What do we live for, if not to make life less difficult for each other? – George Eliot, novelist, poet
After pondering Eliot’s quote, I’ve decided to add difficulty to my core values of compassion, justice, and humility.
The most difficult thing in life is to know yourself. – Thales of Miletus
Let’s admit, knowledge of ourselves is finite while ignorance of ourselves is infinite. Ultimately, one’s true-life journey is continuously working on knowing ourselves especially as we age, as our bodies change, as we encounter new relationships and new challenges. That is difficult. This requires self-awareness of one’s blind spots, biases, and triggers as well as our ignorance. Then there is the pain and suffering we experience including:
- the loss of a loved one
- being told you are no longer loved
- the loss of a job
- setbacks that include major health issues, rough upbringing, abusive relationships, bad choices, addictions
- doing the right thing rather than the easy thing
- failing at being emotionally intelligent
- feeling fear that leads to ugly behavior, not changing bad habits, poor health, anger
- shame that leads to feeling inferior or unworthy
Most people don’t grow up. It’s too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That’s the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don’t grow up. – Maya Angelou
I believe we make life less difficult for others when we begin making life less difficult for ourselves. Here is where you can begin that quest:
- Do you have values? Do you live your values? Do you know what you stand for and what you don’t stand for?
- Do you have goals and regularly take an account of where you are in achieving those goals?
- Many of us say the most important things in our lives are our relationships with our significant others and our families, yet when we account for where we spend our time, does it support this?
- How do you treat your body? Do you get at least 7 hours of sleep per night? Would losing weight make a difference in your life? Do you choose to take stairs rather than the elevator or escalator? Do you park a distance away from the front door so you have to walk? Do you get regular exercise including 10,000 steps/day? Is water your primary daily beverage?
- When something seems amiss or goes wrong with your health and mental health, do you address it and seek help?
- Are you intentional about making time to rest, relax and do nothing? Does doing nothing seem like a waste of time and make you anxious?
- Do you love your work? Does your work love you? Do feel your work is of value and makes a difference in people’s lives?
- How often do you get out of your comfort zone?
- Can you build the plane while you are flying or are you a perfectionist and need the plane fully assembled, checked, and rechecked before flying?
- Do you procrastinate and avoid getting things done that need to be done but are not enjoyable or of interest?
- Are there people you can confide in, be vulnerable, share concerns, and get support?
- Do you have hobbies and interests outside of work? Do you travel, visit museums, and challenge yourself with adventures?
- When you encounter difficult times, are you able to remain hopeful?
- How do you handle challenges? Do you see them as problems or opportunities?
- When you fail or make a mistake, do you use it as a learning opportunity?
- Do you live within your resources and means? Does money stress you out? Do you have a retirement plan? Do you have 6 months’ wages in savings in the event of an emergency?
- Do you look for the good in others, especially those you disagree with?
- Do you compare yourself to others?
- Do you value having emotional intelligence over intellect?
- Do others consider you trustworthy? What is your evidence?
- Do you seek and value getting feedback from others on your relationship and leadership regularly? When someone shares uncomfortable feedback, do you become defensive or do you ask for more clarification and seek to understand?
- How diverse are your relationships? Does everyone in your circle of relationships look like you, sound like you, believe as you do?
- What is the status of your relationships with a boss, cohorts, and clients? Are they healthy, meaningful, cooperative, and collaborative?
- Do others find you being interested or interesting – a better talker or a better listener?
- Do you recognize conflict and work to deal with it effectively and in a healthy manner? Do you work to make your relationships with others psychologically safe?
- Byron Katie writes: There is your business. There is everyone else’s business. There is God’s business. In what area of “business” do you spend most of your time?
- Which is more important to you, being successful or being significant?
- Do you believe you can live into a better version of yourself?
In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity. – Albert Einstein
Do you need a sherpa, a coach, an advisor to work through these questions and perhaps ask additional questions to help you create YOU2.0? Contact me, David Carr, to explore the possibilities.