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Have you ever felt like you’re stuck on the hamster wheel – running as fact as you can and going nowhere?
Life can be seen as the sum total of all the choices we’ve ever made. Every day we’re faced with hundreds of decisions – some inconsequential such as which brand of toothpaste to buy, some very important such as choosing a new career direction.
It is what it is….
Many people believe that our life is determined by fate and that there is no way to influence what happens to us. This theory suggests that we have no choice in any events in our life. Living by this philosophy can lead to giving up on life. In this world, our life is little more than a piece of driftwood floating on the stream of fate.
The Smarter Choice
The alternative mindset is that we live in a world full of choices. From this view point, the world fills with possibility. In a given situation we face a huge range of options. If you are in a meeting with your boss, you could choose to answer her questions earnestly and to the best of your ability, you could choose to be challenging and stand up for your views, or you could choose to run out of the door screaming and never come back. Each choice has potential consequences and inevitably some consequences may appear preferable to others. However, we have the power to choose.
The Hamster Wheel
Even if we believe in choices, it is easy to close ourselves down to our options. We can get into a routine or a rut. Life becomes about survival. Welcome to The Hamster Wheel.
Getting off the Hamster Wheel can give us tremendous energy and power. It allows you to feel in control of a given situation.
Over time and through self-reflection we can learn to slow down and see the bigger picture. Once we realise we have options, life stops being about survival and starts to become about possibilities. We step off the hamster wheel.
When we are making deliberate choices it becomes easier to take responsibility for our actions. When we choose and commit to our actions we can own the results regardless of the apparent level of success. We make choices, we commit to them, we accept the results and we grow as a person.
Exercise – Getting off the Hamster Wheel
This exercise is a quick way to get off the hamster wheel and learn to see all the options. You can work through it in advance to plan your biggest decisions by doing it every morning. This also works in the moment when you feel stuck on the hamster wheel. Asking these questions opens us up to the reality that we do face options.
- What is the challenge that I face today / am facing right now?
- What are my options?
- What other choices could I make (regardless of how feasible they may be)?
- What could I do if I had no fear?
- Which choices best align with my values and who I am as a person?
- What support can I get in taking this choice with power and committing to it?
Getting off the hamster wheel and choosing life is a tremendously powerful approach to life. Try it today and see what happens.
Picture credit – Sebastien Davies (from Flickr – Creative Commons)