
So I will ask you the very same hard questions, and then I'll give you some thoughts on how you too, can change your situation, your thoughts and your life.
Richard Bach has a wonderful quote - ‘There's a test to find out if your mission on earth is finished. if you are alive - it isn't!' So no matter what your age, gender, ethnicity or educational background, try answering these 10 scary, in-your-face, yet vital life questions:
1. Have you achieved everything you would like to achieve at this stage of your life?
2. Who or what do you blame for being exactly where you are right now?
3. What are your patterns? What do you keep doing again and again and again?
4. What are you doing to block certain things coming into your life?
5. What piece of advice would you like to give to the most irritating person in your life - write it down right now before you move on to the next question. Hold on to that piece of paper for now - I'll come back to it I promise.
6. What would you do differently if you could start all over again?
7. What are your five, 10 and even 20 year goals?
8. Where would you aim if you knew you absolutely couldn't fail?
9. What would you do differently if your annual income became your monthly income?
10. Who are you NOT to be magnificent?
Question 1: Have you achieved everything you would like to achieve at this stage of your life? If not - why not? So often we decide that we are not ‘worth'. We are not smart enough, not educated enough, we are the wrong gender, we were born at the wrong time in the wrong place etc. etc. Wrong, wrong, wrong. You were born at exactly the right time, to achieve exactly what you are on this earth to do. It's only your ‘thinking' that is preventing you from achieving. Change your thinking and you will change your outcomes. Simple, not necessarily easy. Try the elastic band trick - put an elastic band on your wrist and every time you ‘think' a negative thought - ping your elastic band. Eventually it will become painful. Good! Because the sooner you stop those negative thoughts, the sooner your life will change.
Change your language - instead of saying ‘I should' say ‘I could' ... at least it gives you choice rather than guilt. When something bad happens to you, try asking the question ‘What's good about this?'
Question 2: Who or what do you blame for being exactly where you are right now? Blame is a terrible waste of energy. We can spend our whole lives blaming our parents, our teachers, our siblings, our friends and our spouses. No-one is to blame for where you find yourself - you are exactly where you need to be, surrounded by exactly the right people (friends and family) to teach you the lessons you agreed to learn in this lifetime. Bummer hey? The people in your life are actually your living, breathing angels. Take a deep breath and listen to them - try to understand the messages they have for you, because they do have a message for you.
Question 3: What are your patterns? What do you keep doing again and again and again. It could be attracting the same horrible boss, or the same abusive partner or perpetuating the same pattern of earning money, spending money and staying poor. Your patterns are great clues as to what you need to do differently to change your life. And once again, if you are in any doubt that you are the centre of your patterns and therefore 100% able to make the decision to change them - re-read question 2.
Question 4: What are you doing to block things coming into your life? Patterns and blocks are huge clues as to why you are not getting what you want out of life. Though they sound the same, they are actually different. Your patterns hold the clues to your blocks. So long as you keep blocking the understanding of why your patterns keep happening, you will be destined to repeat them. The trick here is to ask yourself another couple of questions - like ‘Why do I keep doing this? What lesson am I supposed to learn from it? And then sit back and wait for the answer to pop into your head. And it will. I promise.
Question 5: What piece of advice would you like to give to the most irritating person in your life? Did you write it down? Read it again right now. I did this exercise with great alacrity on a personal growth weekend because the person who irritated me was also at the workshop and I thought I was going to get to tell her exactly what I thought about her. We were asked to hold on to that piece of paper for the next 2.5 days of the workshop. And then with great drum rolls we were asked to retrieve our piece of advice and give it to .......ourselves! Real bummer! What the presenter was telling us was that the people that irritate us have a gift - they are reflecting back things about ourselves we would rather not face. How about that? So think about that irritating person - what do they do that annoys you and is that something you do as well? We all have blind spots. All this person is doing is reflecting you back to you. So once again, like friends and families, this person also has a gift for you. The gift of knowing yourself, warts and all. And that's OK - no-one is perfect.
Question 6: What would you do differently if you could start all over again? It's never too late. Don't live your life in regret. Think about that 100 year old lady who takes her first tandem parachute jump. Remember you are never too old to do anything you choose. Every day of your life is a chance to do whatever it is you want to do and have believed you never could. So get going. Don't waste another single second of your very precious life.
Question 7. What are your five, 10 and even 20 year goals? Do you set regular goals? This is where the rubber really starts to hit the road. It's so easy to dismiss goal setting, yet most of us spend more time planning a holiday than we do planning our lives, and then wonder why, at 40 or 50 or 60 or even 70, we are looking back with regret for all those things we never did. It's not difficult to understand why the craze ‘100 things to do before you die' took on a life of it's own. So what you're your 100 things you want to do before you die? Get writing the list and get started doing them.
Question 8: Where would you aim if you knew you couldn't fail? We put so many obstacles and ‘buts' in place to excuse or rationalise why we haven't achieved what we wanted to achieve. If in doubt - re-read question 2! And sometimes, we are just lazy - it's easier to not achieve in some ways, then no-one expects anything of us - including ourselves! The problem in this life isn't that we aim too high, it's that we aim too low. There's very little you can't do if you put your mind to it.
Question 9: What would you do differently in your annual income became your monthly income? So often we think that if we had more money we could achieve all the things our heart desires. Not having enough money is the biggest human ‘but' of all. Yet look at the hundreds of people who win Lotto and all it does is bring them misery. Why is that? It's because money actually won't bring you happiness - yes it can help you be miserable in comfort, but if you are a person who finds all the reasons why you can't do something, even having money won't change that thinking. So if Aunt Bertha leaves you her fortune, all that will happen is you will lose it, or spend it or find some way to waste it and be right back where you started. You will never be happy with what you have until you are happy with who you are. That is our human journey. To learn to understand and love ourselves because ......
Question 10: Who are you NOT to be magnificent? How dare we waste our God given talents? How dare we sit and wallow when we have everything we need to achieve anything and everything we set our minds to?
And I leave you with some of my favourite quotes. Try pinning these up somewhere so you will see them every day, that way, if you are in the slightest danger of slipping back, they will remind you not to....
"Everything happens for me not to me." Byron Katie
"Nothing outside you can ever give you what you are looking for." Not known
"And then came the day when the risk to remain in a tight bud was more painful than to blossom.' Anais Nin
"There are two ways to live your life. One as if nothing is a miracle, the other as if everything is a miracle." Einstein
"You've not come here to make a choice - you've already made the choice, you are here to understand why you made the choice." The Matrix
Ann Andrews CSP