“Life is what you make it.” Yep, we’ve heard that before, so how then did we find ourselves in such awkward and unhappy situations in the past? Simply because we are the product of all our decisions and mistakes and despite our tendency to blame this person, that person, or situation, we ultimately possess the independence to choose at every moment of our lives.
The question then follows: If we are to not use hindsight as our teacher, what constitutes the best choice? How can we avoid making decisions we will regret later on? The simple answer is to follow. In the business world, they say: “Copy success.” In religious and spiritual circles we are told to just follow the guru or the higher spiritual authority who by their example, set the standards by which common people should follow. In the Bhagavad-Gita it is written:
“Whatever action a great man performs, common men follow. And whatever standards he sets by exemplary acts, all the world pursues.” (BG 3.21)
That is the ideal scenario, however, the problem now is determining who is that “great man” that we should follow? How do we decide that?
At the same time, if you are a parent, teacher, manager, or in any position of authority, the question to yourself should be the same. “Am I being honest and practicing what I preach?” If the answer is “no,” in any shape or form, then you have to change. You must make some changes to your life to correct the imbalance. Otherwise, you will continue to move down the same path as before and keep the unsatisfactory status quo.
So in a word: if you want answers; if you want out of your mess; if you want to improve your life in every aspect, you absolutely must start with a thorough and honest self analysis. This can often require the assistance of a close friend or confident and it could also require the need to step away from your current situation entirely. Getting out of the house and spending a day at the beach or the mountains is a good start. Just give yourself time to think clearly without distraction. Turn off the phone, disconnect, take a pen and paper and get out.
Listening to your heart requires silence and openness, but more importantly it requires truth. You have to be true to your “self” (the real you within) and doing that is probably the most challenging thing that you will ever face in life. So face your “self” first and then surely, all these other “so-called” challenges along the way of life will pail in comparison, if not disappear entirely. Try it.