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Fear: Why We Can’t “Just Be”

Fear: Why We Can’t “Just Be”

    We are busier than ever. Technology is leading us down the road of being able to be busy wherever we go and at any time. It’s a constant stream of information that comes in, is processed in some way, and then goes out. We tell ourselves that we have to “make something of ourselves” and that we must always be creating to keep our edge. Yet, we have to consume information to “be-in-the-know” to keep that same edge.

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    It’s tough to “just be” anymore. Why can’t we stop for moment and see things for the actual way that they are? Why do we have to keep ourselves busy, obsessed, and “passionate” all of the time?

    Fear of what is real

    For many people the thought of stopping to feel anything that is real in their lives is a distant afterthought to all of the projects and actions that they have forced upon themselves (or been forced upon by others). I know that this is the case for myself. I’d most times much rather check things off a list that I can make endless for myself than stopping, getting out of work mode, and see my surroundings for what they really are. If I stop to take a look at what things truly are, then I may have to make a change in my life and change is hard.

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    The thing that we forget to realize is that this “stopping and being” is just another part of staying productive. If we don’t face the fear of seeing things for the way that they truly are because of the perceived pain of change, then we could be setting ourselves up to take on projects, actions, and even goals that don’t mean a damn to us.

    Fear of the uncertain

    Fear is a strong motivator, but it tends to be in the opposite way that we would like. Fear of uncertainty is another reason we have a difficult time stopping and being. I’m always freaked out that I won’t have enough money to take care of me and my loved ones. This uncertainty of the future motivates me to do things that are possibly not the greatest for me, like take and keep jobs that promise me decent money but don’t give me personal satisfaction in return, or take on side work that I know will help pay for things, but could leave me little time for anything else.

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    We don’t completely know what tomorrow will bring. Or even a minute from now. But that is a constant. We can plan for that uncertainty and face it.

    What to do about it

    The tips below are practical and possibly obvious, but that’s a good thing. The fact is that they work, but only if you work them. Most people won’t work them – they will scan over them and continue on. If you are experiencing the fear mentioned above, don’t scan these and move on. Try them out.

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    1. Plan times to stop and be for a moment every day, multiple times a day. You don’t have to be Buddha, here. Simply stop for a moment outside of your email, phone, notifications, and anything else that keeps you busy. Stop and breath deep through your stomach. You can think whatever you want to think, just try to come back to your deep breaths.
    2. Plan times to write every day. You don’t have to be a poet or autobiographer, here. Simply get out pen and paper or your trusty plain-text editor and write your ass off. You can write about anything that you like. You may find some of these fears mentioned above start to come out. It’s a good think to notice them as it’s the only way to face them.
    3. Plan times to be with your friends and family every day. You don’t have to be the Partridge family or everyone’s BFF, here. Simply hang out with the people you love and remember why you love them. Also, remind yourself why they love you. We tend to think a lot about ourselves and not enough about others that are important.
    4. Plan time to plan for a moment every day. You don’t have to be a professional project manager or Mr. Allen, here. Simply take a look at your workload that is front of you (helps when you have that already defined!) and make decisions on what can stay, what can be gotten rid of, and what you should really be working on next. This step is much, much easier and closer to what you want and need to do when it is followed by the above three steps.

    Conclusion

    Stopping the rat race of your productive life can be tough. Especially since it feels that you never have enough time or energy to get everything done. The thing is that you may not need to get it all done. The only way to find this out is to face your fears of what is real and your uncertainty of the future by stopping and being everyday. Only then can you make the decision of what work you should keep in your life.

    (Photo credit: Crying woman via Shutterstock)

    More by this author

    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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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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