Don’t Let Autopilot Take Control of Your Life

Don’t Let Autopilot Take Control of Your Life

Do you wake up everyday, roll over and do what you can to squeeze in just a little more sleep? Or do you throw off the covers and leap into the day? Probably if you’re like most it’s a combination of both. However, you also probably incline in one direction or the other.

 

How much of your life happens without your direct input?

Going through your day you are asked to do things, big and small. How do you approach those? Do you complain about being asked? Try and foist responsibility on to others? Worry you aren’t capable and lament your miserable life?

 

Or do you relish the opportunity? Seek out the advice and help of others? Look at the request as an opportunity to learn and develop yourself and your capabilities? Once again you probably do a some of both, depending on the situation. And – once again you probably have a fall-back response for how you generally respond.

 

Automatic responses create an automatic life

These are important questions because our fall-back responses, the things we do automatically without much conscious thought at all are the things that end up directing the course of our lives.

 

By letting ourselves fall into patterns of behavior we create ruts in our lives. We stop looking at the possibilities and potentialities of each moment. We simply react as we always react. Those ruts worn into our days by habit ultimately become our lives.

 

Just because you are inclined to want to stay in bed doesn’t mean you can’t choose to throw the covers off and embrace the new day. Even if you don’t normally like to take on new challenges press pause on your automatic response and look at the potential upsides. You may learn something. Or end up helping someone. The experience might ultimately make you feel really good about yourself for one reason or another.

 

Allowing fallback responses to dictate your days is essentially the same as letting autopilot run your life. Paying attention to the moments and actually choosing what you’re going to do and how you’re going to react puts you in the driver’s seat. The driver’s seat is where you want to spend your days and ultimately the rest of your life.

Breaking The Bonds of Worry

Breaking The Bonds of Worry

 

Like so many other things, worry can be good in small amounts, but disastrous when left unchecked.

 

When you realize you’ve done something wrong or someone isn’t doing what they’re supposed to do, or something is going wrong, you might get worried on the way to getting the situation rectified. A little worry is good. It can get the ball rolling by spurring you into change mode.  Too much worry leads to sleepless nights, illness and can often be paralyzing.

 

In the words of Erma Bombeck, “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it never gets you anywhere.”

 

When you’re stuck in a worry cycle things feel out of control. Once you take steps to change the situation you regain that control.

 

So, once worry has done its job, identifying that there is a problem, it’s time to move on to the words of the Dali Lama, “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

 

Easy for the Dali Lama to say. Simply deciding to stop worrying isn’t as easy as it sounds. We’re conditioned to worry. We’re hit by worrying news day in and day out on our newsfeeds, on every screen we turn to, in the newspapers, on TV. It seems like there’s always one threat or another waiting around the corner, so when it comes to our personal and professional lives we’re already primed to worry about those too. However, as wise Erma points out, as occupying as worrying can be, it will never of itself solve anything. Here are a few tips to help you vacate that chair:

 

Identify the problem

Sometimes we simply feel a general sense of unease about a situation. If you don’t know what the problem is, work on identifying it. If you do know the cause of the problem, try and drill past generalities down to specifics. For example if you’re worried someone on your team isn’t pulling their weight try to figure out exactly why you feel that way. Write down examples of the problem. Shave it down to the core.

 

Take action

Now that you know precisely what’s bothering you, take tangible steps to change it. Worrying holds on to the problem. Taking steps to change it, helps you release it.

 

Worst case scenario

Our imaginations often jump from problem directly to worst case scenario outcomes. Since worst case is by definition the worst case, let yourself imagine it. Now come up with a contingency plan. You probably won’t need it, but having something in place can ally your worries.

 

Release it

Once you’ve done everything you can to change the situation, let it go. Things will unfold on their own from there whether you wear grooves into the floor with the constant rocking of your chair or whether you go out for a walk in the sun. So you might as well enjoy the sun! Remember, life isn’t made for sitting around worrying, it’s made for taking charge action!

 

Other ways to release worry can include meditating and staying hydrated. Here’s a list of helpful worry releasing ideas from tiny buddah