We all have work to do, money to make, families to raise, loved ones to care for, and it’s so easy to get lost in the madness of it all. However, I believe that life is not about being busy. On a macro level, life is all about Mastery. Like the levels of a video game. Once you master your current level, the ascension to the next level is instantaneous. The things you have to deal with once you get into that new level is a whole other story.
I have seen this happen time and time again. As we enter a new cycle of change or transition to a higher level, things start feeling a bit off.
There is resistance, exhaustion, boredom, health ailments, or a feeling of something missing. We make a change willingly, or sometimes life brings on the change without warning, and there we are, swimming in unknown and rough seas once again.
We battle it out for a few years, and then slowly we get the hang of it. We start feeling a bit at ease with the new situation, we plan our needs around the new circumstances, we get used to our new habits, we settle into a new routine. And we are happy for a while.
And then, one day, we wake up and things are a bit off again. We start wondering, is this all there is? This moment, is the moment where you realize you have achieved mastery of your current circumstances. This is the sign that you are getting ready for something new. You evaluate what you have, you decide to shed some things, habits, routines, people, activities, so that the new can come in.
The fear of change
Many people see these signs as something negative, something to be fearful about. They try to ignore the uneasy feeling, suppress the bubbling emotions, or they just distract themselves hoping that it’s “just a phase” and soon everything will get back to normal.
I’ve encountered people who create major dramas in their lives when they start feeling this way. They wish something bad would happen to force them to get busy fixing something else. This is perfectly normal. Evolution hasn’t taken us that far from our basic instincts yet. Survival remains the most powerful motivator.
When we are in survival mode, we don’t have time to notice the details, the periphery, things that are considered secondary. When you are fighting for survival you do not make long term plans. Life is simple when you are busy hustling. Not easy, but definitely simpler than having all your problems solved, and all the time in the world to ponder philosophical ideas and concepts.
When we finally chill out, this is when the issues start coming up. Busy people don’t have time for dramas.
So what is the solution?
The solution is that we need both in our lives; hard work AND time to reflect and make long term plans.
When you only work hard, you enter the Tunnel. Tunnel-vision doesn’t let you see opportunities and threats, but it is great when you need to make progress fast. Once you reach your milestone, however, you need to emerge, reflect, rest, process your experience, look far and make a new plan for your next laser-focused phase.
Remember not to shut down or avoid your emotions. Acknowledge them, make room for them to exist, and ideally, talk through them with a professional who can help you reflect on them. Your emotions are your most powerful ally. Your job is to decipher the messages they bring.