How Do You Stay Focused When the Bar Keeps Moving?
Has anyone read the book, “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson? It is a profoundly simple narrative about the reality of change in life, and the inevitable, often elusive, search for happiness and satisfaction in life. If you haven’t read it, check it out through Audible if you are an on-the-go reader, or grab a copy and cuddle up with a steamy cup and comfy blanket (well maybe not the blanket in summer, but you get the drift)
If you have made it through any real “phase” of life, you know satisfaction and happiness is not something you can chase. We can, and should, do certain things to create space in our lives for success and passion. However, we need to realize that circumstances, situations, and possessions do not define us or CREATE happiness in us. They are fleeting; mark my words - someday your cheese is going to shift (again, refer to “Who Moved My Cheese”).
So what steps can we take to stay focused in spite of a bar that is constantly in motion? The bars of finance, business, relationship, education, politics, etc. are either moving up or over; they are rarely stationary. How can you manifest peace and genuine forward motion in spite of this?
First, you need to define what is truly essential to YOU. Realize this - you are the only YOU that will ever be. Embrace this! Accept this! Don’t attempt to fit the same mold as your neighbor, colleague, or friend.
Secondly, determine what you need to achieve those things you have decided are the most important to you. Perhaps you need to take apart your previous belief about happiness. We have been raised in a society that teaches we need things to be happy. But when the things are gone...what then? If anything, the past year or so has taught us (or should have) that life is short and importance comes in a much different package than we thought. You can do ALL the things - education, training, reading books, networking, etc - but if you don’t possess a firm foundation of belief in what is truly important, they do not fulfill for the long haul.
Thirdly, take a moment. Take a moment for whatever you need! I know that is a super blanket statement, but it is so subjective. When the cheese is moved again, and you have lost your way through the “maze” of life - chasing the next best thing, do you know how to regroup? Maybe you need a walk, a bath, a glass of wine, a date night, or a friend night. Whatever it is, TAKE THE MOMENT. The bar will always change, but your satisfaction in life can be sound and stable regardless because your hope and peace are not based on circumstance.
Perspective is often everything. How we define life and happiness changes through various seasons, and seasons bring change as well. But the foundation created through these disciplines will help you stay focused on the path rather than the bar (or the cheese).