Consider Your Ways

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The temptation is to remain engaged and busy. Productivity feels so satisfying. There’s always more to do, and the world rewards us when we get stuff done with gain, praise, and pride.

But that same productive impulse can also cause us to march blindly on, oblivious to where our path leads or signposts along the way. We stay the course, even if we’re not sure on what course we might be headed.

We need to slow down and consider our ways, taking stock of our life, relationships, work and where it is all headed. Considering our ways often is best suited to an outsider perspective. We need to seek an objective POV, placing our personal biases in context and not allowing them to rule us.

We approach this consideration with various questions, assessing where we are and where we hope to reach.

What About Tomorrow?

Considering our ways is attempting to look into the future to make changes today. And the future is difficult to predict; we’re often wrong about it.

Regardless, we can ask ourselves some basic questions about today (and the future) to prime the mental pump.

If I continue down this path, who will I be tomorrow?

Who will I be when all my tomorrows turn into today?

What will I think of myself and my life then?

The days go slow but the years go fast; tomorrow shows up and we should plan to meet it on the best terms we can muster.

Perceptive, Not Prescriptive

Recipes are helpful. All the steps and ingredients laid out, the path charted and tried. But life is rarely prescriptive.

Considering our ways is not about having a pre-planned solution; it’s about having a holistic approach. We need a habit of assessing a situation from multiple angles and viewpoints, perceiving both the immediate implications and the longer-term results in our lives.

The question we apply to each situation, habit, or action is straightforward:

Does [insert an action, habit, thought or emotion] help or hinder the pursuit of my goals or priorities?

Reflective, Not Anxious

It’s easy for us to get anxious about the future. What are we going to do? Will our plans work out? Will we achieve our goals?

It’s tempting to get embroiled in trying to answer the particulars, laying out that step-by-step plan. The anxiety surfaces when we cannot confidently answer those details.

Considering our ways should not cause us anxiety; it’s reflective work. It’s not the particulars that need answering (those will sort themselves out over time). We’re not trying to predict the future precisely; we’re trying to understand the present and where our choices right now could lead us.

This reflection empowers us, increasing our confidence in our decisions, committing us to pursuing what we value.

Fundamental Questions

Amidst the bustle of daily decisions and tasks, we’re trying (if we’re honest) to answer profoundly personal and foundational questions in our lives:

What do I believe about the world?

Who is the person I want to be?

What am I doing to understand this world and become that person?

These answers do not come overnight or in a weekend retreat. It takes an ongoing investment of time and a practiced habit of meditation. And it’s not sexy; in fact, it’s downright difficult, which is why we so often avoid it.

We need to ensure our minds and our lives’ actions align with where and who we want to be. To prepare for that, let’s make sure we’re constantly considering our ways.

Moving Forward

Do you regularly reflect and consider your habits, actions, and thought patterns?

Start today: set aside a few minutes each day for planned reflection. Take stock of where you are in life and how your daily actions are helping/hindering you from where you’d like to be.

Originally published at https://fjwriting.com on March 10, 2021.

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Lifelong writer and researcher, often can be found at FJWriting.com, pursuing a life well lived

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Frederick Johnston

Frederick Johnston

Lifelong writer and researcher, often can be found at FJWriting.com, pursuing a life well lived