Too often we conduct our lives in such a way that life actually runs us instead of vice versa. I have used the term “live an intentional life” in the past when discussing this, but what does it actually mean? To me, living a life of intention means determining what you want, determining the plan to get what you want and then executing that plan. In this way you control the parts of life that you can control, leaving fewer things to chance. And part of the planning process is determining what you need to eliminate or sacrifice to get what or where you want.
I talked to thousands of people last year via email, speaking engagements and blog comments all expressing their wish to get ahead or experience more personal and professional success. Yet, when I watch the vast majority of people, they simply struggle with taking control of their lives. So I have come up with a list of 4 Things You Need to Eliminate From Your Life That Will Make You More Fulfilled:
Watching the tube is the national past-time in the United States. Each year the average American will watch 5 hours of television each day. That means if a person lives to see 70 years of age, they will have watched television for 15 of those 70 years. And that’s on average! So here is what I suggest: eliminate your pay television service. There is a world of wonderment waiting to be explored, which you are missing while you watch television. Get outside and walk. Take up gardening. Learn to paint. Make a list of the books you have always wanted to read and start checking them off. Go for an evening drive. OR go back to school at night and finish your degree. I often wonder how people’s lives and the world would be different if more of us used that 5 hours each day to participate in a more useful activity.
Life is what happens while you are busying making other plans. – John Lennon
Or in most people’s case, watching television.
I recently saw a meme titled Smart Phone Zombie Apocalypse. In the picture were college kids walking across campus and 99% of them were walking while staring at their phones. This is fairly commonplace these days. But like television, there is a world that exists outside of technology. Facebook, Twitter, selfies, foodies, usies, Snapchat…you name it and it exists to devour our attention. There is now a term for the fear of being without one’s smartphone: nomophobia. And according to Psychology Today, this phobia affects 40% of modern societies. And just like television, technology is gobbling up your fulfillment and robbing you of happiness. I understand the want of clicking photos in order to capture the moment, but often time, the technology is a major distraction from the real, live events going on right in front of you! The more you ween yourself from this anchor, the more experiences in which you will be fully engaged. And in the end, life is all about experiences.
This is a tough one as no one wants to end friendships, but sometimes you just need to realize it is time to begin the process of distancing yourself. And not being supportive occurs in many ways, not just being obviously negative and contrary. Having people in your life that don’t support you robs you of two crucial things: 1. encouragement and help in living your dreams, and 2. life energy that could be used to produce positive and productive results. I know too many people that are surrounded by naysayers and negative thinkers which stifles that persons growth and expansion. There comes a time in life when you must gauge how much energy you are using as you drag those anchors around. My general rule is to surround myself with people that tell me the truth, not what I want to hear, while also supporting me with positive vibes and encouraging actions.
There is a difference between being productive and staying busy. Busy people want to create the illusion that they are working with purpose while productive people live with purpose. I have noticed that busy people tend to be mostly disorganized and have many tasks going on simultaneously, yet rarely finish anything. Busy people will often express to others that they have no time, meanwhile life passes them by at lightning fast speeds and in the end they have accomplished little to nothing. I believe that allowing life to run you instead of you running your life is the main difference between staying busy and being productive. Find one purpose for your life, take control of your schedule by eliminating the busy work and begin to slow yourself down. I have watched too many “busy bodies” waste years of their life only to realize their waste and experience tremendous regret. Take inventory of your schedule and begin taking control.
Life moves so quickly these days and it is easy to allow our lives to get a bit out of control. Instead of living life we get wrapped up in things that kill time, which results in unhappiness and regret. In order to live a more fulfilled life take inventory of how you use your time and energy.
Cut back on the television and get out more. Stare at the clouds or hold your spouses hand on a walk at the park. Take time to invest yourself in people and experiences instead of technology and schedules. If you heed the words in this post and take time to live life, I promise you will begin to fill your heart and mind with an energy that television, technology and staying busy will never bring you.