The Sequence of Living Effectively
By Lloyd J. Thomas, Ph.D.
Do you know how to build a lifestyle that you can fully enjoy? Do you want to re-shape your life by taking charge of it, thereby transforming it into the structure of your dreams? Do you know how to build a pyramid?
Most people believe that in order to create anything new in their lives, they need to HAVE certain things, DO certain activities and then they will BEcome the person they want to be...in that sequential order. They believe that the only things they need to be happy is a new set of "havings." They focus on rearranging their external circumstances. They want to change their partner. "If only I had..., then I would be happy." "If I only had enough money, I would ..." They see themselves as "human havings." Acquiring material things is the primary purpose for living the life of their dreams.
Many others focus first on "doing." They believe that if they "do all the right things," they will be happy. They are dominated by what they do: their daily activities, their achievements, their actions, their hard work, the service they do, the exercise they do, etc. They become "human doings." "If I work hard enough, then I will be creating the lifestyle I desire." Working hard becomes the only activity needed to be successful.
Then there are those who first go beyond what they have or what they do. They focus first on who they are. They focus on self-discovery and self-development. They begin to see themselves differently. They modify their beliefs about who they really are. They might discover themselves to BE creative, intelligent, responsible, powerful, caring, loving and generous. They begin to see themselves in those ways because that is the true nature of "human beings." They follow that ancient proverb, "First, know thyself."
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote, "To be what we are, and to become what we are capable of becoming, is the only end of life." Who you truly are is much more important than anything you possess or anything you do. Becoming aware of who you are, and what natural physical, psychological (mental), spiritual and social abilities are inherent in us all, empowers you to create within your lifestyle all the happiness, health, love and wealth you may want. That sounds simple.
It is never easy! It begins by knowing who you really are as a natural human being.
Accurate self-awareness must precede action, if your "doing" is to result in what you intend. Doing almost always precedes "having," or getting what you want. Who you are will determine the quality of actions you take. The quality of actions in which you engage, will determine the nature of what you acquire. Life just seems to be most effective when you live it in that sequence.
Life Coach, Dave Ellis, writes "When we coach...we assist clients to define the core values and fundamental commitments that constantly shape what they choose to do and have. We...bring the domain of being to lives dominated by doing and having."
B. C. Forbes once wrote the following poem:
"Your success depends upon you.
You have to steer your own course.
You have to do your own thinking.
You must make your own decisions.
You have to solve your own problems.
Your character is your handiwork.
You have to write your own record.
You have to build your own monument---or dig your own pit.
Which are you doing?"
It is impossible to build a pyramid from the top down. If you want to build a great life, build it from the bottom up. Build it first by knowing who you truly are. Thereafter, using the talents, skills and self-knowledge you know about, you can act in ways that support your creating the lifestyle you want. And within that chosen lifestyle, you will acquire/have all that you desire. What you achieve or acquire always tops off the pyramid of your life. Building it in any other sequence simply doesn't work very well.