Is there something missing in your life? Do you feel (un)fulfilled or have you checked in with yourself recently?
Sometimes the questions we avoid asking ourselves, are the most important. Why?
It’s because they’re scary. We’re afraid of our own answers. Will what I say make me realize that I’m unhappy? Do I want to come out from under my blanket of distraction, and realize that I’m not at the point in my life that I would have hoped? Even worse, what if I find out that I’m not even on the right track?..
The first step is asking yourself these hard questions. Nobody will get you there because there isn’t anyone who truly knows yourself more than you do.
What do I need in this life? What’s important, and how do I start my journey?
For me, learning about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs has been helpful in determining the path of (not to) happiness. (This is because happiness is by all means a destination and not a journey). Let me explain.
Here is Maslow’s diagram:
As you can see, the foundational needs in order to survive are located on the bottom, and once those are met, you can work your way up the pyramid until you reach your full potential.
Pyramids represent a transcendental climb to something greater. Ancient cultures all around the world have built pyramids as a place of worship, and a means of connecting with the heavens.
I use the pyramid concept to determine the source of my happiness, and if I’m not happy, then why?
Frankly, I disagree with the very peak of Maslow’s pyramid. If you look at the top, it states “achieving one’s full potential” which in number form is someone’s 100%. If you have reached 100% potential then there is no more room for growth, meaning that you may close your mind off to any more opportunity to better yourself.
A few of my friends and I, have developed a “Top of the Pyramid” concept that we printed out and put on our walls. It was a much simpler style than Maslow’s because it was separated into only three different levels; a top (the best), middle (decent, but can improve), and bottom level (not so good). At the end of the day, we would reflect, and ask ourselves “was today a top of the pyramid kind of day? If not, what does it take to get there?”.
These are simple checkins to see if you’re on the right path. It is all a matter of perspective as well. Nobody can look at what you did one day, and say “Wow, what a bottom of the pyramid kind of day”. For example, let’s say that you stayed in bed all day and watched T.V. shows; some may think that is a waste, however, this can be following two weeks straight of work resulting in your mind and body begging for a break. As mentioned before, you’re really the only one that knows your story, so allow yourself to be the only one to make the final decision on what you’ll do in your daily life. After all, when it comes to your time to die, hopefully you lived the life you wanted, and not one that someone else wanted you to live.
Simply put, these end of the day reflections are a means of considering if you would do something different if you had the opportunity to relive the day.
More than anything, it is a way to put your life on pause, eliminating all distractions, and questioning the progress of your existence in the very recent portion of our oh so temporary lives.
Now, don’t feel bad if you didn’t live a day to your full potential or committed a silly “mistake” in your personal or professional life.. this is all part of the learning process in which develops a stronger, wiser, you. I challenge you to see the word “mistake” and reprogram your brain to view it as “an opportunity to grow”. Soon, “mistakes” will no longer exist in your life, but will be replaced with occurrences that slingshot you to the top of your pyramid.
Besides learning from your mistakes, how else do you reach a life of never-ending smiles? That’s for you to decide. Once you determine what, and who brings out the best in you, you’ll realize something most people take a lifetime to reveal. You’ll realize who holds the missing piece to your life.
That person is you. Unless you support, and believe in yourself, what you have always wanted will be nothing, but a fleeting desire.
Carpe diem my friend.
I mention in my article My One Year Plan to not put too much pressure on any single day. Expanding your view to a year is a much healthier, more sustainable approach which will prevent unneeded stress. However, it is also very important to consider that without days, we cannot form years.