In the fast-paced society that we live in, we are quick to engage in daily activities but slow to reflect upon our actions and decisions. Where’s the fun of life if we contemplate too much, you may ask. Well, there’s usually no need to contemplate when you have a good idea of what it is that you want for your life. Your needs and goals become apparent; whatever else that does not fit can be easily eliminated. All of this begins by asking ourselves the right questions at the right time.
Below is a list of questions which I have amassed from my own experience. May I suggest that you have a quick look at each question and make a mental note of your answers before proceeding to read the elaborations. Do pause and reflect whether your actions match what you’re really hoping for. If they are, good for you. Otherwise, consider what and how is it that you can make positive changes to your life. Good luck!
What does your ideal day look like?
There’s no right or wrong answer. While you may enjoy a chill day soaking in the sun and sipping cocktails at the beach, others may prefer challenging themselves to new problems. Whatever it is, you should have a good and clear idea of your very own ‘ideal day’. Only then would you know how often you get to enjoy a day like that. If you like to spend your mornings with a freshly-brewed coffee at the patio, do you make the effort to enjoy that moment over the weekends or do you just lean against the kitchen counter and drink pre-mixed coffee?
Simple reflections like this tell us how willing we are to pursue what makes us happy. If you are willing to put in small, conscious efforts to achieve what you like, you would get to enjoy life so much more! In the aforementioned case, the person who is too lazy walk out to his patio would likely not head to the beach for cocktails either. As such, the person wouldn’t be able to achieve his ideal day.
I enjoy having some ‘me-time’ to pamper my skin with a skincare routine in the morning. I would wake up extra early to do all of that. Whether it’s a weekend or weekday, I would stick to the same routine and it really makes my day better.
Is there a better way to do things?
Before you answer the question, try to first identify the useful things from those which are unnecessary. As Henry Ford once said, “There is no progress in merely finding a better way to do a useless thing.” What are the non-essential things which you can stop doing and free up time for those that matter more? Richard Branson, the billionaire chairman of Virgin Group, found out that he did not have to be in an office to do his job well. As such, he never worked in one. If you do feel the same way as Branson, consider asking your bosses for permission to work from home at least once a week. You can save the commuting time to enjoy a hearty breakfast and do work more productively out of your kitchen desk. Of course, if you enjoy working in an office with your colleagues, go ahead and keep it as it is.
For some, finding a better way to do things could be as simple as replacing your company’s outdated Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) with an updated one. Instead of manual stocktaking, you could use digitised ways of managing inventories. It is more time-efficient and less prone to human error. If the above does not apply to you, perhaps you may consider using a dashboard to present real-time information to your superiors instead of relying on traditional PowerPoint slides. The possibilities are endless!
What matters most to you?
Does working for your passion matter more than the steady paycheck you are currently receiving, or would you rather spend more time with your beloved family instead of going on business trips to the most exotic places on earth? Regardless of your age or societal standing, you should ascertain the subject matters that are most important to you.
There’s one problem though – you are likely to find multiple things which are important to you. While this can be complicated, do not fret. They can be managed when you know how to prioritise. Prioritising helps you to make more informed choices and achieve the things that matter most to you. The last thing you should do, however, is to compare yourself with others. Know that everybody’s priorities are different and the actions they undertake would consequentially be different from yours.
Who are you living for?
Some say they do it for their family or loved ones, while others argue that people like Mother Teresa lived for the world. While there is no definite answer, I would choose to live for myself. I believe that it can be draining and unsustainable to live for others; especially so when you put the wishes of others before your very own needs, ambitions and dreams.
Early on in my college days, I had a pivotal discussion with my parents. I wanted to pursue a major in marketing, but they preferred finance due to the greater job prospects available. Although they might be right, I knew that my passion was in marketing and finance just wasn’t my cup of tea. Thankfully, they understood the importance of allowing me to do I like and supported me in every way that they could. If only I were in the finance industry, you might never be hearing from me and I would definitely not be as jovial as I am today.
May I boldly suggest that it is not selfish to live for yourself? I would like to further provide the counter-argument that Mother Teresa lived for herself – she lived for her own dreams to make the society a better place. While I may not be as benevolent as she is, I am pursuing my passion and dreams just like she did. Additionally, I am working towards the betterment of the marketing industry. Now, don’t you agree that you too, can live for yourself and achieve new heights?
Do note that your answers for some of these questions are likely to change over the course of your life. It is a process of growth and personal discovery. When that happens, it would be worthwhile to re-prioritise the subject matters in your life and take new courses of action accordingly.