Have you ever seen this stupid ad on your phone when you check your mail: “How Can We Take Control Of Our Future?” That’s obviously a lie - they will gladly take your money in exchange of false promises.
But this morning when I saw this message, I thought, maybe there is some deeper meaning in all this.
How can I control my future if I could be dead any minute? Or people who love me and whom I love could be dead in the blink of an eye too… That’s not exaggeration. People die every day… That’s a fact of life.
Another fact of life is that we don’t control anything. That being said, there are some ways of how I could move to the direction where given the right circumstances my life could be immensely improved.
For this to happen, I need to start balancing the four areas of my life: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
My physical self needs at least 3 basic things to start moving in the healthy direction - sleep, food and movement.
I need at least 8 hours of quality sleep every night, eat healthy meals with moderation and at least 30 minutes a day of some form of physical exercise.
With all 3 basics I need work - I tend to go to sleep too late and therefore don’t feel fully rested in early in the morning when I wake up. Also doing activities on the phone before bed isn’t healthy. We all know that but it’s so addictive, isn’t it?
With eating I tend to eat too much. It would be nice to skip dinner but I’m struggling with this.
With physical exercise I have been doing better recently - going to the gym or taking a walk or exercising at home. We’ll see if this habit lasts. Maybe later when it’s easy for me to motivate myself to move I could fix my sleep and eating habits as well.
The second area is my emotional self. Here I have to stay away from toxic people and avoid stressful situations. It’s not as simple as it might sound because I need to learn to say no. No to people who complain, no to people who suck my energy without giving anything in return and yes to people whom I love and who love me.
If I can’t change the people around me, I must change the way I react to toxic people. I think I’m doing better at this over time.
Earlier I would get quite frustrated or angry with them but now I simply don’t engage and walk away. I’m not perfect, though. Toxic situations still occur but less often than some years before. I’ve been learning or so it seems.
The third area is my mental self. Basically this is my creative side of me. I have to create and share with the world at least something every day or else my creative muscle will atrophy.
To me this means writing, drawing, teaching, composing, playing, reading and improvising. I try to do all 7 activities every day so it’s best to start my day creatively because time is short. But sometimes I catch myself procrastinating and eating sunflower seeds. So there is still space for improvement here.
Notice I’m not saying there is space for improvement in doing these 7 creative things. To me, all it matters is that quantity and quality will come from there. All it matters is that I do all these things (or just one thing or several) and with time I will get better at them.
The last area of my life is my spiritual side. To different people it means different things. For some it means being religious and praying, for some - meditation, for some - being grateful.
I choose to be grateful for everything that is happening around me. Yes, for the headache I was feeling yesterday too. Because everything can be understood as practice.
So there you have it: if every day we could improve some tiny aspect of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual areas of our lives, we would move to the right direction as human beings. I first heard about this from the book of James Altucher “Choose Yourself” if you want to get to the source.
There is no such thing as controlling our futures but we would position ourselves in a way where we could improve ourselves one step at a time.
Also I know that thinking too much about future or past doesn’t help. Stress, anxiety, fear, shame and other toxic emotions come from this attachment.
It means I have to stay in the present moment as much as possible. To control my future, I have to stay in the now.
And this is the most difficult thing for me.
What about you? What’s your experience about controlling your future?
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Drs. Vidas Pinkevicius and Ausra Motuzaite-Pinkeviciene
Organists of Vilnius University , creators of Secrets of Organ Playing.
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