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Self-discovery happens as the result of conscious mental and physical action. Doing the same things over and over is not conscious mental action, it’s passive unconscious automatic beahavior.
We think we are thinking because our brains are working, that is not thinking. Real thinking is active curiosity, analysis, planning, dreaming and questioning. When you carry on only doing the same things each day in the same ways, you are essentially living one day many times. But when you are actively thinking, you are living a new day each day. And your personal growth and development is based on self-discovery. If you don’t find out more about yourself, who you are and what you can do, there is nothing to grow into. Becoming aware of yourself right now is the first important step- you can’t do anything about what you aren’t aware of.
I learned this lesson in my early 20’s when I was the night shift foreman in a precision sheet metal shop in the Silicon Valley during the initial electronics boom of the 70’s. The owner of the shop had hired a new brake operator who said that he had 20 years of experience doing the job. In this shop situation we did many small run jobs so there was always a lot of setting up the machines required all day long. The idea of someone with 20 years experience excited me because I was the main person doing all the set ups at the time, which kept me running from place to place to keep everyone productive.
When I was introduced to this new man, he looked at me, the 20-year-old, and gave me this look like, who are you to be my boss? I didn’t let it bother me as I had been working with others much older than I for some time. I showed him the machines where he would be working and gave him a basic run down of the current task at hand, and left him alone figuring he knew what he was doing. After about 30 minutes I got a chance to go to see how he was doing, I figured he would be well on his way.
He had not done anything! And guess what, his demeanor had changed. Right then I found out that here was a guy that had been using this kind of machine for over 20 years and did not know how to make a simple set up for one. All he had done for all those years was to put the parts in, hit the pedal to make it operate, and pull the part out – someone else had made the set ups.
Now I am not saying this to brag rather to illustrate the difference in how we can spend our time. Here was a man that essentially lived the same year 20 times, never progressing with his knowledge, skills and activities. Then, I was a 20 year old who started this kind of work when I was 16 and at this time had been doing prototype work and now running my own shift making most of the set ups for everyone there. My previous 4 years were each different as I progressed through the learning and skill development process.
My point here is not to judge someone for wanting to remain doing the same things for years but rather to illustrate how we can look at our use of our time. Everyone has their own life path and certainly can choose as they will. But if you are not experiencing life as you have dreamed, you can do something about it. It comes down to choice, if you are enjoying your life as it is great. But if you have been thinking about wanting your life to be different and you can see that you have been doing the same things in the same ways for a long time, you can do something about it.
How this all fits into self-discovery is this, when your mind is actively working with questions, finding solutions, being creative, and trying new things you are setting yourself up to discover more. Just ask yourself this question, if what you are doing and how you are doing it is working and satisfying, why would you seek a different or better way? You wouldn’t. You mind is designed to help automate as much as possible for you so doing simple tasks and operating your physical body do not require a lot of conscious thought all the time. Can you imagine the mental burden if you had to consciously think about all this basic stuff?
Your mind is consciously engaged as you choose to engage it. Your conscious mind does always have something going on, but if you do not actively engage it, this thought tends to be mainly repetitive, as you know. In order to engage your mind you are actually asking it questions or giving commands. Your brain will serve to solve these questions and fulfill the commands. And this is when you really discover many things. You discover more about yourself, more about how to do something, and more of what is possible for you. All this because you are engaging your brain with active thought.
Take a look at what you are doing? Enhance your self-awareness. Are you moving forward at the pace you are happy with? Do you feel stuck in a repetitive cycle? Do you like where you are, or not? Asking questions of yourself is a great way to stimulate self-discovery and get your life moving in the direction you want. And, to find out what you are truly happy with right now. Personal growth and development is a daily ongoing process, to keep it going, pay attention every day.
Are you a done with yourself or are you continuing to discover more
about yourself, seek personal growth and development?
You see it all around how science keeps going, discovering more and more
about the world and universe we exist in. As technology improves, which
is change, science is able to understand more about our universe plus
obtain more ways to describe it all. For example, this picture of a
supernova remnant was not possible just a few years ago even though the
object was there.
This is how life is, ever expanding in its awareness of itself. Plus,
the increasing awareness of humans to what is already there. Much of the
change seems to not exist or that the change is very slow, but it is
there. Everything in the universe grows and changes we are certainly not
excluded. We have the ability to continue to change and grow throughout
our entire life, including our final change here, death.
But at the same time there are so many people who are ‘checking out’ so
early. Getting tired, feeling aches and pain, feeling beat down –
telling themselves they are wearing out -that it’s too late. I’m not
trying to tell you that pains should be ignored, but how you look at
them can have a huge affect on the power they play in your life.
The biggest factor to your growth is your thinking. What you think about
your life and your growth determines what you see, feel and do. If you
see possibilities – you will see them, and if you see the ‘end’ in your
mind, you will see it in your life. If you think you are too tired, sick
or whatever – you are.
Time to check yourself:
· How are you the same today as you were 10 years ago?
· How are you different?
· What are you doing that you thought were not possible for you a few
· Do you look at things in the same way you did several years ago?
· Do you see possibilities for your life or feel hopeless?
· Do you feel that your life continues to move on or do you feel stuck?
· Are you open to new ideas and concepts or do you want to keep things
the way they are?
· Do you feel your problems hold you back, sap your energy and nix your
· Are your dreams alive or have you given up on what you want in your
Can you change any of this? Well yes you can – much of it. Many times we
let one thing affect all of our life. We allow our attitude and outlook
to be clouded when one thing has happened when we don’t need to.
Certainly there are situations where something may temporarily set you
back but it does not need to be for all time. Only you can determine if
you are temporarily off or if it has been too long. You will need to ask
yourself honest straight questions about it. The easy answer is of
course, “I will just suffer a little longer” but maybe not the best!
The truth is that a broken foot does not come with a bad attitude,
that’s our choice. A marital separation does not come with resentment
that carries through all of your life, that’s our choice. Because
something did not work out for us does not mean nothing ever will,
that’s our choice to think so. The thing to be careful for is that when
something that appears negative happens don’t allow it to affect all of
your life any more than is necessary.
Ask yourself some key questions that help enhance your self awareness so
you discover how you think and feel about everything. There is always
more out there for you if you allow it and if you are open to recognize
it. When you are clouded by negative reactions it may not seem so, but
you can always change and grow. Your outlook on life is a choice –
yours. You are never done, unless you choose.
John Halderman – More on daily life actions to support a better life,