Pliable Perception – Making Effective Decisions Part 1
In the previous post in the series, we looked at the fundamental principle of redefining the belief system which underpins your perception. Now we are going to explore a range of tactical tools that can be used to rapidly shift your perception right in the moment.
This first collection of insights is all about making better choices, or you could say making effective decisions. Yes, it is super important that we all aim to live authentically in the moment, but sometimes this can lead to adopting a blinkered perspective where our choices and actions are made out of context with the wider landscape and trajectory of our lives.
These insights offer a little interrupt moment where we can lift of heads and take a breath before proceeding.
Give Less Shits
People have written whole books on how to give less shits and focus on what really matters! I am going to try to keep this simple though… really, what this comes down to is the question of: does this thing really matter or not?
I myself am full of energy, very focussed and I like everything I do to be done to the best of my abilities. This means that I have a default tendency of giving a shit about most things. When I was younger it felt like I had an infinite number of shits that I could willingly give to everything I did… Now as I am older, and my life circumstances have changed, I have begun to realise that the number of shits available to be is actually constrained by time… I simply don’t have time to give a shit about everything and I must prioritise my shit distribution accordingly!
So let me give you a couple of questions that you can choose to ask yourself…
- Is this the most important thing to me right now?
- Will the outcome of this situation improve my life or the life of other around me?
If the answer to both of these questions is no, then I suggest you redistribute your shit somewhere else!
Take time to identify your priorities, then give a shit about them in order. Keep focused and move in your chosen direction… don’t spread your shits too thin otherwise they won’t be effective!
The Obliged Check
This is a little cracker… I started applying this little check when I was in my mid-teens. Your see, I have never liked being told what to do, however I do appreciate that at times you just need to shut up and get on with things. What we are not told though, is that there is often a choice available to us, you may not think there is, but trust me, there is…
We are all conditioned to follow social norms, behave in the expected way, and do what everyone else is doing. The consequence of not going with the crowd is to stand out from it… to stand there alone. Is that so bad?
We are conditioned to not even consider standing alone and bucking the trend. This is the reason why we do not realise a choice is available.
I will offer you this quote:
“Many people suffer from the fear of finding oneself alone, and so they don’t find themselves at all.”
The first time I remember applying the obliged check is when someone from my school died in a car crash. The whole school were in mourning and people who did not even like the guy started to claim they were distraught at his loss… the new on trend thing was to be in mourning.
Then the time came for the funeral.
Now, myself and my close friend John did not like this guy. We thought he behaved like a dick.
We discussed our feelings and thought it would be dishonest to ourselves, and disrespectful to his family if we went. The only reason we could go was because we were obliged.
In the end, we were the only two people from our whole year group of around 150 kids not to go.
The reason to go simply failed the obliged check.
From that moment on, I have ALWAYS asked myself the question:
Is the main reason I am doing this because I am obliged?
If the answer is no, I generally do not do it.
You see, I can’t always say I won’t do these things, as often if you choose not to do them, there will be consequences and impacts socially, sometimes it makes more sense to go with the flow… that is a judgement call to make… the simple act of asking this question allows you to consciously make the decision to do or not do something.
You are choosing to do it rather than it being done to you…
Next time you are asked to go to a family function for someone you barely know… ask yourself this question:
Am I only doing this because I feel obliged?
Recentre on I
This one is pretty simple: Knowing your own values… listening to your gut… doing what feels right for you…
There is a little voice inside all of us that speaks the truth. When you are faced with a situation, you instinctively know the right choice to make. The challenge is learning to hear, and then choosing to listen to that voice.
The first six tools in The Mountain Pathway are all designed to help you learn more about yourself and your inner world. To discover what it is that really makes you tick and who you are as a person.
I will not now explain all of the tools but I do suggest you revisit them to take a look.
Recentring on I is all about knowing that this inner voice exists and that you have the choice to listen to it. You always know what the right thing is to do. You just need to learn how to make the choice to do it.
The answer is in your gut, if the decision you make gives you a sense of relief, you know you have made the right choice. Provided you are being honest with yourself!
When faced with a choice where you are unsure, imagine first what life will look like in a few hours, a day, a week, or even a month from now (the appropriate timescale may vary). While imagining this possible future, listen to your body. Feel for a sense relief, trepidation or even dread.
It is important to challenge and push ourselves, and growth only happens when we feel uncomfortable. It is for this reason I cannot tell you what the right feeling to look for is. What I can tell you though is that with the practice of self-honesty, you will know what the right feeling is, and as such, what the right choice for you is in a given situation.
You have always, and will always, know what the right choice is.
You just need to trust yourself.
You are in the universe and the universe is in you.
Enjoy, for now.