Posted by: crustynomad | February 14, 2008

Living in the moment

The following article was first published on the helium.com writers website. You can view some of my other articles here.

Think of your life as a road. You approach a junction and you are faced a decision. Do you go one way or another? In life we can become all-consumed by indecision for fear that whatever choice we make, it will be the wrong one. This is an understandable reaction but pretty irrational because whatever this road or path leads we always get the choice to change direction again.

Where we are in our lives today is essentially the end results of two separate series of actions that run alongside each other. One is based on our own internal decision making and how we react to the situations we are faced with and the other are the external events over which we have absolutely no control. Making the distinction between them both is very important.

How our days pan out and how we feel emotionally about them can be determined by a series of unconnected events seemingly beyond our control. Your child spills a drink on your monthly report, the heel comes off your shoe on the way to the bus stop, you miss your train or it’s delayed. While we can usually accept that these things happen in hindsight, when faced with the actual chaos, it feels as if the world is conspiring against us.

The future changes with any decision any of us make no matter how trivial it seems in the greater scheme of things. Nothing is forever and everything has its time. Life is cyclical with good times and bad which is what makes being a human being so fascinating.

We mustn’t dwell on the ifs and buts as we’d never leave the house but we should note that there are things we simply cannot do anything about. If we deal with what we can change – our thoughts and our decisions – we take the pressure off ourselves.

Take this very moment in time. You could leave this page right now if you wanted…or not, and plod along to the very end of the piece. You could decide to throw your PC against the wall, make a coffee, go and fly a kite or fix that dodgy roof slate. These are all decisions you can make right now and you could change your mind a million times before you do any of them.

I guess what I’m trying to say is is that life is about choices. In any situation we can decide what we want to do. We may be afraid of the immediate consequences but if we know in out heart that the decision is in our best interest we should just do it.

Personal development guru, Tony Robbins, has long stated that we all have the ability to change in a blink of an eye. Once we decide what we want we are different and moving forward. This really resonates with me now despite it being a concept that I did not fully take on board when I first heard it.

‘We can all change in an instant’

Too often we create a perception of where we are in life and are left feeling frustrated and unfulfilled. Change feels difficult to achieve because we focus on the obstacles in our way rather than opportunities. A decision can change everything if done with conviction.

Our lives are dictated by our decisions and our reaction to the situations we are presented with. If only we are prepared to set ourselves free from what we think will be negative consequences and positively decide what we want, the rapidity of change will surely accelerate.

How important then is gut feeling? If we consider every single possible result of our actions we are potentially letting in doubt and can then be paralyzed by indecision. However, if we think too narrowly we could be missing a golden opportunity and therefore risking a journey up a blind alley.

‘How long do you dwell in your moments of decision?’

For me, I have to relax, take a moment to breathe and consider my choices. When I do this and don’t skirt round an issue I find I get much better results. It’s a matter of timing and if done consistently, I have a more balanced outlook.

Changing your beliefs will maybe take a little more time but like anything, if you get practiced at making decisions rather than going with the flow, it will become easier.

I don’t pretend it’s completely straightforward, especially if our habits are deeply ingrained, but we do have the power to chose our reactions in any given situation. If we only allow ourselves to fully believe that we always have a choice then anything is possible.

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