I recently posted on social media asking my audience what subjects they would find value in me covering, so my next few blogs will be addressing some of the things that people commented about on that post. Today’s blog is going to discuss coping strategies for busy people from all walks of life, and life hacks for staying focused even in the most chaotic of times.
In the modern World, we are all ‘on’ 24/7.
Even though most employment contracts state that employees typically work a 40 hour week, when you total the amount of time people spend answering e-mails, taking phone calls, and diverting precious thought energy to their work lives, it’s actually a LOT more than 40 hours a week for most. In fact, I bet you’d be surprised at the number of hours you spend either in or on your job if you were to take the time to add up everything you contribute, both on the company’s time and yours.
The main driver behind this ‘always on’ status is the hyper connectivity that now pervades the planet – it is estimated that 5 billion (yes – billion with a ‘B’) people will have smart phones by the year 2019, meaning that more than half the global population will have instant access to the hive mind. Instant access to the answers for any question you can dream of, the ability to connect with individuals across the planet from a multitude of varying cultures and societies, and frictionless flow of information and money.
So, we might leave the office at 5pm, but these days we always take the office with us – we even have it beside our beds whilst we sleep, just in case…
This can be a major source of overwhelm for a lot of people, and it’s easy to see how people can crumble under the pressure of the constant demands their connection to the rest of the world places on them on a daily basis. Is it any wonder stress, depression and anxiety diagnosis have flown through the roof in recent years? Another topic, for another day.
That said, there is no going back – the world is perpetually moving forward with, or without, us. The key survival skill of the modern age is the ability to be flexible and to constantly adapt. Either we grow alongside our newfound technological abilities, or they will surpass us and we will perish.
The key thing to remember is that no matter how hectic life gets, or how much stimulus is being thrown at you, you must stay focused on your life mission; your goals and objectives. In order for this to be effective, you need to make sure you know what your goals are, you know where you want to be in 10, 15 and 30 years time, and you have a rough plan for how you’re going to get there. This must be written down!
A simple analogy is that of making a car journey of several hundred miles – would you just jump in your car and follow your instincts, or would you punch the exact coordinates of your desired destination into your sat nav and follow the pre-determined planned route provided for you? I know which one I choose – so why do we approach life so differently? Seems crazy when you think about it.
Life is a journey, and every journey we make is more successful, and we get to the desired destination much more quickly, when we plan the route and follow the plan. Sure, some people have great success by simply following their instincts and getting some lucky breaks along the way, but trust me – these people are the exception, not the rule. Besides, I don’t like leaving my chances of success up to fate or market forces – I want control over my own destiny, and so I want to be the author of my own map, following a plan of my design.
When we have a clear road map – a life plan consisting of short term, medium term and long term goals, and a grand vision – even the moments of our lives that bring the most chaos and uncertainty become bearable, and solutions for breakthroughs become clear. This is the key to dealing with a stressful, fast paced life where you may be pulled from pillar to post and run ragged – when you are able to clearly and concisely remind yourself of the grand master plan, and your life’s vision on a regular basis, you open deep reserves of strength that allow you to push through any challenge you may encounter.
As a business owner, one of the most baffling things I hear is people’s response to one simple question – “Where do you see yourself in 20 years?” or “What’s your grand vision for life?”
95% of people have no answer. How scary is that? Now, I’ve no idea if my experience is representative of the population as a whole (I sincerely hope not), but the fact that this is my experience having interviewed a lot of potential candidates is particularly disturbing. How are these people ever going to realise the great heights of their maximum potential when they haven’t even thought about where they want to be in years from now, or what exactly they want from life? The simple and sad answer is, for the most part, they won’t.
This saddens me greatly, as I see wasted potential all around me on an almost daily basis, and it is one of the greatest travesties of the modern world. Imagine how different the World would be if even half of the people on the planet took some time to answer these important questions about their lives – just imagine the paradigm shift we would see, and the progress we would make. That vision is certainly something worth striving for – it’s a vision I am working hard to realise through the various things I do.
It’s so important to have a plan – a road map – that guides us; and in times of stress, hardship and challenge it is the one thing that will never fail to get us through. When we have a powerful vision that we connect to passionately, and we have a powerful ‘why’ that drives everything we do, there isn’t a force in the universe that can overcome us. Our minds are the most powerful tools we have, and the more we direct the power of those tools towards our vision, conviction and self-belief, the more resilient and unstoppable we become.
Disconnecting from the Outer World, to Make Space for the Inner World
Once you have your life plan – your road map of goals that lead to your dreams – you need to make sure that you connect it to the deepest parts of your inner World in order to anchor the processes, the focus and the outcomes to the very energy of your consciousness. Experiments around placebos have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt the power of mental focus, and how it has the ability to direct and transform the realities we experience – where focus goes, energy flows… and results show.
As it is important to have a map for your life spanning years and even decades, it is also important to break that down into mini-maps that can guide you through the minutia of the trials and tribulations of the experiences you are bound to encounter along the way as stout tests of character, resolve and determination. You WILL be tested – often.
This means planning more short term periods, such as your weeks and days, to ensure that every minute of your life is spent on becoming the wholeness of you in every way. Life will always throw challenges and curve balls, and this is something you need to accept and learn to adapt to on the fly. Planning your days, and measuring your progress at regular intervals will keep you motivated and help provide the vital information you’ll need to adapt your plan and your goals as life moves through you. Your goals will change, because you will change – always be flexible.
In fact, it is always our lack of flexibility that strains and eventually breaks us – think of the bamboo that weaves and bends in high winds – creaking and croaking but never breaking, protected by it’s extreme flexibility and incomparable intrinsic strength. It is their ability to move with natures that keeps it intact, not it’s rigid defiance. It is those plants that are most rigid, and least flexible, that suffer the worst in the great storms of life – be like bamboo, and bend with the winds of life. Adapt or break, embrace the winds of change.
Remove distractions, and be self aware. Notice when your lower level self is striving to take your higher level self away from your higher purpose. Your mind can be a great deceiver, and you need to understand the rules of engagement in the constant battle between your sub-conscious mind and your conscious mind. Don’t let yourself be drawn by the many distractions of modern day life – social media, smart phones, games, television and propaganda being some of them.
You have your plan, you have a map to follow, so follow it – discipline is the saviour of freedom, and the more disciplined you can be in staying focused on your road map rather than your self-inflicted distractions, the more successful you will be in achieving your goals (and the more quickly you’ll get there). So, when you settle down to execute your plan, turn off your phone, log out of your social media accounts and knuckle down to build the life you want.