When you free the truth of what you need, you are truly free. But have you?
This very nerdy post tries to apply old-school psychology for daily use.
There was an experiment many years ago, and now I invite you to be the subject of it.
You have 30 seconds. Please answer this question:
What are your three priorities in life?
Starting now! Clock’s ticking…
What is your answer?
According to the study, around 80% of people answered with the three goals that serve their health, relationship, and work. And it didn’t matter if they were given 30 seconds or 3 hours.
Here is my version of the answer:
- Be a healthy person by proactively choosing how to eat, exercise, and rest.
- Be a loving person by making my family and friends feel connected and happy.
- Be a passionate person by inspiring myself and others to do meaningful work.
Since then, I have asked a couple of friends what their answers were. And indeed, it’s always about health, relationship, and work. Sometimes, one of the goals would be missing, and it’s often health. When I revealed that they’ve missed one of the concerns of most people, they paused and started to rephrase and say something like this, “Yes, health is definitely important because, without it, I could not enjoy my relationship or my success.”
Not only that, it goes the same way when you forget you need human connection, i.e., relationship, imagining that you can achieve stuff at work in isolation.
The truth about the human (you) needs
People, deep down, secretly and ironically want the same things. But their conscious mind might not be fully aware. So they often chase the third importance at the expanse of the first and second.
You probably know Maslow’s hierarchy of needs very well. Human beings, before satisfying the basic needs, won’t even think about the psychological needs. And before they are psychologically sound, they won’t be thinking about self-fulfillment.
So if you are chasing self-fulfillment, congratulation! You are the lucky ones. You probably are not worried about dying tomorrow and have some good friends and family that you feel comfortable around.
However, it is never that easy. If people truly know what they want and can act to fulfill their needs, then depression should not exist. In contrast, it is a prevalent problem in the workforce and at school.
Anyone can see that chasing self-fulfillment at work at the expanse of relationships and health is undermining one’s foundation of happiness.
But they do it anyway.
The following will sound harsh to some people. But yes, I am talking about many people who work their asses off without taking care of their physical or mental health, becoming increasingly distant with their spouse and children. All for the glory of “supporting my family” and “chasing my passion.” How does one support their family when they are horrible to live with? And how does self-actualization feel when a person is miserable within and has no people to share it with?
Just a friendly reminder
Humans are forgetful animals. When you feel like you lack something, it suddenly becomes the most important thing in the world. That’s why self-actualization is so attempting because most people don’t have it yet. And when you fixate on it, everything else that you already have seems to have no relevance.
That’s why we hear stories times and again of people who survived deadly accidents suddenly viewing the world differently, changing their set of life-long values. Something more important than their ego was almost taken away, so they started to appreciate them.
We don’t need a car crash to remind us how precious our lives are and how grateful we are to the people we love.
We can remind ourselves.
Since I knew my weakness of forgetfulness, I started to inspire myself by learning, journaling, and sharing ideas with my friends, family, and in blog posts or on YouTube.
Once I realized what was driving me in the past, i.e., self-actualization, is only one-third of the equation, I knew I must find a way to change. Because it obviously will not serve me well in the years to come.
Now I can have goals and progress that genuinely make me happy.
The fun part…
… is to choose the low-level goals that push your success in health, relationships, and work. In short, you cannot change what you want fundamentally, because you are a human being. But to make those your reality, you have a million paths you can take. And each of them offers a unique experience and excitement along the way.
That is your choice, and that is your freedom.
When I realize what I truly want is my health, my relationship, and my work. I start by clearing my schedule for my exercise and my family. I have enough on my plate already, but it’s not an excuse to put off the most important things.
“Momentum and confidence involve taking 20 steps in 1 direction, not 1 step in 20 directions.” — Dr. Benjamine Hardy
If you have more than three priorities, you have none.
On the other hand, if you knew what’s really important to you and started to work on it, you have already succeeded. Take some time to thank yourself and enjoy the upcoming fruit from your focused effort. You deserve this!
I cannot wait to share more of my personal learning experience on goal setting and execution with you. The disappointment and excitement are what make it all worth it. While I know the ways will be different for everybody, I want you to know it’s possible that someone out there is living an exciting life by changing themselves.
Thanks for reading! I am seriously curious about how many people might feel like I’m punching them in the face or yelling at them to straighten up their priorities. Let me know how you feel. Otherwise, I will assume everything is fine. 😉
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My little wish is, you find a glimpse of happiness and hope in this post. May the force be with you. I certainly do while writing it.