Being A Human Being
I don’t normally write about this sort of stuff for reasons I will conclude with. In todays world there are multiple ways we are told to try and live our lives. Whether this be personal trainers, therapists or life coaches, or individuals just trying to be these sorts of people. How we live our lives should not be pushed onto us from someone else's bias, nor should we care about someone else’s judgement of what we do just because someone else has decided to live their life differently to yours.
As a human being, we have numerous systems (organs, hormones etc) in place to manage and cope with a whole host of situations. If we decided to live our life care free, do what we wanted, when we wanted, or decided to live our life in one specific way, do you think we would develop? Would we progress? Would be be able to adapt and develop from situations that we could expose our selves to.
Some traits and emotions that people try and dodge are hard work, discipline, focus, fixation, regret, guilt, failure. But if we are never exposed to these things, how could we possibly develop as an individual.
“You work too hard - relax a little, chill out and just enjoy life” - just an example of someone judging and pushing a bias onto someone else. What if they simply want to work hard, and value that exact trait. As a human being we have systems in place that allow us to work hard, display a good work ethic and be able to make decisions under pressure (Pre Frontal Cortex). We have hormones that enable us to be focused, alert and work within stressful environments (Adrenaline, cortisol etc.) These hormones are not inherently bad, they are essential to human existence. Experiencing these kind of environments, for a certain amount of time will enable us to develop these traits, not only in the working environment, but in other social, physical and emotional situations. We are simply broadening our ability to host and use a bigger set of skills. Being fixated on a goal for the future isnt a bad thing, when it can help us use such traits, and experience certain emotions, and to experience what it really feels like to work hard (a fundamental, evolutionary characteristic), and enjoy reward and achievement thereafter.
We may also come across certain challenges in our life. A challenge will require certain traits to be used. Any challenge we experience, will result in progress in one form or another. Simply overcoming the challenge may put us in a better situation, or if the challenge was too hard, have we built emotional resilience to not let it affect us, or have we learnt from certain mistakes that halted our ability to complete the challenge. If we miserably failed, do we tell ourselves we are failures, or do we learn from these happenings and develop our skill set to overcome this challenge if it was presented to us again. If we live a life free from challenge, do we adapt and progress as much as we could? If we don’t put ourselves into challenging situations, how can we experience the benefits. These challenges could be presented by your career, your training performance, your general life. Embrace them, they shape you.
Following from that, if we are fixated on pursuing a long arduous journey, that has requires mental resilience, work ethic and maybe some sacrifice. Albeit we wouldn’t want to live the majority of our life this way, which would inarguably reduce our quality of life, it does mean that the sense of achievement we experience after succeeding in whatever pursuit you were involved in, reaps much higher reward, and that feels pretty good. The harder something was to achieve, the higher the reward, even if the result is the same.
Lastly I want to tell you a phrase I think sums all of this up. Complacency is the thief of progress (Im proud of that one) If we are too content with living how we are now. If we are too laid back and afraid to work harder because maybe it will acutely reduce our quality of life and that it might get stressful. If we are to scared to take on challenge. If we are unaware of the positives that can surface from potentially frowned upon ways of life. Or if we are trying too hard to live a life of care free, low stress, conscious effort to live how you want to live, will we ever develop. Stress is always deemed bad. It certainly isn’t. Putting ourselves into stressful situations has a whole host of positive adaptations. The part of our brain that controls the flight or fight response is called the amygdala. There is a reason we have that part of the brain.
We are free when we can live freely without consciously trying to.
By freely, I mean aligning and funnelling most of our energy into our values. If we consistently tell ourselves we need to be more relaxed, or more present, are we really living in that state, or are we too involved in trying to live in that state. Can we live in that state without having to remind our selves, or conversate about it, actively and consciously practicing it to try and seek the outcome. We can truly live in the free state of mind, when we can look back on maybe the last few months, or even years and realise what we have been doing does align with your values and you haven’t even needed to vocalise it, tell people about it, actively and consciously practice it. You simply just do it.
So to conclude, returning to my aforementioned point about not writing about this stuff too much, if at all, is because I’m doing it, unconsciously. I work hard, enjoy it, and enjoy the rewarding nature. I have fun, socially and also socialise the exact amount I want to socialise. I have developed the ability to not let things stress me out, perceive things how I want to perceive them in a healthy way. I endure challenges and see growth and development, essential things to be exposed to if we want to progress as an individual, not just in our careers. I rest when I want to rest. I build relationships with people I want to build relationships with, and finally I use 90% of my time and energy to fuel things that support my values. The last 10% is things that are not in our direct control, but then I receive these external things not as negative and disruptive thoughts and emotions, but can reason with myself to not let them affect me.
So firstly I advise you to be aware of what YOU want. What do YOU value? Build behaviours and environments that support and allow these values to thrive. Begin to consciously act and behave and think in ways that ingrain these values, then we can truly live freely and successfully while these thought, behaviours and values are engrained, without having to persist in trying to consciously act to achieve a certain why of life, but we just live it.
Our values can change, and thats actually great. Its a sign that we have been exposed to some challenges, experienced some growth and with an open mindset become more aware of other things happening around us that may shape and reform our values. Nothing is ever fixed, be open to change.
Remember, we are free when we can live freely without consciously trying to.
Luke French | Health & Physique Coach