How can the habit of awareness drastically change your life?
14th of May 2022 | Emotional Intelligence, Leadership, Mindfulness, Personal Development, Self Help
If you were like me, you would be wondering: " What is awareness in the first place?"
Before I take you on a new journey of thinking, I want you to know that I am a human being passionate about People and Culture. My world revolves around personal development and savouring a life worth living. You can feel free to flow or fly. In case you disagree with me, you scroll away.
If you choose to stay, I promise you to move one step further in your life, whether it is at work or in your personal life. This can only happen if you trust the process and live by it.
Going back to my question, Awareness, as I live it, is a state of being conscious and present of where you are and how you are acting at every instance of time without the need for judgement.
"….Is it hard to acquire it?"
First, let me share with you how we lost it… yes, we did lose it. We were born pure like a blank slate, with no distractions. Think of it that way; as we were growing up, we heard our body and we were aware of its needs. Therefore, we cried when it was time to eat. Our parents attended to us. With time, we grew up and learned how to talk, walk, eat and play. However, at the start, we did not have a choice. Our parents decided for us.
Then, we joined the school. We moved into a new environment where we did not choose the knowledge or subjects. It was the responsibility of the teachers to deliver what the education system chose for us, and for us all…
Whether at school or at home, we were constantly tested. We were judged based on poor interactions and responses. It is how our Awareness shifted from the inner self to the outer world. With the exponential growth of technology, social media diverse platforms adopted the same concept, yet in a modernised way. At the very start, these outlets were supposed to be at our service, bringing the world a few steps closer to us:)
Unfortunately, the misuse of the internet and social media for instance contributed to building frameless internal prisons… We socially isolate ourselves wherever we are, even when we are out and about supposed to be socialising with family and friends. Wait, don't get me wrong… although we were socially isolated, we were more than ever open to social trends that kept us away from ourselves… we developed a need to conform.. we lost complete track of our identity and became slaves of trends, news, looks, and many other titles…
This lifestyle somehow created a conflict between who we truly are and how we should be based on the new standards of our society.. we moved into a lost, disoriented and unfulfilled state of mind struggling to figure out what we genuinely want.
We GOT STUCK!
To answer your question, it is not hard to acquire it but it requires a lot of commitment to set a process in place to gain our awareness back. It is a habit after all.
Yep, a habit that requires some unlearning first.
Aren't you aware that everything in life is an acquired habit?
From the way we think, to the way we eat, to the way we dress, to the way we talk…. Our screen time is a habit. When we first started using our smartphones, we used to check them occasionally. We had a normal life where we made the intentional effort to visit or even call people who were close to us. We left work at the office and moved on with our life. Sooner than expected, we were completely consumed with messaging, and emails all from the comfort of our home with no time limits. And now, checking our phones became a necessity as we did not want to skip any email, and now any notifications from the pages and accounts we subscribed to. The new normal became the prison that up until today many of us enjoy… Not to forget, the influence we had on those around us, especially those who looked up to us… We offered them the habit on a plate of gold, as early as 1 year of age!
"…. What does this have to do with Awareness?"
We moved to an autopilot position… Most people nowadays are stuck to screens wherever they go…They skip on real human interactions that enrich their brains and their souls. As per research and experiments, this addiction is wasting our brains. Not exercising our brain enough leads to a lazy state of mind and corrosion. It is basically affecting our physical health as well. In the long run, spending that much time on the screen is associated with lower levels of physical activity. All of the above contribute to a stagnant state of being and a wasted life where you end up dying while your symphony is still dormant in you…
When your routine becomes unintentional, when you wake up in the morning with no purpose, no goals or objectives, you move in life with no direction, simply on autopilot, which is the worst enemy of Awareness…
".... How to be aware?"
To be aware is to train yourself daily to be present of what is going on around you whether you are on the train, driving a car or even eating your lunch at the dining table. It is the first step towards living the moment and intentionally doing the things that work for you in terms of achieving that purpose you were born to deliver.
