This past weekend ushered in the celebration of Chinese New Year – the Year of the Dragon, 2012. It’s a year when many of us are faced with needing to grow more disciplined physically, mentally and emotionally. Now is a good time to commit to learn from our mistakes so we can grow from them. It’s time to reconcile the gap between where we have been to where we are now, and plan more effectively for our future generations. It’s also a perfect time to consider our own personal mindsets – what has hindered us, what has helped us, and what has triggered us to make the choices we made over a long period of time.
Based on Questions That Will Free Your Mind from another popular blog site, here are eight self-reflecting questions that will help clarify thoughts as we explore who we are as human beings, and why we do what we do.
- Are you more concerned with getting things done or doing the right things? – Do you allow your morals and convictions to chart your course of action? Do you set specific goals and accomplish them? Are you actively participating in a legacy that is greater than yourself, or are you merely striving to impress others due to a deeper, unmet emotional need for affirmation – encouragement that you are smart, capable, dedicated, and able? Realize that there is a difference between being busy and being productive, and your productivity is directly connected to your personal discipline, emotional well-being and moral convictions.
- To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken? – Our lives are a combination of our decisions, as well as our reactions to decisions of others (note: our reactions are also our decisions). Are you willing to take responsibility for everything in your life based on all of your combined actions, reactions, and decisions? Are you ready to begin re-thinking the way you think about people, places, and situations? Are you willing to avoid the temptation to project blame for your circumstances on others, and take responsibility for your part?
- Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing? – Are you more comfortable as a “cog in the machine” – remaining in the background, doing your part, and putting in your time without making waves? Are you convinced that standing alone on any moral issue is likely to be detrimental to your own wellbeing? Are you hesitant to step away from the collective mindset to offer another view of a situation? Have you listened to that negative voice in your head that says: It is what it is…it doesn’t matter…nothing will ever change? Which is worse to you…failing, or never trying?
- When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? – We’ve all heard the well-spoken orators and political leaders, their promises and principles espoused to willing listeners. There are those who promise “change”. But to what extent are promises and convictions actually followed through? Be an active observer. A strong leader unites people community-wide. A strong leader believes in his or her constituents enough to gather them to help set achievable goals. An ethical leader will accomplish those goals in due time, and give credit where credit is due, not necessarily where credit will be a popular reflection on them. Be mindful to the goals which are both set and accomplished. To what extend are they all talk and no action? And from a point of personal reflection, what promises have you made to yourself, your family and friends but have yet to follow through to fruition? Which brings me to the next question…
- What is one thing you have not done that you really want to do? Procrastination is one of our greatest hindrances. We dream about what we want to become, but it seems far easier to continue dreaming rather than pursuing the challenge of change and growth. So, what is your excuse? What is holding you back? What’s on your bucket-list? What would you attempt to do if you knew you would not fail?
- Are you holding onto something you need to let go of? - Are you holding a grudge…dragging old baggage through life that weighs you down? Are you mourning what should have been? Are you convinced that something new and different will happen if you wait long enough, but are hesitant to take action on your own? Well, it’s time to hit the re-set button! Stop beating that dead horse and dismount it already. Refocus on the future, and let go of your past. Harboring bad feelings toward people and situations will only hurt you. As the saying goes: Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping your enemy dies from it. Your emotional walls of protection may keep those offenders at bay, but they do something else you might not have considered – those walls imprison you and prevent you from being completely free and totally whole. Let it go! Rid all hateful and bitter feelings from your soul. Because when you do, you just might release your own body from chronic illness, bring peace to that racing mind, and settle your heart once and for all for things which truly matter. Then begin fresh with a brand new attitude toward your own life, your own opportunities, and what you can do to help others around you. Getting your mind off yourself and on others is one of the most fulfilling, healing things you can do for YOU.
- Have you been the kind of friend you would want as a friend? Do you bring life to or drain life from your relationships? A true friend looks to what he or she can bring to a friendship, rather than what he or she can get from it. (Note: successful marriages work this way too!) A true friend takes ownership of his or her promises to others. You can take a true friend at his or her word. Which are you – one who is absorbed in self-preservation at all costs, or one who helps others become the best version of themselves? One will stagnate while the other flourishes. Losing sight of your own selfish interests just might be the most freeing exercise you can develop in your relationships.
- What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you? Yes, people watch you. They watch me too. But why do you care? Are you afraid of other people’s opinions about you? Do the opinions of others hinder what you do or say on a regular basis? What if - for once - their opinions did not matter? What would you accomplish if those voices were silent? What if your accusers had no authority over your ability to shine? For if you allow yourself to shine as you were meant to, you naturally – and unconsciously – give others permission to do the same.