Why you need a philosophy of life
I like to watch people.
Maybe it’s an introvert thing or maybe it’s my endless preoccupation with how life works and how best to live it. I like to read too and gather endless inspiration from people’s stories of success and adventure in business and life, but watching is more insightful because it’s immediate and the insights come from my perspective not that of the writer interpreting their own thoughts action and behaviours at a later date.
Before I go any further I need to explain something first:
You live in a world of your thinking. We all do.
That thinking creates your experience of life moment by moment.
You are NOT your thoughts.
Why is this revolutionary?
Whether you realise it or not, your beliefs (which are simply thoughts you continue to think until they become truth for you) are arbitrary. They are probably a collection of conclusions you’ve come to through experience and ideas that have been impressed upon you from external influences since childhood, so - arbitrary. And they are not THE truth. You may have made them truth for you but they are not THE truth.
And that means you can change. You can strip your beliefs back to only the undeniable basics and start again from the ground up, questioning the relevance, helpfulness and serviceability of each.
Ahh ok, but what’s this about a philosophy of life?
Your current beliefs have been gathered over time to form your personal blueprint for living, a framework of what’s possible and impossible for you. We could call it your philosophy of life, expect that you didn’t consciously design it like Franz von Holzhausen designed the Tesla Roadster. For most of us there is no design to the design at all, we’ve cobbled together a random combination of beliefs and are living with the consequences, creating a philosophy of life that’s something out of a Mad Max chop shop - you’ve got a fast getaway covered but there’s no beauty, luxury or satisfaction in that ride.
And if beauty, luxury and satisfaction or some other combination of evocative words excite you then it’s time to redesign your philosophy of life.
So back to watching and how much I love it…
When you watch (and listen to) people you can tell a lot about their philosophy of life. It’s written all over their actions, behaviours, conversation and aspirations. So it may be easier for a well attuned stranger to read you than for you to read yourself. The way we think means we’re immersed in a world that appears as though things happen to us, rather than us happening to things. The idea of awakening really means waking up to the fact that we are creating our experience of life. And if for a moment you can glimpse that you are not your thinking, that thoughts really are like little fluffy clouds, you can consciously choose which to engage with and which to let float on by. And this is the way you let go of unhelpful beliefs, they’re just thoughts and you can let them float on by.
Your new philosophy of life - a short how to guide (requirements: 30 minutes, pen, notepad, quiet - put all tech and distractions away)
Life audit - ask yourself how is life for me now, list what’s working well and highlight what’s not
Belief critique - what’s not working in your life points toward unhelpful beliefs, dig deep and list them i.e. if I’m not in the financial situation I’d like to be I’ve got some unhelpful beliefs about money - unearth what they are by noting down the things you say about the money, the ways you behave around it, the way you feel about it
Redesign those unhelpful beliefs to your advantage - it has to be believable i.e. if your unhelpful belief is ‘its impossible to do what you love and earn great money’ - it might be too big a leap for you to go with ‘I do what I love and earn $1million a year’. Going with ‘every day I find more ways to do what I love and earn great money’ might be a great place to start
Create a shortlist - decide on 3 to 5 of your most compelling redesigned beliefs, they will become your philosophy of life for the next year.
Lock those new beliefs in - (you must do this otherwise the old ones will suck you back in) by keeping them top of mind through visual reminders and every day looking for and recording evidence in your life that they’re true
The mistake lots of people make is trying to reinvent by going from the Mad Max chop shop to the Tesla garage in one step. Have you seen the kids movie Nanny McPhee where the Emma Thompson’s nanny character loses one undesirable feature each time the children learn a lesson? Throughout the film nanny eventually goes from warts, snaggle tooth and a unibrow to beautiful. It’s the same with life. It’s step by step, consistency, focus and determination to change habitual thinking.
If you’re keen for some guidance, here’s my current philosophy of life:
life is an adventure (helps me relax and be less serious)
challenge brings clarity (helps me give perspective to things that might otherwise see me stuck)
you get what you focus upon (helps with everything: wealth, opportunity, love, so catch yourself when you’re thinking more about the absence of what you want rather than how fabulous it might be to have)
Enjoy and let me know how you go…