Your next question might be:
".... wait! What if I don't' have a purpose?"
A purpose is not like an extra option you order for a car… it is a built-in tool as important as maps nowadays… it provides your car with the right direction. In this busy world, you might have lost track of it… maybe because you did not have time to be with yourself enough to explore the superpowers of your purpose.
Let me ask you this:
"When was the last time you sat and had conversations with yourself with no device, no people, nothing around you, with just you?"
Most people will say NEVER… most people never explored the power of internal conversations..
Because we were conditioned to believe that our opinion does not matter as long as we have someone who can choose for us…
We fall apart when we are completely alone and we have no one to rely on… This is where the power of a purpose persists…
A purpose fuels you up when everything and everyone around you does not make sense…
Have you ever been in a position where you were empty-minded?
To discover your purpose, you must declutter your mind… I am sure you feel the noise in there, which is preventing you from living with peace and clarity…
"....How to declutter then?"
There are so many ways to release… They range from meditation to yoga to guided meditation, to walking in silence… My favourite technique remains JOURNALING. When I discovered it, I chose quiet places where I wouldn’t be interrupted. I would take a pen and a copybook that I like. I would set my alarm for 20 mn and pour down all that is passing through my mind, even if it was something as simple as I feel like having dark chocolate, or I should do the dishes… what you write doesn't really matter and should not really make sense as long as it crossed your mind at that specific moment. I also use swimming as a way to declutter. I simply swim laps for 30 to 60 mn during which I have “conversations with myself.” This would lead to a discussion and sometimes a fight:) it stops where ideas are clear.
Taking that break from everything has been a blessing in disguise… yep, in disguise because it gets lonely at some point where you start being aware and start seeing things clearly independently from the way you were programmed to see them and react to them.
However, there is one important idea I need to highlight as we are going through this experience. You can never enjoy this process if you don't really feel the need to change. Awareness is actually the first step towards transformation. And transformation is what will drastically change your life to a higher level.
"....I feel I need a transformation, but How can I be sure?"
Imagine you were about to plan a climb to Mount Everest!
Yes, I did choose Mount Everest for a reason…
If your purpose is not high/hard enough, your passion wouldn't be intense enough to do all that it takes to achieve it! Therefore, when the purpose is divine, the preparation must also be divine. Going back to Mount Everest example, we all know that we must be physically fit to go on such a tough journey. We must be aware… this Awareness will put a light on our body to see if it can handle the adventure or not. If not, and you still want to go, you will have to develop new skills and a set of habits to raise your body to a new level of performance that will allow you to go ahead with your plans.
The same goes for your life. First of all, you need to have a purpose. It is at the centre of your transformation; it will empower you to stretch your comfort zone and move it to a new level to unlock your untapped potential not only on a personal level but also on a professional level.
Can you imagine how your personal growth will impact your family, your health, your relationships and your work?
".... Do you mean that I can grow in my career?"
Yes, of course… I will explain further…
The days have changed where employees and business owners had to leave their problems at the door to come to work fresh and motivated… The negative effects of personal challenges have a direct impact on performance at work, subconsciously more than consciously.
Your energy reaches your colleagues and your clients the minute you enter the room.
Not only that…
Are you aware that the sum of the energy of the employees is equal to the energy of the organisation?
Therefore, every time an organisation invests in the mental wellness of its employees, it will be investing in a sustainable successful future. I have experienced the growth of so many teams who developed a collective awareness and moved from being demotivated, deflated and unfulfilled to developing an unprecedented passion to work. They grew through work as part of a balanced life.
"..... can you share a few practical steps we can use to build that awareness?"
- Wake up early. Don't snooze your alarm. Make it a habit to respect your commitments. Simply, jump out of bed
- Exercise even if it is for 20 mn first thing in the morning. It has a proven effect on the way you feel for the rest of the day.
- Don't check your phone first thing in the morning. Instead, learn something new through audio or a book. The best-case scenario is to leave your phone out of your bed space.
