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Discovery and Gratitude: Look Inwardly, Thank Outwardly

Discovery and Gratitude: Look Inwardly, Thank Outwardly
    “One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." ~André Gide

    Today marks Columbus Day in the United States (as well as other countries who pay it observance, such as Spain and several Latin American countries) and Thanksgiving in Canada. These holidays have shared the same date – the second Monday in October – for exactly 40 years, and considering that many people on both sides of The 49th Parallel have an extra day off from their day jobs as a result, today would be a great day to think on the spirit that these holidays were founded on.

    There will be some folks who are well into their workday today despite these two holidays making an appearance, either because they aren’t from a country that celebrates them or don’t have the day off despite that. Nonetheless, spend some time thinking about discovery and gratitude and how much they play a role in your life – or much they currently don’t – and what you can do to enhance their impact on you and those around you.

    Discovery

    Christopher Columbus is regarded as one of the greatest explorers of all time. While he had many reasons for dedicating his life to exploration, one of them struck a chord with me more than the others: the conversion of non-believers. By setting out to discover new lands that he believed were out there, he was able to prove to those who had no such belief that there were worlds beyond their small corner of the globe.

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    Discovery isn’t just something that can be done in a geographical sense. As individuals, we discover new things about ourselves all the time, especially when we push our boundaries. By exploring our own selves we are able to find things in us that don’t appear on the surface. These things can be small aspects of our personalities or skill sets, or can be huge awakenings that tap into something we never imagined we had in us. Regardless, we’re doing the same thing Columbus set out to do every time we explore the possibilities within us: we’re converting non-believers.

    These non-believers come in all forms. They can be co-workers, family members, friends – even ourselves. In fact, it’s by converting our own limiting beliefs that enables us to continue to push further – discover more – about what we can do. Columbus didn’t just stop at one mass of land and wrap up his exploring efforts. He kept going, finding new places and new ways to get to places for much of his life.

    His life’s work was discovery, and it plays a large part in your life’s work as well.

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    Gratitude

    Let’s face it – we all want more of something. It doesn’t have to be materialistic in nature, but we’re always striving to get more of one thing or another. Again, Columbus didn’t just stop with one discovery, did he?

    Yet we can get caught up in the “wanting” of more without being grateful for what we already have. As odd as this may sound, taking the time to show gratitude for what you’ve already received can actually help you figure out more of what you really want. When you’re showing gratitude for what you’ve got, you’re being mindful. You’re contemplating on things, and mindfulness comes with that. The deeper you go, the more mindful you’ll be. And when you get into that state, you tap into what you really want out of life.

    I’ve found that by being grateful for where I’ve been helps me get clear on where I’m going. I used to look back at the workplaces I had with disdain and would kick myself for staying in those environments for so long. But when I really started to think about and be grateful for where I am now, I began to realize that where I had been had brought me here. Sure, I wasn’t a fan of what I had to do to get here, but if I hadn’t been through that then I wouldn’t be where I’m at now. That sense of gratitude allowed me to let go of my disdain and regret and embrace those experiences instead. The more often you do this, the better your outlook on the life you’ve led as a whole will be. You’ll appreciate the road you’ve taken just as much as the road you’re on right now.

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    Gratitude is freeing. There’s no negativity in it. If you ever want to get clear, get grounded and figure out where to go from here – be thankful for where you’ve been, where you are and all the things in between. You’ll be surprised where that will take you.

    “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” – Theodore Roosevelt

    The above quote applies to both discovery and gratitude. With discovery, you’ve got everything at your disposal to make great inroads in yourself. As for gratitude, show it for all that you’ve had and have, and you’ll discover what you need to continue to flourish.

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    Look inwardly, thank outwardly and everything will seem much clearer. And there’s no better path to getting to where you want to go than a clear path.

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    Mike Vardy

    A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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