The Default Way of Life
The baby is sitting there, happy and smiling, playing with her toy. She chews on it, swings it, and laughs.
Then, seemingly out of nowhere, her face twists into a sadness that turns into a screaming cry. What’s wrong?! She’s either hurt, scared, tired, hungry, or physically uncomfortable.
So we adjust the baby’s circumstances. We feed her, we comfort her, we change her, or we put her down for a nap.
That’s how babies work: adjust their circumstances and their being shifts.
We older people continue to think that our state of being is determined by our circumstances.
This is the default way of living. It’s the default because it's how we survived as a species over the millennia:
The circumstance of something possibly dangerous leads us to be afraid.
The circumstance of feeling hungry for a while leads us to be desperate.
The circumstance of having worked hard for our tribe leads us to be righteous to expect the same in return.
But we older humans, alive in 2023, are not simply stimulus-response creatures. We’re more complex than that.
No matter how complex we are, however, we’re still just looking for one thing…
Seeking a State of Being
Anything we do, we do for one purpose: to achieve a state of being.
Anything we want to have, we want it for one purpose: to achieve a state of being.
Being is the promise of the world’s religions - bliss, peace, grace, enlightenment, heaven.
Being is the promise of friendships and intimate relationships - love, acceptance, enjoyment, passion, excitement.
Being is the promise of our best laid plans for school, work, and life - satisfaction, fulfillment, enjoyment, contribution, and vitality.
When we seek anything, Being is actually what we're seeking.
Because of the flaw in where we think our experience comes from, we think we have to have the perfect circumstances in order to be happy, fulfilled, etc.
So we create our To-Have lists of alllll the external circumstances we think we need to have in order to achieve our ideal state of being - happy, fulfilled, vibrant, in love, etc.
The To-Have list:
And the way to get all those To-Have items is through our To-Do lists.
So we end up do do do do do do do do doing everything on our To-Do list so that we can have have have have have have have have have everything on our To-Have list so that we can finally reach our goal: to be. To be fulfilled. To be satisfied. To be at peace. To be loved...
Unfortunately, that default path to Being is inaccurate, and living this way has negative consequences for us and the people we care about. Some of us:
Overwork and miss out on joy and connection with our family
Sell out our well-being to the highest paying boss
Judge ourselves for lack of motivation to do everything we think we should be doing
Blame the people we love and judge others for getting in the way of our perfect plans to achieve the perfect state of being
Use substances (alcohol, drugs, food, pornography, Netflix) to achieve an almost-there imitation state of being
How we actually work
We are not Human Doings. We are not Human Havings.
We are Human Beings.
EVERYTHING flows from our being.
Our Being is the source of ALL we do throughout our lives. Our Being is the source of ALL we have in our lives.
Here’s an example:
When my wife seems to snap at me…
When I’m Being Defensive (BEING) -> I’ll judge her and blame her (DO) -> I’ll have a strained relationship (HAVE)
When I’m Being Loving (BEING) -> I’ll wonder how I can support her, I’ll forgive her, I’ll find gratitude and appreciation for her (DO) -> I’ll have a loving relationship (HAVE)
The Most Important List of All
We have our To-Do lists and we have our To-Have lists, but the most important list of all nearly never shows up on our radar: the To-Be list.
If our Being is indeed the source of all we do and all we have, then intentionally Being is kind of a big deal.
It is magical when we begin with who we are Being and then allow our lives to flow from there.
Part of my work with clients is uncovering the driving forces behind who they're being in their lives. Once we uncover those forces, they are freed up to create inspired ways of being that have integrity and honor their true self. This work isn't always easy, but it is always fulfilling, freeing, inspiring, moving, and empowering.
When we gain access to our ability to be responsible for who we are being in our lives, we become free. We are no longer constrained to what our circumstances dictate is possible. We get to create who we are in the face of any and all circumstances.
Here is part of my To-Be list that I read each morning and evening as well as think about throughout the day:
🔥 I am unconditionally in love with being alive.
🔥 I am extraordinary, and I create an extraordinary day everyday.
🔥 I am friendly, kind, and authentic. I am generous, patient, and compassionate.
🔥 I am courageous and unbounded in relationships, jobs, conversations, and life itself.
🔥 I am deeply in love with my wife, A, and my two boys, H and B.
🔥 I serve with profound value. People get much more from me than they could've imagined.
🔥 I am a phenomenal coach, and working with me has a profound and lasting impact on people’s lives.
Take a look at your To-Do list for a moment, and ask yourself these questions about it:
What is the To-Have list that this To-Do list is serving?
What state of being am I looking for with this To-Have list?
How can I cultivate that way of being now, and take my actions from that place?
How would I love to be in each of the areas of my life right now?
How would I love to be about my To-Do list?
Thank you so much for engaging with my work. 🙏❤️
P.S. As a transformational life coach, I help people move beyond their self-imposed limitations to fall in love with life and feel amazing. If you’re interested in finding out how I can support you, reach out and let’s talk. 💌