Picture it: you see photos of what someone else is doing on Facebook and think your life isn’t exciting enough. You see someone else who has a cool job and think you’re not doing that great in your career. You see someone with a hotter body, and feel bad about yours. You see someone who has created an awesome business, and think you’re not doing enough. You read about people who are traveling the world, learning languages, going to exotic resorts and restaurants, and wonder why you’re not.
Of course, you’re comparing your reality to an ideal, a fantasy.
It’s not a comparison that makes sense. You can’t compare apples to apples when you compare yourself to anyone else. Which means it’s a dumb comparison — why would you compare how tangy an orange is compared to a beach? They’re not similar things.
If I was quizzed throughout my day about the reason why I do certain things I would pause, mid-bite in the middle of some buttery food, and ask myself why I was eating it…and have absolutely no idea. Because I want to? True. But more often than not, I am punished for it later. If I really thought about the reason behind eating something that was not-so-good-for-me, would I choose something better? Probably. How about with all the other decisions we make in our lives?
‘Who’, ‘what’, ‘where,’ and ‘how’ are the bones of every decision we make. They are the structure of the action that brings our purpose to fruition. The ‘why’, the most important question, is the lifeblood of every purposeful action we take. Living with purpose is understanding the motive, the drive, and reason for doing the things we do every day.
The Why feels, before it knows. The key is feeling farther into the future. Seeing what we will feel in the future, rather than what we want now. It’s taking into consideration your future-self. This is the reason I make my bed every morning. It’s a very small detail in my day, but I do it so that when my future-self walks through the door at the end of the day, there is an organized calm in my bedroom. The bed is ready for me when I feel like falling into it. The further you look, the better.
To find your purposeful Why is to find the feelings you desire. What’s beneath the bones that hold you up, the muscles that propel you forward, and the skin that keeps you from falling to pieces?
Give yourself an extra moment to think about why you are doing something. Start with one a day. Why am I eating this food? Why am I staying up late? Why am I putting this assignment off? Sense the change in your language as you think about the purpose. I used to eat food because it tasted good and gave me comfort. My deep purpose for eating is to nourish my body and give my cells energy. When I’m choosing lunch for the day I am more prepared to make the healthy choices that align with the latter voice.
Think about your Why. Really focus on the deep purpose of why you make the decisions you do. Will your future-self feel good about your choice? If yes, go for it! Do it with passion. And if no, hang back for a minute - perhaps it’s not right. What would the consequences be?
The reward of choosing right is always worth it. We know this. But the child-voice in our minds, demanding that he or she gets what it wants now is the voice to be ignored, and definitely not coddled. Find your authentic voice - the one that belongs to your future-self. The voice will tell you its deep purpose. Let that be your guide.