One of the problems of the modern Western way of life is what many describe as the “pace” of life. Personally, I think that “pace” is a misnomer in most cases. Very few people actually have a fast pace of life. For maybe a few top politicians, business men and celebrities, a fast pace of life may be a reality. For millions of ordinary people, though, it is not so much pace as a repetitive daily grind.
The daily grind of getting up early, travelling to work, spending all day doing a job they mostly do not really like, travelling home, getting the evening meal and collapsing in front of the television; that is more the reality for millions of ordinary people. It is as if they get up in the morning, get sucked into a vortex over which they have no control, and then get dropped out of the vortex onto the tv couch, weary and unfulfilled.
Such a description is, of course, a simplification, but it does have a strong tinge of reality. It is not aptly described as a fast pace of life. It is more a repetitive form of life over which the person has little control for much, or even all, the day. Due to the lack of control of the individual, there is a tendency for self awareness to diminish over time, as their working life, flowing into their home life, runs on autopilot. The repetitive elements of each working day can, and do, induce a form of laziness. If that laziness brings in enough money to pay the bills, then there is an incentive for most people just to carry on.
For those who have an existence as described, setting personal goals and objectives may be the last thing on their mind. For such people, deciding to improve their lives and do something about it is a first step. Others, though, may already be feeling frustration that their lives are not better in one way or another, and it is likely that such people can benefit from setting some goals and objectives that may help them improve their lives, and that of their families.
I have already mentioned self awareness diminishing over time with a repetitive auto pilot existence. An important first step towards setting meaningful personal objectives and achieving them can therefore be increasing self awareness. In fact, increasing awareness could be a very powerful first objective.
How to Increase Self Awareness
Simply by thinking about it, and reading this article, you have shown self awareness and taken a first small step. Your aim should be to make self awareness a habit, a habit that will at least replace part of the non-thinking, autopilot part of your life. Through increasing self awareness, you will naturally tap into your subconscious, instead of being driven 100% by the conscious and habitual thought that repetitive lives can induce.
How, though, can you increase self awareness? Here are just a few tips:
1. Embrace Silence
Many people in the modern world grow to dislike, even fear, silence. Yet silence is beneficial to your overall health and well being; silence is a perfect medium for stimulating self awareness. Running away from silence is running away from yourself. Learning to embrace silence as a natural, peaceful, and even beautiful, essential daily life, can be a vital step on the road to self awareness.
2. Learn to Meditate
Learning to meditate, even for a short period each day or on as many days as possible, will automatically increase your own self awareness. Meditation will start to bring you into contact with your subconscious, and as you start to appreciate the benefits you will feel, you will be encouraged to develop your meditation skills further. Furthermore, basic meditation is not difficult.
3. Make Better Use of Travel Time
If you commute to and from work on public transport, and are able to sit down during the journey, do not always be tempted to read or sleep. Instead, close your eyes, but stop yourself sleeping. Try to clear your mind of the noises around you, and focus on your breathing, through the nose. Other people will think you are sleeping, so do not be concerned about what they think. Rather than think about work or other aspects for your day, try to clear your mind also of all those and other thoughts.
Such a practice is like a meditation in transit. It will allow you to increase self awareness, and you may get home feeling much more refreshed than if your head had been filled with work and domestic matters, or if you had fallen asleep.
4. Do Something Different
It is very easy to go through life day after day without really even consciously thinking what you are doing. By deliberately doing something different to your normal routine, you will not only add a bit of variety to your life, but increase your awareness of yourself and help you be alert to the trap of a repetitive, unthinking existence. While this may require conscious thought, it is also step towards as level of self awareness that can give you the confidence to explore your inner self, the essence of self awareness.
5. Debate With and Question Yourself
If your day runs on autopilot, then it it will just pass you by without the “real you” having any say in what is going on. It will be a non-day as far as self awareness and self development go.
You can shake yourself out of that habit by frequently questioning yourself about what you are doing and why. Not just in a general way, but on specific things that you have to do, as a matter of course, as the day goes on. This will encourage you to seek a better way to do things, and to make changes for the better. By constantly having this debate with yourself, you will inevitably become more self aware, rather than just accept every part of your life as a given and unchangeable.