Is It Time To Take Your Life Off of Cruise Control?
Socrates said that the unexamined life is not worth living. So, I am going to help you out here and invite you to examine this question, what would you be doing if you weren't afraid of anything? Would you still be in the career you are in? Would you still be with your partner? Living in the same town, hanging out with the same people? Would you be engaging in the same activities? Would you have the same goals in life?
Too many of us become passive participants in our own lives. Once we program the destination on the navigation system of our lives, we drive on cruise control and most times not even allow ourselves to think of changing course. We go through life feeling unfulfilled. We may indulge in an occasional detour into fantasyland, we dream of moving somewhere nice, finding true love, or opening our own business. But then we very quickly cave in to the voice of fear masquerading as the voice of reason, and shoot our ideas down as unrealistic or too risky. Then we put the vehicle of our life back on cruise control with the same old unfulfilling destination. One we set at a very young age when we were ill equipped to make meaningful life decisions.
Before we even graduate high-school we are asked to choose a major for our college degree. The prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that helps curb impulsive behavior and enable good judgement, doesn't mature until we are 25. We barely have had any significant life experiences, yet we are expected to know what we want to do for the rest of our lives. The same is true for other major life decisions like choosing where to live or who we want to marry. We end up feeling stuck with decisions our young self made.
The longer you are unhappy, the longer the negative consequences on your life are. Your mood suffers, your health suffers, your relationships suffer, your self esteem and self confidence suffer. Changing course in life is never too late. You don't have to allow fear to hold you back. You have the power to make changes that will bring you joy and fulfillment. Yes, change can be scary. Feelings of failure, frustration and disappointment are potential consequences of pursuing your dreams. But they are ever present in your life when you keep settling for the safe yet unfulfilled life. So, what have you really got to lose?! When you grow older you will not regret the dreams you have chased and failed at. But you will regret the ones you haven't pursued due to fear.
In my work with clients, I guide them in examining the contributing factors to their discontent with life. I encourage them to define their personal values and assess whether their lives are aligned with them. I help my clients open their minds to unlock possibilities they may not see yet and support them in forming actionable steps to move toward their desired path. We tackle fears and challenges along the way and explore ways to get through them. It takes time and effort to create a life that you can be excited about, but there is a huge payoff when you finally get there. Destination: Happiness!