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Your life Orientation: Moving towards or Moving away?

My daughter is having her 8th grade exams online. Due the virtual nature of exams, she answers predominantly a lot of multiple choice questions. For the questions she knows the answer, she takes less than 30 seconds to finish. The ones she doesn’t know the answer - she is following the method of elimination to narrow down atleast 2 possibilities. It works well for her most of the times.

Now the best part of life is that it has multiple choice questions. The challenging part is that the number of possible answers are sometimes infinite or sometimes 0 or sometimes blanks for us to fill in. Even if we follow the process of elimination, sometimes we are left with no choices we like. Now you may ask what is best about this? Is this not a problem? Well my answer would be - there is fill in the blanks - you are free to design an option and see if it works for you.

Many times I hear from my clients:

 “I don’t like this role, this team, this organisation, this salary, this manager, this city, this X ………”

This is like eliminating one choice in the multiple answer question. You could sometimes get it right.

However, it hardly gives hints on what would you really like and are willing/able to apply the effort for reaching there.

Moving away” is a Meta-program. Its presence is definitely required. It keeps us safe.

The driving force beneath is “fear”. It could be fear of getting hurt, fear of failing, fear of missing out or anything that has a potential of giving us an unpleasant experience.

As Maslow’s hierarchy of needs explains, safety is a foundational need. However in order to move towards self esteem and self-actualisation, one needs to transcend this. This does not mean one should put themselves in high risk. It only means that after a reasonable/comfortable level of safety, one needs to move towards other needs that build esteem, confidence and create a chance to give back.

“Moving towards” meta-program doesn’t look very enticing enough. It demands an initial cash down payment on committment - commitment to reflect, envision and increase self-awareness. However, once you do this initial investment, it gives you a sense of direction. That direction has enough potential to bring positivity, satisfaction and joy in your life. Along with your values, this direction will also make decision making easier.

Some questions that could help you get there are:

  1. What does a successful/meaningful [life/career/relationship/program] look like for you? What are its components? What is the satisfaction level you need on each of those components?

  2. Which component are you focussing a lot and what do you ignore now?

  3. What should be the priority for the next [n] year blocks?

  4. For the components to materialise what is one action you need to do now?

  5. Recollect a memorable moment in your [life/career/role]. What were you doing? What brings you joy?

  6. What are your non-negotiable values?

A new year becomes “new” only when we decide to do something different about our life.

Otherwise it just remains a calendar change.

What would you like to move towards this new year?

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