Some time ago I began to ask myself how I wanted to live my life and with what intention. It took a while, but I have been able to achieve what I set out to do and I did it by asking myself 7 simple questions every day. In Fact, I bought a whiteboard, wrote them on easel paper, and placed the easel prominently in my room where I would see the questions morning and night. To that, I added one affirmation to help remind me of my power.
The Overriding Question — Did I take care of myself today? I’m not quite sure what got me started on this except that I knew I needed to change. After a lifetime of relatively good physical health, I was recently diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and I was determined to reverse the disease. So, I said. ‘if I wanted a different outcome I was going to have to give some different input.” This was the first thing that came to mind and it began to work almost immediately.
I’m not kidding! Here is the actual easel. I use it all the time and it helps me keep my personal work in front of me. So here are the 7 questions and the one important affirmation:
- What did I eat today?
- Did I meditate?
- Did I exercise?
- Did I tell myself the truth?
- Did I use my gifts?
- Did I use my resources wisely?
- Did I practice my values?
And the all-important Affirmation:
I AM 100% responsible for my emotions, feelings, and thoughts.
The meaning of each question is as different for everyone as is the answer, but I’m filled with gratitude that I can share what these questions mean to me and I truly hope that if there is someone who might get an idea from this that will work for them…Super!
- What did I eat today? — For over 60 years my diet was trash. I don’t even want to share what I ate because it would make most of you sick. Suffice to say that the poor quality of what I ate probably led to my diabetes and if I didn’t want to cut my life any shorter than I already had, this question had to be at the top of the list. This question prompted me to be ever mindful and aware of the quality of what I was putting into my body and how what I ate served my desire to be healthier.
- Did I meditate? — I have been meditating on and off for over 30 years, but honestly, mostly off! This was a way of reminding myself of the importance of giving my mind a break, becoming more mindful of my life and of the need to live in the present. This question may have taken second place on the list but was no less important than number one!
- Did I exercise? — Okay, so now we’re beginning to play hardball. I considered myself an athlete for more than 30 years. I may have trashed the inside of my body by what I ate, but I always made sure I took care of the outside. Yeah, right! Well, that’s one of the lies I told myself for so long I actually began to believe it. I could get away with that for a little while, but now, I had to do something. I’m not 100% in alignment with this question, but I am working on it a little at a time. The question keeps me in check and it motivates me to exercise and be truthful with myself.
- Did I tell myself the truth? — And speaking of telling myself the truth…Why lie? Who gets hurt if do? Well Duh! But who would be surprised if I said we all somehow find a way to fabricate a white one every now and then. Come on, be honest! Ever? I thought so. Now, don’t you feel a little bit better? I know I do. The reality is, in order for me to achieve the reversal of this disease, I have to be brutally honest with myself and others or I’m not going to feel good about myself and not feeling good about myself just…won’t…cut it! This question begins the deep road into my soul. If I miss this one, the list is meaningless.
- Did I use my gifts? — I have a long-held primary belief that every human being on this planet has a unique gift or set of gifts. Yes, Everyone! I am saddened when I meet people who are unaware of the priceless attributes that have been bestowed upon them. Asking myself this question reminds me that I have an obligation to discover, develop and offer what I uniquely am and to remember the law of the harvest can never be violated.
- Did I use my resources wisely? — This is one of my favorites because it took me 60+ years to learn it AND…I say better late than never! I heard a snippet of an Anthony Robbins workshop and he mentioned that most people use the excuse that they failed because they didn’t have enough resources, at which point Tony said, “people don’t fail because they don’t have enough resources, people fail because they are not resourceful.” Huh? That right. It’s not about what I have, but how I creatively use what I have and this question reminds me to be resourceful when I think I’m without what I need. It reminds me that I Can when I AM!
- Did I practice my values? — Honesty, Authenticity, Vulnerability, Accountability, Generosity, Integrity, Leadership, Multicultural Awareness, Respect, Compassion, Gratitude and Forgiveness. These 12 values pretty much sum up what I think is important to strive for if I’m going to strive for anything. There are other values or traits like ambition and empathy, but the primary 12 keep me going in the direction I believe is right for me. Asking myself this question reminds me that conscious effort, collaborative wisdom, and alignment with my beliefs is required to achieve anything.
I have no idea what the energy within me looks like, but I know what it looks like when I misuse it and it comes out sideways. It isn’t pretty and it’s pretty dangerous to me and those around me when it escapes unfocused.
I am not proud of my emotional history and I certainly wish that what I had thought and felt were of a more positive nature. In view of the long lesson plan, a steep learning curve and a slow start, I’m surprised things turned out as well as they have for me, while at the same time it is my fervent belief that this next affirmation and the 7 questions above have contributed to the abundance with which I now live my life. The affirmation is:
‘I am 100% responsible for my emotions, feelings, and thoughts.’
Consciously taking personal responsibility for my internal and external landscape has caused more balance and joy in my life than I ever would have imagined otherwise. Under the system in which I grew up, or maybe better said, “failed to grow up” I was grossly unaware of how to appropriately monitor, control or express myself.
Affirming that I can and have become more aware of and attuned to the effects of my disposition I have been diligently working to stay centered on living a decent, energetic and productive life, serving both my highest good and the highest good of those I contact.
So there you have it! One man’s perspective on personal change and fulfillment consistent with a new mission, “I co-create a world of peace, joy, and fulfillment by offering life-giving perspectives.” And, I am starting with my world.