Well, grab a drink and make yourself comfortable. Here’s a story of a toddler who showed me how to gain mental clarity by maintaining childlike curiosity.
Some time ago, I agreed to babysit a 5-year-old for one day, which is when kids love to ply everyone in sight with questions about, well, everything. So, once I stepped into the role of a babysitter, the game of “why” between the little girl and me started.
“Why do you have a piercing in your nose?“
“Well, because I think it looks cool, and I like it”.
“Why are you dressed like that?“
“This is what I feel comfortable in, and I enjoy these clothes”.
“Why can’t we go to a cinema?“
“Because your mommy did not allow it”, and so on.
The game continued. The girl learned more and more about me. Ok, easy peasy, the little toddler has nothing on me. And then, all of a sudden, I was caught by surprise when the girl stepped up her interrogation with personal questions.
“Why are you a psychology student?“
“Why do you want to become a therapist?“
“Why is it your passion?“
Now I had to let the questions sink in, making sure my answers were thought-through. I was more and more intrigued by how this little mind could produce such big questions.
On my way back home, I reflected on this quirky adventure. I thought to myself:
Why do we, humans, so often avoid asking “why” when it comes to ourselves?
Why don’t we actively engage in self-discovery?
What happens to this burning urge to find out everything about the world?
When did we stop living our lives with the childlike curiosity of a 5-year-old?
We all have a more or less defined vision of our future. Maybe it’s concrete, for example, being promoted to a specific position or starting a family and having two kids. Perhaps it’s just a general idea of being happy and healthy in the years to come. Either way, the end goal, the big project, the dreamy image – whatever you want to call it – is there.
What differentiates one person from the other is the specific location of their vision on the clarity spectrum, ranging from “blurry” to “crisp”. Some work daily to make their dreams a reality, align with their values, embody their purpose, and see things crystal clear. Yet, at times it feels like a whopping majority of people are on the opposite side of the spectrum, moving from one day to another with a blurred vision, a surface-level idea about themselves, their aspirations, priorities and passions… and it honestly makes sense.
Humans rarely ever stop to have a moment of self-reflection and check-in with themselves in the world that glorifies the 24/7 hustle. As a result, we end up going through life without a direction, lost in a fog of chaos and confusion, keeping up the appearances of being on top of everything, busy with our work, essentially putting things that actually matter on the back burner for the sake of piling up to-do lists filled with tasks of little to no personal value to us. We’re often under the impression that we can just put our deepest desires, our dreams, on hold. We have this delusional belief that we can wait until a better time comes along in the future. Well, news-flash: it never does!
Most of the time, it takes a pivotal situation for us to have an awakening moment. A reminder of how our whole existence can change in a split second and how we should probably stop taking each day for granted and reevaluate our life decisions. “In many cases, people don’t evaluate what they want until there is a galvanising event“, says Robert Glazier in his article for Forbes.
What follows is just breathtaking. It’s like fate gifted us a pair of glasses, and we can see our life clearly for the first time. We gain insight into who we really are, what we really want and what we believe in. Transforming one’s life like that can feel like learning to walk all over again. On the one hand, it sounds exhilarating, empowering and liberating. But, on the other hand, this experience can be absolutely terrifying. Just like any change in life, whether it be dropping out of college, moving to a different country, quitting your job or starting a new business, it will put us out of the comfort zone, of the cosy corner of familiar and into the wild of the unknown.
Why should we choose to embark on the journey of finding mental clarity then? Is it worth it? Let’s start with all that you can gain along the way.
Sounds interesting? Do you feel intrigued?
Maybe I managed to urge you to bring some insights to the surface of your consciousness?
What if I told you that you don’t necessarily need a near-death experience to achieve mental clarity?
I did a deep dive on this topic, and I composed a list of tips so that you don’t have to look any further.
At the core of your life, there’s a single human being that will accompany you until the very last moment on this Earth – your beautiful self. Therefore, gaining an understanding of your values, beliefs, dreams, and priorities has a ripple effect over your whole existence.
Self-knowledge can be used as a compass, guiding us always in the right direction. We can use it as an anchor, keeping us grounded during stormy times and a source of great motivation to cheer us on on our endeavours in the good times as well.
On a daily basis, clarifying your “why” will keep you productive and motivated, no matter the weather. Having an in-depth comprehension of the meaning behind your work can ramp your willingness to keep pushing forward. Remembering the overarching motto and values in your life will put wind in your sails and help you embody them in many different projects.
In short, finding mental clarity in life requires pursuit. It is that simple.
Rather than pushing your dreams to the back burner, dedicate yourself to this pursuit and come to practice. Commit to your vision day after day. Have a constant reminder of your purpose. In this way, you will be able to realign yourself with your goal at all times.
The daily commitment means breaking down your goals into manageable, realistic and achievable Action Steps – or in other words, little tasks completed on a weekly basis that bring you closer to your dream.
Deepak Chopra, an American-Indian writer, philosopher, advocate for alternative medicine and a spiritual guru, says that we often struggle with bringing our grand visions into practice. Among the most common roadblocks are confusion, distraction and disorganisation. He claims that we’ve been wired to believe that the human mind’s default mode is chaos, and order is brought by discipline.
However, he proposes that “by committing to the practice of meditation, you take your mind to this level where clarity is natural and effortless“. Just like a river, where water may be flowing fast, looking chaotic on the surface, our mind might look like it’s simultaneously running in all directions. However, as we descend deeper, the river unravels its much calmer, slower nature. Analogically, through meditation, we can access “the settled mind, (which) in fact, is the most capable of meeting the day’s demands because it is guided from within“.
What is your vision?
Do you understand where does it come from?
Is it blurry, or do you see it clearly, know its details and timeline?
If you had one year of your life left – what would be your goal, what dreams would you realise, what would you change? What’s been stopping you so far?
Are you currently aligned with your values?
If you could change one thing, what would it be?
I invite you to contemplate on these questions and create a note in your phone or journal, which you can use every day to stay connected to your dreams.
Don’t let your busy adult life overshadow the childlike curiosity and yearning to discover the world, just like a 5-year-old toddler.
Don’t let your vision become blurry.
Keep it crystal clear.
Keep it sharp.
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