- Look around while driving. Appreciate what you see.
- Challenge yourself to discover new roads.
- Attentively listen to people while they are talking without having the impatience to answer.
- Change the watch position from right to left or vice versa on regular basis.
- Go kayaking.
- Use some of the clothes you don't normally wear, especially when you are afraid to be judged.
- When faced with a challenging situation, don' have the urge to react and solve it asap. Stop, take your time thinking then discuss.
To count a few…
Changing small things in your daily routine will get you to move out of the autopilot state towards a creative state of mind where you are constantly aware. Give yourself permission to elaborate on this list. The main goal is to stop that state of acting without thinking.
".... and what would we really gain from all that you have shared with us right now?"
Raising your awareness is the foundation of abundant life. It paves the way to preventing conflicts and predicting amazing results. It gives back the power to your gut and natural instinct to guide you instead of letting it suffocate under autopilot mode. Before I leave you alone to reflect more on that, I will share with you one final lesson that will make sense of all of the above. I am sure you have heard of the “7 levels of awareness’. Have you?
Let’s go deeper…
The 7 levels of awareness will provide you with a framework that you can always come back to as you are growing from this day onwards. Understand though that each level corresponds to a specific state of mind. I would say that almost 90% of the population around the world (this is an approximate figure that I concluded based on some readings) are stuck in the lowest 2 levels. And 9% are spread between the next 4 levels. However, only 1% reach the highest level of greatness.
(A more detailed understanding of these levels is available in “Intentional Reset” a book I wrote to guide individuals to move from where they are to where they wish to be.)
- The REACTION level is mostly called the “animal level” which is associated with the subconscious reaction we have when we are offended by people or circumstances. At this level, We have the tendency to use a language that we regret later. The difference between animals and humans is the mind they have that is supposed to allow them to stop and think before they react. However, if not nurtured, the conscious mind stays dormant and gives full power to the subconscious behaviour.
- The REFLECTION level is the level where we have a need to be validated. Therefore, people on this level will always follow trends. They never trust their own opinions and have the tendency to give power to the opinion of people around them. Even if they have something special, they don’t show it because they feel better when unnoticed.
- The ASPIRATION level is when a person starts having the feeling of breaking free from the whole. They know that they are special and they are ready to share their uniqueness. They become curious and start learning more about themselves and about ways to differentiate themselves and break free from conformity.
- The SELF-RELIANCE level is when a person develops self-belief due to the repetition they experience as they are learning more about their aspirations, their purpose and their passions. They start taking steps daily to improve. They see value in themselves and day after day they become ready to move to the next level.
- The DISCIPLINE level is the level when the person puts their thoughts into action. They trust themselves, they stretch their comfort zone regularly while being aware of the value they will add to their life. They develop a habit of appreciating who they are and where they come from which intensifies the discipline to move to the next level.
- The TRANSFORMATION level is the stage where discipline leads to experience. The person’s gut takes back control of their life. They are more aware of the 4 dimensions of their being and they know that developing their Mind, Heart, Soul, and Health together leads to a new level of BEING. They live in the present moment. They are grateful and always in a mode of growth knowing that with every mountain peak they reach, they will have another mountain insight to overcome.
- The GREATNESS level is where true Leaders belong. It is the level where the person becomes selfless. Their personal aspirations become secondary compared to a vision of leaving a legacy. On this level, it is all about helping, nurturing and navigating others to achieve what is beyond their existence. At this level, leaders care about those around them and support them in every single way even if that means putting their interests aside. People at this level are not attached to life. They have overcome every fear and they live in a state of peace and joy.
Don’t we all want to be at this 7th level?
It is actually the story of our life… not any life… the life of those who understand that this life is a temporary journey that does not actually revolve around us individually… the beauty of it comes from this collective awareness of making this world a better place.
I invite you to join me on this journey where we can all contribute in one way or another to give back and support those who are most in need.
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