One of the most powerful questions we can ask ourselves is “Is this the way I want it?” It’s a question that we can ask about our lives as a whole, or about the simple things which affect us every day. So for instance as I write this article I can look around my office and say “Is this the way I want my office to be?” If my answer is “Yes, it is”, then I can pat myself on the back and feel a sense of satisfaction.
More likely my answer will be “No, it isn’t”. Then my next question must be “What do I need to do to make it the way I want it to be?” In the case of an office the answer to that may simply be: “I need to tidy the bookshelf” in which case I can just get on with tidying the bookshelf. Sometimes the answer may be much more complicated than that: “I need to get a bigger office”. In that case I can ask myself the further question “What do I need to do to get a bigger office?” The answer to that might be “I need to get a bigger house!” That leads to “What do I need to do to get a bigger house?” Sometimes very small questions can lead to big results.
“Is this the way I want it?” is a question which is significant both when dealing with major issues and minor annoyances. Sometimes quite small things can get left undone, and irritate us every time we see them. For instance we may think every time we open a certain drawer “I really must sort that out”. But we never do. Everything that is not the way we want it drains us. The more things that we have in our lives that we put up with, the less we are going to be happy in our work or life.
If our workspace is not the way we want it, we won’t be working as well as we could be. If our house is not the way we want it, we will not be able to relax properly or enjoy entertaining our friends. If our weight or our fitness is not the way we want it, we are putting our health at risk. Often if we neglect these things they gradually get worse, until they let us down with a bump.
Sometimes of course we have to accept that there is nothing we can do about something. Not many of us like paying taxes for example, but we don’t have much choice about it. In that case it is important that we learn to let go of it so that it no longer affects us. Sometimes we put up with things for the sake of other people. That is our conscious choice.
As an exercise, you could try walking around your house or workplace with a notebook, asking yourself “Is this the way I want it?” Write down everything you find that isn’t the way you want it to be. Then pick one thing off the list and resolve to make it the way you want it to be. Pick something easy to start off with. You might set aside a portion of time each day to cross more items off the list.
(This article was published in the latest edition of my newsletter)