As published in Sixty and Me
Looking into the future: Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a human survival kit in your possession?
The kit would answer the most important questions about your life: How will your life end? Will you find love? Will you be fulfilled emotionally and psychologically? Will you have enough money to live until 90, or even 100? Will your children be happy and successful?
You would probably want at least 50 more answers to your important questions in your survival kit. Who wouldn’t want to immediately have access to already vetted and processed answers to your most important questions? Dig in the kit, pull out an answer and voilà, problem solved.
Life Isn’t Simple
Life simply isn’t that simple. The state of your world is often messy, co-dependent, complicated, constrained, aspirational, inconspicuous, monotonous, unhappy, manic, uncertain or certain depending on the day.
You grapple with connection, love, growth, contribution, significance and surprise. Because it’s challenging to be improvisational, routine feels more secure. It’s easier. Who wants to watch other people dance when you not invited on the dance floor?
To fill your human survival kit with the best of your life, it may be important to stretch your mind and create a new way of thinking by increasing the connection between the right and left brain. This practice will increase your ability to process issues and identify emotions. Stretching the mind enhances personal as well as professional innovation and productivity, and alleviates mental blocks.
Life Is Conventional
When you stretch your mind, you may entertain the idea that you can start a mini-revolution when deciding the course of your life. This is a revolution against the conventions you’ve laid out for your life or others have decided for you.
Instead of a prescribed conventional life, consider that life can be richer in flux, more improvisational and freer. It is then you are designing your life to fit your real needs, instead of the other way around. The alternative is to stay frozen in time, slipping slowly into quicksand.
It Takes Practice to Create New Mindsets the the Future
It takes daily practice to think about your life as bigger, wider, deeper and freer. It takes practice to survive life by entertaining limitless experiences. You naturally gravitate toward the past and confine your thoughts to the present so you are certain to live only in your comfort zone.
That’s when resistance gets hold of you. That’s when you program yourself not to stretch. Don’t get stuck! Practice getting rid of the old mindsets, rigid ideas and limited perceptions that have dominated your thinking. That old mindset leads you to dead ends.
A closed mind is dangerous because it allows you to compartmentalize and ignore uncomfortable thought and feelings. That’s a prescription for mindless repetition and repetition can be a real brain killer.
Here are a few ideas to put in your survival kit:
Reduce Resistance in the Future
It’s human nature to resist. And what’s really interesting is that most of the time you don’t know you’re resisting. Resistance is a psychological state that causes you to deny, reject or otherwise oppose an action.
Resisting is truly an unfortunate state of being because it stops personal growth and creativity. It often defies logic, takes away your potential for happiness, and crushes your spirit. Survival necessitates getting conscious about what you are thinking and doing in life.
Get Conscious in the Future
Practicing mindfulness is a way of staying conscious about what you are thinking and doing in life. A large part of your human survival kit is to stay in the present.
Ask: What do I need? When do I need it? How do I get it?
Wake up every morning and make an intention to do the most important thing – something that brings you joy, gives you positive energy, fulfills a need and lights your fire. Be aware and be clear about naming your needs every day so you can pursue your passions and your dreams.
Eliminate Negative Self-Talk in the Future
Negative self-talk is a completely mindless mental activity, mostly defensive and always toxic. It causes stress and anxiety and perpetuates past and future thinking. Catch yourself in the moment of the negative thought and turn it into a positive. That takes practice, but you can do it. Remember that most thoughts are negative so being aware of your words and the effects of your words can add to a more positive state of mind.
Learn to Adapt in the Future
My mother taught me the way to learn to adapt is to understand that the only opinion worth anything comes from the truth inside of yourself. You know the truth inside of you by stepping outside yourself, getting distance from who you are and turning to alternative mindsets for survival.
When you understand that premise, change will come from a strong conviction for action, coupled with confidence in your abilities and a willingness to cultivate curiosity. Learning to adapt also means getting in touch with your own emotional palette, which allows you to realize a more creative and fulfilling life.
In your human survival kit, there is a special section that will enhance your life’s journey. It’s called passion. Passion gives you the courage to stretch your mind by taking some risks, plenty of leaps of faith and having a willingness to make glorious mistakes.
Passion exemplifies your personal truth. Passion is the special ingredient that makes your human survival kit function with positive energy for the ideas and interests that make a difference in your life. Passion tucked inside your human survival kit will direct you to your destiny.
What techniques do you use to stretch and improve your mind? How do deal with the normal ups and downs in your life? What small things do you do every day to enhance your life journey? How do you focus on the moment and avoid negative self-talk? Please share in the comments.
Joan Moran is a keynote speaker, commanding the stage with her delightful humor, raw energy, and wealth of life experiences. She is an expert on wellness and is passionate about addressing the problems of mental inertia. A yoga instructor and an Argentine tango dancer, Joan is the author of 60, Sex, & Tango, Confessions of a Beatnik Boomer. Her new book, I’m The Boss of Me! Stay Sexy, Strong & Smart at Any Age, is now on Amazon. Check out Joan’s website joanfrancesmoran.com and follow on Twitter @joanfmoran.