Do's & Don'ts

Some of the best ideas come during a time of reflection. Spending at least 30 minutes a day, doing nothing but thinking, reflecting, or pondering the possibilities is of tremendous benefit. As I become older, raise my boys and watch other children grow, I end up doing more of these types of activities and spending time thinking about my life experience. When you look back on your life, what do you see? For some, this may be a very tough thing to do; look in the mirror and be honest. For others, this may be a joy. When looking back on my life, staring in the mirror, I have times of sorrow and times of elation. I don’t regret anything but I definitely see some of those experiences in a different light.

The other day, I sat down for my reflection, in the sun on the back porch. The idea of do and don’t continued to flood my mind. I let it run wild and it brought forth some comfort, a breath of fresh air, and a release of pressure. Life can be very tough, in the moment or when looking back on the past. The idea of the future can be daunting. Reaching for our goals, sharing our desires, looking at the reality of the situation, and comparing the results can lead to a whole host of emotions. Yet, I was eerily at ease. I was not concerned about the past, I was fully in the present moment, and my future seemed like common sense. I just kept hearing the do’s and the don’ts. Life was made simple with this easy to understand concept.

Our experience, our life, is all about the do’s and don’ts. It can be as simple as that. Your experience, your life, is tailored by what you do and what you don’t do. All have their consequences and we know what most of those will be. This is not about doing what is right versus what is wrong. It seems even simpler than that.

I simply looked at my day. I think about how I want my day to go, or my week, or month, year, hell, you could think about in terms of your life. What did I do and what didn’t I do? Based on those answers, what served me, enhanced my life, and what didn’t? When broken down this way, it felt manageable and gave me control. I did do my morning routine and I felt great. I didn’t read and I felt like I missed out on a learning opportunity. I did work on my business, which brought a few sales, phone calls, and opportunities. I did not get a workout in at the gym, making me feel a bit gross after dinner. I did tell my Mom how I appreciated her, causing her to burst into tears and feel validated for her years of hard work. I didn’t answer my phone for a few hours and got a lot of work done. I did spend money frivolously on something I did not need and immediately regret it.

Hopefully, you caught something in those examples. To “do” doesn’t denote good and “don’t do” doesn’t denote bad. The choices made every day, your actions, are a huge determining factor in the outcome of your life. Does it control everything? Of course not. I can do my work but still be belittled by a customer. Maybe I don’t answer the phone and I miss a call that was an incredibly big opportunity. Those results though, are outside of your control. Starting with self and what you can or cannot do is the key. Some things I will do and some I won’t. This puts the onus on me and my behavior, my actions. It eliminates finger pointing or the feeling of being a victim due to outside forces. It gives me a sense of empowerment.

It then spreads to be able to counter what you cannot control. The customer may belittle me, but I can respond in a manner to help that person resolve their issue. I may miss that phone call, but I can call them back or search for a new opportunity. Seeing life from this point of view softens it. There is a caveat. Putting the onus on you and your behavior, could be a recipe for beating yourself up for the do’s and don’ts. Unless, you see that as another do or don’t opportunity. I don’t have to beat myself up. I do have the chance to change the feeling depending on my next “do” move or action. But you better do it because if you don’t, you will be your own worst enemy.

This perspective seems to simplify life in my eyes. I do see it as advantageous. I don’t suggest it for everyone or anyone. I do want to share it. I don’t plan on stopping my reflection time. I do appreciate all whose eyes have blessed this post. I don’t look at the negative comments below the article. I do smile as I finish this sentence and I don’t hesitate to post it, right now!