.“New Year’s eve is like every other night; there is no pause in the march of the universe, no breathless moment of silence among created things that the passage of another twelve months may be noted; and yet no man has quite the same thoughts this evening that come with the coming of darkness on other nights”
Hamilton Wright Mabie
The year is coming to an end. Just two days to go. But before we head into 2012 I want to share four questions that you can use so that you don’t lose your way next year.
Have a happy, awesome and meaningful New Year!
Is this useful?
This is a good way to for example weed out thought habits that may not be so useful. Your mind may for instance fool you into believing that it’s the right thing to go around being angry at someone because, well, you’re right. Or that it’s right to dwell on a problem because you had such bad luck or was singled out.
Both thought patterns are quite seductive because they can fool you into believing that you are doing the “right” or “normal” thing. But are dwelling on such thoughts useful to you? Probably not. That will just create suffering in your life, waste your time and do little to solve a practical situation. By asking if something is useful you can stop yourself while heading down a negative path and turn around towards the light again.
What is the most important thing I can do right now?
If you are lost in what to do next in your day, week or life, ask yourself this question. The answer might not always be what you want to hear because the most important thing is often one of the harder things you want to do too. But it can help you to check your priorities and stop you from getting lost in busy work and instead start tackling the really big stuff.
Am I keeping things extremely simple?
It’s very easy to start to overcomplicating things to, for example, find excuses for not doing something or simply because is a regular thought habit of yours.
Overcomplicating things can bring anything to halt. Or make it much harder to get something done.
So I like to ask myself this question a lot. By questioning how I am going about things or how I am planning to go about things with a project or a situation I can declutter my plans and thoughts. And this makes the process of working towards and reaching my goal a whole lot simpler.
I may not always find an extremely simple solution or path towards what I want. But I can pretty much always make things simpler and easier by asking myself this question.
Is there anyone on the planet having it worse than me right now?
When I am stuck on focusing on the negatives, when I feel like a victim and like things are going against me I ask myself this question.
The answer may not result in positive thoughts, but it can sure snap you of a somewhat childish “poor, poor me…” attitude pretty quickly. I understand that I have much to be grateful for in my life.
This question changes my perspective from a narrow, self-centred one into a much wider one. It helps me to lighten up about my situation. After I have changed my perspective I usually ask another question like:
What is the hidden opportunity within this situation?
That follow-up question is very helpful to keep your focus on how to solve a problem or get something good out a current situation. Rather than asking yourself “why?” over and over and thereby focusing on the negatives and making yourself feel worse and worse.
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