Many people believe they know what is important to them. However, with so much external noise out there telling you how you should live your life, what is considered to be a good life, how to make more money and work less hours per week in order to become, if not to be seen more successful, it is not surprising to see more and more people feeling emptied inside them even when from the outside they look as if they were living a rich and successful life.
Our internal voice is constantly overwhelmed by the external noise we hear, if not get shouted at. Many seemingly good and important messages and advice are available. But are they relevant to you? Unconsciously and collectively, we have taken on many thoughts and beliefs that mean well but are not necessarily relevant and aligned to WHO you truly are. This can alienate you from your gut feeling, your inner knowing or your internal voice.
One reason you need to be clear on your thoughts is that your truth is often masked by what you feel you should do or be. This becomes your hindrance to connect with what is truly important to you and an excuse for not taking action to achieve what you want or live the life you want when you know what it is.
One simple exercise can help you differentiate your internal voice from the external noise, to find out if what you think is important is truly important in your life.
First, write down the four most important things in your life. It can be anything or anyone.
Then on a piece of paper or in a notebook, divide a page into two columns with the numbers 1 to 16 down each.
In the left column, write 16 words that end with “-ing”. These should be what is important to you in your life. For examples, loving, caring or traveling. Finish this before moving to the next step.
In the right column write 16 words that are important to you that don’t end with “-ing”; or words that you wanted to include in the left hand column but you couldn’t: for examples, fun, silence or friends. Again, finish this step before proceeding to the next.
Now go back to the left hand column and taking the first two words, cross out the one that is less important. Then move on to numbers 3 and 4, and cross out the one that is less important. Next, numbers 5 and 6: cross one word out; and so on until you reach the last pair, numbers 15 and 16.
Staying in the left column and repeat the exercise. This time, pair the two words left between numbers 1 and 4, and cross the less important word out. Then move on to the next two words left between numbers 5 and 8, and so on to the end of the column.
Go back to the top of the left column. There are four words left. Pair the top two and cross one out, followed by the bottom two. Now you should only have two words left.
Repeat the steps with the 16 words in the right column.
Now look at the two remaining words in the left column and the right column. What do they mean to you? Do they speak to you? Are the remaining four words the same as the first four words you wrote down?
The simplicity of this exercise gives you insights at different levels: the moment when crossing out one of two words forces you to prioritize; the meanings of the final four words themselves; and the realization of what is truly important to you from the four remaining words and the four you wrote at the beginning. It also makes you reflect upon your thinking process. The exercise shifts you into a different space to look at things in life and remind you not to take your own thoughts and beliefs at face value.
In my book The Code – transform your mind from the inside out it shows you how to connect with the true and underlying meanings of the four words. The facilitation process helps you connect the dots in your own self-discovery journey, change your perspectives in how you see and examine your own thoughts and beliefs, discover how deep the meaning the four simple words can be and what keys they hold to enable you to take the next step towards the life you want.
When you examine your thoughts and beliefs, it enables you to clear out what doesn’t serve you to create the space needed for what serves you to present itself. When the mind is full of clutter, it is difficult to see and think clearly, let alone to allow your internal voice to be heard to be crystal clear of what is truly important to you in life.