The financial crisis is having a humanizing effect. The shortage of money - actual or feared - is causing people to look for a new life focus. Instead of looking outwardly at a seemingly chaotic world that shouts gloom and doom from the rooftops, people are turning their search inwards. "Who am I really?" "What drives me?" "What do I really want out of life?"
If that picture fits you, let's look at this person within to whom you are turning. It's the person who is looking out on the world through your eyes. The real you, the authentic self, much of whom is likely to have been suppressed for years, perhaps since childhood. The strong link between life and money as the key to success has caused many of us to stray from being the person we wanted to be to being somebody we felt others expected us to be. It paid the bills and met your work and family responsibilities. But for many of us, there remains within us the unfulfilled pangs of a deeper emotional hunger.
If your inner self seems like a stranger, here's a brief re-introduction.
Your authentic self:
o Is unique in human history -no-one else is quite the same, nor has there been since the beginning of humanity, or in the future.
o Has a unique set of skills, abilities and talents. Some you know well, some you haven't used for years, and some you don't yet even know you have.
o Has come through a unique set of lifetime experiences, giving you your own perspective on everything.
o The person who makes all your important decisions. Your authentic self is driven by the heart (emotions) more than the head (logic). A wise person once told me: in making any important life-changing decisions, listen to your heart and your head - just don't let your head win!
o Came into this world with a potential unrelated to money.
Typically, your first five years were probably the only time your authentic self reigned supreme. You lived for the moment and felt there was nothing you couldn't do, or at least try. No cares about mortgages, job, or education. But you learned much - and fast! In just five years, from birth to starting school, you learned most of your basic life skills.
There could be a message for you in that alone.
So what happened?
Life started to be increasingly influenced by external factors over which you had little or no control. The financial crisis is a current powerful example of this. In the game of life, so much of your script has been written by others, starting with your parents, usually with the best of intentions. Then there were your teachers, peers, older people 'who knew better', work bosses, your partner and, in time, even your offspring.
You found yourself being sent off in directions not of your choosing, taught that success required you to focus on being a person who can make lots of money, goes to the right school, meets the right people, learns the right things and takes the right jobs. If that is the authentic you, count yourself among the lucky few. For most of us it requires putting the authentic self to one side for the time being at least.
Eventually you decided it's less complicated to conform than to rebel. You succumbed to putting aside 'for later on' your natural desires, dreams, directions, visions and, even more sadly, your passions. After all, you had to meet numerous very real responsibilities at home and at work. Many of these will have brought satisfaction, For some, however, life became 'a repetition of trivial maintenance duties'.
It's Time to Attack
You may not be able to control the external influences on your life, but you can control how you respond. We all face major life crises which cause us to stop and think about our lives. These can include loss of a partner through death or divorce, being made redundant, surviving a life-threatening illness, or facing the prospect of enforced retirement. These shocks to the system can be devastating. But they're also opportunities to re-assert who you are and re-assess what you want from life.
The current financial crisis is proving to be a significant such shock/opportunity. You can choose between
o battening down the hatches and waiting for the storm to pass, or
o going on the attack and forging a new direction in your life.
You have a natural armoury of weapons with which to launch your attack. Some of the more potent ones might have been suppressed, but not dismantled. They lie dormant, awaiting your signal to be launched. When fired, the impact can be life-changing, positively rocketing your self esteem, self confidence and sense of self worth to unchartered heights, triggering a ripple effect through everything you do.
When you lose yourself in an interest you love, you find yourself. A passionate interest can absorb your whole being, temporarily losing your sense of time and place (often called 'a state of flow'. Your authentic self leaps into life.
I see a passionate interest as :
o deeply enjoyable
o positive, triggering positive thinking
o part of your natural fabric, an expression of your natural-born skills, abilities and talents
o creatively expressing all or any of your senses - visually, intellectually, manually, physically, mentally, or spiritually. Mind, body and spirit come together in harmony.
o sparking new and lateral thinking, enthusiasm and commitment to goals. The spark can electrify people around you.
Perhaps a passionate interest's greatest benefit is the natural new energy it generates:
o An emotional energy that embraces physical, mental and spiritual energy
o an unlimited, natural, freely available and readily-obtainable source of energy
o It enables you to perform at your peak, to grow and to blossom to your natural potential
o sustains you, to survive and thrive in the 21st century lifestyle of unrelenting stress.
You have the power to decide whether your reaction to the financial crisis is to batten down the hatches and defend your position, or to go on the attack. The authentic self which you were born to be has an astounding array of weaponry to unleash on yourself, your outlook on life, your plans and your actions.
You may not be able to control what's happening to your financial investments. You can, however, control the investment in your authentic self. You can maximize your natural abilities and seize the opportunity to re-discover the passions within that enable you to become the person you were born to be.