Recently I’ve got caught up in the habit of over-engineering my life. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to be the most productive.
How can I make the best use of my time, what systems can I use to get things done faster, better, more efficiently? What can I do to stop procrastinating and start taking action? All of these are very valid questions and each of them has some merit to them.
But how often do we over-think things, over-analyze, and over-everything. Evaluation can be a great tool, it can help us figure out where our time is going and what things we need to change to make better use of our time. But I’d like to suggest a different approach.
Instead of looking at things from an outside-in approach. Instead of trying to tool and engineer our lives to yield a greater benefit, I think we can yield a much greater benefit by using an inside-out approach.
If we use our heart as our compass, and our conscience as our guide (jiminy cricket anyone?) we will naturally become motivated. If we find out what our passions are and strive to work towards a more heart-centered and emotionally fulfilling goal, the outer system will take care of itself. We won’t need productivity systems and widgets to accomplish our goals, because we will be internally driven.
How else can we apply this inside-out approach to accomplishing our goals?
Well the outside-in approach would tell you to gain more resources, more money, connections, assets, etc. This is a backward approach.
If we are constantly working on gaining more outer resources before we move to take action, we are neglecting the very source from which these resources will be gained. That source of course is our inner resources. These are our knowledge, our skills, principles, values, emotional balance, creativity, and social skills.
When we shift our focus to developing our inner resources there may be some downtime before we see the pay-off in acquisition of outer resources. It may take some time to develop greater skills and competencies. But now we’re working toward long-term secure gains instead of short high-risk payoffs.
Not only does shifting our focus from an outside-in to an inside-out approach yield us greater long term resources and security, it also has some bonus side effects. When we develop our inner resources we become more confident, self-aware, and gain inner security. We know that no matter what happens to our external circumstances, we can always fall back on our internal resources. We also realize that what is inside is more important then what is on the outside. Because of this we become more centered.
Take a look at your life, in what areas are do you have an imbalance? Are you waiting for all the right circumstances and resources before you take action?
Or do you rely on your internal resources, your personal competencies and strengths to create the circumstances that you desire? Perhaps the real lesson is that the more we take action in our lives, the more we stretch and build those internal strengths, the more power we gain in our lives.
The more we take control of our lives instead of surrendering to whatever happens to us, the more power we gain over our lives and the more freedom we find.
We realize that the freedom was with us all along, not to be found somewhere outside of us, but within.
Further reading: Goalless living? What would it be like to live without goals?
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