- Posted by Dale
- On July 8, 2014
- 0 Comments
Maybe it’s just the influence of the ads and infomercials telling me I can lose 20 pounds, feel 30 again, or make six figures of extra income starting this week. Maybe it’s the news stories about people who have accomplished outlandish goals. Whatever it is, there is a subtle but pervasive message in the media that says my life is not the life I should want. Something out there is better than what I have right now. And for only six payments of $39.99, I can have it today!
What I am seeing is an onslaught of messages designed to bring about discontentment. Now, in some cases, we should be discontent and motivated to change. Health is an easy example. Most of us could stand to lose a few (or more) pounds, need to exercise more (and consistently), and should get more sleep. We’re a stressed out society running faster and faster trying to reach some undefined destination where we believe things will be better.
Do we really want a different life? We might say we want to make more money, pursue that degree or have a more intimate relationship with our spouse. But, if we really wanted those things, we would be pursuing them. The fact that we aren’t pursuing them says to me that we have – for some unknown reason – exactly the life we want right now. Until something changes in us – more pain, more dedication, more courage, more dissatisfaction with something as it is now, etc. – we’re going to keep having the life we have.
A cancer diagnosis or heart attack might shock us into making different health choices. But, until then, we’re only hoping that our health would be better even though we’re still eating too much and being sedentary. As my wife says, “hope is not a method”. Hoping will not make us successful or help us reach our goals. The reality – and hopefully, this will be empowering – is that we choose our lives. Maybe not actively, but we choose it nonetheless. It may be difficult to face that truth, but once we recognize that we have chosen the life we have, we can then make different choices.
I need to exercise more to maintain a healthy weight. I need to go to bed earlier to get seven hours of sleep a night. I need to spend time with my wife that is just “us” time so we’re investing in our relationship and not only parenting, managing the finances, etc. If I need to do these things to have a healthier and happier life, why am I not? Is it simply a matter of being more organized and disciplined. Do I need to break unhealthy and familiar patterns? Are there deeper issues blocking my making those healthier choices? Whatever the case, it appears that the roots of what’s causing me to make those choices are stronger than my stated goal and desires. Until I understand the payoff I’m getting from my current life as it is – even if I’m complaining about it – I won’t be able to want, choose, and pursue a different life. Until then, the life I have will continue to demonstrably be the life I want.