Our brain is protective of us. In our subconscious moments, we are living in survival mode. But as we are evolving physically, we are also evolving mentally with time.
Now that we don’t have to hunt every time we are hungry, we are developing our emotional sides. We see growth in compassion and kindness throughout the world.
Sure, there are certain evils, too; but we are constantly evolving as a community and species. And the reason behind this evolution is our consciousness. The more conscious we are becoming, the more we are trying to live meaningfully.
I doubt if people living in caves would be thinking about how to live a meaningful life. They were bothered about surviving the attacks from wild animals and not starving themselves to death. Also, reproduction — because that was one of their primary goals.
But we have evolved now, and it’s high time we break the patterns of living on auto-pilot and start to live our lives deliberately.
In this post, I’ll mention 5 things you need to avoid to live a meaningful life. Here are those 5 things to avoid —
Letting your fear make your decisions
We only feel two emotions — love and fear; everything else is a variation and a derivative. Happiness, joy, acceptance, etc. — these are the derivatives of love, ego, hate, anger, etc. — these are the derivatives of fear.
Our default mindset is set to fear-based thinking because that’s survival-based. Switching ourselves to a love-based mindset would mean we are shifting our focus to growth and meaning.
This switch is only possible when we become aware of our thoughts. Our thoughts influence our feelings.
When we recognize we are feeling good, we must reason why am I feeling this way. Likewise, when we recognize we are feeling unpleasant, we must reason why am I feeling this way.
This switching from fear to love is possible with Gabriel Bernstein’s 3-step “Choose again” method.
You shouldn’t look out to manipulate your emotions. Step 1 is to be aware and accept everything as is.
After becoming aware, you need to forgive yourself. Because if we don’t forgive ourselves for our past choices, we will fall into the pit of self-hatred. Forgiveness is freedom: for you and others.
The third step is to make the shift. Deliberately, you can choose to make decisions with love intending towards growth and prosperity.
Living your life without alignment
I once dated a girl whose love language was touch. She expressed her love with “touch,” aka hugs, cuddles, handholding, etc.
My love language is quality time. I like to spend time with others. Just being there. Probably not even doing anything. Or doing typical random day things like eating and cooking and watching Netflix. But I also do seek my personal space.
The issue was, whenever we were together, she always used to seek touch, handholding, hugging, etc., and I felt like she’s intruding too much of my personal space. Our love languages and core values didn’t align.
And we were too young to figure out why we weren’t happy together.
The same goes for any career. If my core value is quality family time, and I am working in a job where I have to travel for five days a week, I would probably not be happy in my life because my core values and my job don’t align with each other.
The alignment will redirect you to live a meaningful life.
Seek alignment in —
- Your and your partner’s core values and love languages
- Your life purpose and your career goals
- Your thoughts, actions, and emotions
Design an imaginary compass for your life. Be self-aware of who you are, your core values, standards, expectations, etc.
Set this imaginary compass in the direction of your life purpose. Deliberately choose your decisions from here.
Whenever you need to decide anything, like dating someone, or a career opportunity, put in on this imaginary compass, and see if it aligns with your life purpose and core values.
If it does, go on and get it. If it doesn’t, just let it go.
Having an external locus of control
This is elaborated by a stoic concept of trichotomy of control — some things are under our control, some things are partially under our control, and there are things we can’t control at all.
We could control studying really well and getting into a world-class college. Getting a job in a reputed company would be partially in our control, with certain uncontrollable factors like — there may or may not be openings, etc. But getting hit with a virus that has stopped most of the world for half a year — that’s totally out of our control.
The more we focus on things we can control, the more meaningful life we would be living.
Make a list with 3 columns —
- things you can control
- things you can’t control
- things you can partially control
Differentiate in these 3 columns and plan objectively. This will your step 1 of making an action-based plan to live a meaningful life.
Not learning how to silence the noise
To live a meaningful life, we must learn how to silence the noise — both internal and external.
Cutting out the external noise would mean avoiding sensational and unnecessary news. This would also mean cutting out all the doubtful voices around you.
Silencing internal noise is a practice of stillness.
Going beyond these noises, we would be clear to accept the realities of life. Being still will offer you answers and provide you a direction to live a meaningful life.
The best ways to start practicing stillness is meditation and mindfulness.
You can start meditation practice by sitting comfortably, closing your eyes, and focusing on your breath for a few minutes every day.
By having 1 meal every day uninterrupted by news, TV, or even gossip, you can start practicing mindfulness as well.
Not analyzing our days and actions
Out of the 4 daily habits a monk recommended me, one of them is analyzing my day every evening.
I have been practicing it for 3 weeks now, and it’s such a subtle and simple, yet transformative practice.
You can do this by either sitting in meditation or doing a journaling exercise every evening.
A simple daily analysis practice would mean asking yourself these 3 questions —
- What worked well today?
- What didn’t work well today?
- What can I improve?
The more you analyze your thoughts, actions, and feelings — the more meaningful life you will start living.
Here are the 5 things you must avoid to live a meaningful life —
- Letting your fear make your decisions. Our default mindset is set to fear-based thinking because that’s survival-based. Switching ourselves to a love-based mindset would mean we are shifting our focus to growth and meaning.
- Living your life without alignment. Whenever you need to decide anything, like dating someone, or a career opportunity, see if it aligns with your life purpose and core values. If it does, go on and get it. If it doesn’t, just let it go.
- Having an external locus of control. The more we focus on things we can control, the more meaningful life we would be living.
- Not learning how to silence the noise. To live a meaningful life, we must learn how to silence the noise — both internal and external.
- Not analyzing our days and actions. The more you analyze your thoughts, actions, and feelings — the more meaningful life you will start living.