Friday, October 16, 2009

Learning Is A Full Time Job

Personal Growth Can Start Happening RIGHT Now!

Have you ever really stopped and looked at your day - truly been present in it and looked at the lessons you are learning throughout the day, and who is teaching you . . . who is shaping who you are and how you behave?

As you may guess, I spend a lot of time "introspectively" (if that is even a word) viewing myself. I try very hard to look at my life and live the path that I work with you on. I ask myself every night what's working in my life, and what's not working. And I look to what I can do better tomorrow.

As difficult as it can be, I do try to live what I preach.

In the past week, I have found myself doing it even more often . . . during natural breaks in a conversation, while I'm driving, making dinner, or even sitting at my desk getting work done, in between tasks. I have found myself looking at not only my day to day life, but also my hour to hour life. And I've been trying to be aware of my state of mind at each step. And trying to make corrections.

Now, I'm not going to lie. I'm not very good at it (yet). But I have found myself more actively trying to correct behavior before the moment fades from thought than I ever have in the past.

I don't try to do it "in the moment", because I try to be present, but as soon as I can when the moment is over, learn and move on.

I try to listen better when I know I've been distracted.

I try to re-orient myself on my daily goals, when I know I'm drifting and getting distracted by less important issues.

Even if something went the way I had hoped it would, I find myself looking for things that could go better - looking for ways to improve it for the next time I'm in a similar situation.

Changing Your Perspective

I guess what I'm saying is that the more you act on this model of behavior, the more you begin to look at life differently. You stop seeing life as simply happening to you - in a way that you are just a passenger on a train to wherever the conductor chooses to go. Instead, you get to decide where you want to go next . . . what you want to be and who you want to become.

For example, one of the skills I constantly struggle with and work on continuously is listening. I often times try to impress others with my knowledge and bombard them with more and more information instead of listening to them and finding out exactly what they need. I've always known this to be true, but I always had a hard time seeing myself doing it, as it was happening - I get emotional about the issue and fail to correct myself.

Now, although, it still happens, I have been able to see myself more objectively - as conversations happen. Rather than waiting until the conversation is over and looking at my mistakes, I've started to really enhance my ability to see what's working and what isn't more clearly, when the conversation allows. I try to find ways to get back on track, if I've drifted and started to monopolize the conversation. And I begin to become a better listener, before things get out of hand.

Try Applying It In Your Own Life

As you go about your day today, just take a couple moments, once or twice through out the day, and ask yourself, "what's working right now?" and "what isn't?". Then real quick make a small adjustment (consciously) and move forward.

Now I know that we all do this at an unconscious level all day long. But that tends to result in the "status quo" - because that's all the unconscious knows - making corrections to our actions that keep us in the rut we're in.

However, if you can make this happen consciously - before the memories of the mistake disappear into your subconscious thoughts, you will begin, ever so slowly to reshape your behavior, not just daily (on a cursory level), but also on an immediate basis, where you can affect real change.

Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear about examples of how YOU are making near-real time corrections throughout YOUR day.

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