How do you master your life? One of my spiritual teachers suggested that what we pay attention to each day, and every moment of the day, determines how our life will be. He further noted that how we define ourselves influences what we focus on.
My teacher reminded me of a story that you may be familiar with. It's about the two frogs that fell into a pail of cream. The first frog defined himself as a pessimist. The second frog described herself as an optimist. The first frog believed being stuck in the pail forever was his destiny. So, he said to himself, "I'm going to drown; I'm going to drown." That ended up being his fate. The second frog believed there was some good in the pail and began paddling without stopping. And lo and behold, the frog turned the cream into butter, got unstuck, and walked away.
The two frogs used different words to define themselves. Their defining words determined their focus and helped shape their experiences. We can consciously design our lives when we choose the defining words to put in the dashboard of our minds. Like driving a car, the dashboard lets you know how you are doing, how fast you are going, and if things are working out okay. It also lets us know when there is an emergency and if something needs to be corrected or repaired.
One of the tools we can use to help us determine our self-defining words is to create a framework for the different areas of our life and identify the words that describe how we want to be in each of those areas. The descriptions will remind us how to live our lives and determine how we move forward in those areas.
The framework includes the following:
How we interact with others, and
The idea is to choose the words that define how you want to be in each area. For example, a defining word for mindset could be, like in the frog story, "optimist." If that is your defining word, when a challenge or problem arises, you don't deny the facts of the situation or see sunshine when it's raining. Instead, because of how you have defined yourself, you take the stand that there is a solution, and you have the tools to handle the challenge.
When it comes to physiology, defining words could be "enduring" or "strong." Such words are reminders that you have the stamina needed to serve more people and how you show up every day. When interacting with others, possible defining words could be "fully present." In productivity, a defining word could be "disciplined" because that is how you can complete tasks.
By selecting defining words for yourself, you start creating your consciousness dashboard. If you look at the words on your dashboard regularly and make them words you live by, suddenly, you start experiencing a different quality of life. If we don't define who we are in life, life defines it for us. Others describe it for us. But when we specify who we are, we take personal responsibility by keeping the qualities we want to have and the person we want to become on our dashboard. And that's who we become.
I invite you to take a piece of paper and write your defining words in the four above-listed framework areas. Keep that piece of paper next to your computer or where you can see it, and every day, without fail, read it. You’ll be amazed at how your life will change.
Peace and Blessings,