Why Is Self-Examination Key To Building The Life & Career We Want? Part 2
By Paul Waugh, Head Mentor, Lighthouse International
In the previous part in our 3 -part career series, we explored how we don’t live optimal lives filled with meaning and purpose because we don’t self-examine who we are and what’s important to us.
This is because we have created stories that we continually tell ourselves in order to live with who we actually are! It takes effort and the actual work of self-examination to undo these stories which is why many of us avoid it, especially as it’s also painful.
However the reward is … living with much more joy and the meaning that comes from understanding what we truly want in life. Read more below…
Why is self-examination of vital and critical importance to living a great life?
We recently discussed the issues relating to not knowing what it is you want to do in your life and career. That article was intense. It was intense because it dealt with a subject matter which is right at the heart of what is most important to most of us, which is how much we get out of our lives.
In other words, how much meaning and purpose, happiness and fulfilment that you get out of your life is directly proportional not only to what you invest your life’s energy and effort into, but why and how you do it. Most people suffer a lot of pain, frustration and heartbreak through compromising on the issue of finding out what is most important to them … and then following through and living it.
This article is committed to reinforcing the importance of spending the time and effort to face up to the reality, that a life without maximum meaning and purpose, is a life that will be proportionately empty. It is committed to assisting you to see the vital and critical importance of the single greatest realisation you can possibly make; to spend the time and effort examining your life in order to find out who to become and what to do with your life.
What gets in the way of us self-examining our lives?
It was once said by a wise old sage that ‘a life unexamined is a life not worth living’. Nothing truer, basic or fundamental to your happiness and fulfilment could be said. How can you possibly know what it is you need to invest your life and career meaningfully in if you have not first examined yourself? The question is then what is in the way of us progressing through a process of self-examination. There are several reasons that are key to this:
Firstly, we do not know that self-examination is the portal to understanding ourselves. The process of self-examination gives us maximum meaning, purpose and fulfilment in our lives and careers. If we are not aware of the need for self-examination then we can’t make the choice to do it. If we don’t examine ourselves we don’t discover what our values are, what is most important to us and what will set us on the path of maximum meaning and purpose at any one time. i.e. what we would want to live for and what we would be prepared to die for, and why.
Why do we avoid the work of self-examination?
The second reason associated with not self-examining ourselves is a situation whereby we know that self-examination is an important first step to committing ourselves to a life of maximum meaning and purpose…but we avoid the work in order to get there.
Why would we want to do this?
The first reason for this avoidance has more to do with our “egos” than our lethargy. In other words, most of us have a mental picture of who we are supposed to be. A picture that most of the time is not really true but helps us to accept ourselves more readily. In other words, through our own mental self-image, or egos, we are able to live with ourselves more easily.
It’s a bit like our own personal propaganda campaign. We don’t really like certain things relating to who we are, what we are doing or what we have done in our lives, but we have a story that keeps us going. Now this is fine in the short term, but in the long term…well… one morning you just wake up in the middle – or even worse the end of your life, and realise that you have lived a really unfulfilled life that’s based on a pack of personal and rational fibs in order to help you get through it all.
Why would we want to do this, and how do we let ourselves get away with something that is so life decimating and painful?
Why do we lie to ourselves about who we are and what are the consequences?
The answer to this is that we do not want to expose ourselves for the self deceitful creatures that we actually are a lot of the time, and in many of the life situations we find ourselves in.
It is incredibly hard to face up to the fact that we may find out things about ourselves that we may not like or worse even hate. We have owned these rational lies for so long that we are often terrified to admit to ourselves that we have wasted a lot of our lives defending what we think we know, as opposed to truly living a life based on real meaning and purpose.
These are often bitter pills to swallow. I know because I have swallowed many and they were hard and big and bitter. But now I can live and can honestly say that I am a whole person. Nothing in my life in my early days could have prepared me for the incredible life I now live. I am so glad that I had the courage to face up to these bitter pills. I often say to my mentees that the first and hardest thing that they have to face up to is that in some areas of their lives that they are twits (I confess a far stronger word is needed here for maximum effect but it would just get edited out so I have jumped here before being pushed by the Ed).
Once you are willing to accept that you are a twit in areas of your life and actually at times have a laugh about it if not a cry, then you are prepared to go forward and effectively challenge yourself and start the process of self-examination. Once you start this process you can start working towards understanding the importance of seeing yourself becoming a whole person, based on the whole person perspective… and then become that whole person, which you can learn more about in part 3…
Here are some questions to get you started…
1. What are the top 5 things that are important to you in life that can’t be a person or a thing?
2. What are the top 5 most important things to you in your career?
3. What beliefs do you have in your life that are stopping you from progressing in the life and career you want?
Click here to read part 3 in this 3-part career series and if you’d value any support and guidance on the questions above just click below to get in touch with one of our life and career mentorship team.