It is important to be selective with what you feed yourself. Our ears and our eyes are the gateways to our soul. What we watch, what we listen to, who we associate ourselves with and what we allow into our lives, hugely influences our journey. You may have heard the saying ‘you are what you eat’. If you feed yourself with unhealthy food, your body will begin to take shape following the path of this same junk. Very similar and oftentimes exactly the same, what we allow into our minds, environments and lives can have the same result. If you feed yourself the wrong things, you become made up of the wrong things. When you feed your inner man negativity, your view of the world will be negative and you cannot fulfill your full potential. You have to be extremely careful and vigilant as to what you take in or you will become that which you are not. Everywhere we go whether it be through the media or our associates, there is information trying to influence us. Our threshold keeps getting turned up higher and higher and what we tolerate seems to be getting more and more.
We need to place a filter over lives and absorb that which is good and refuse to accept that which is bad. The filter can apply to your personal lives with friendships, relationships and daily influences, as well as the things we read, listen to and watch. There needs to be a filter over our time investments. Too often we invest unproductive time into dead causes and unproductive things. When presented with our purpose, we then say we don’t have the time. There is so much emotional dust and negativity and other bits of self-defeating debris floating around in the atmosphere of our daily lives. Too many people are ill-equipped to recognize the dust and debris for what it is. They are therefore unable to remove it, block it, filter it from intake, from ingesting the garbage and digesting its message, thereby preventing it from becoming part of the DNA of their lives.
5 Essential Filters to Living A More Authentic Life
Our conscience, if it hasn’t been damaged in the process of growing up, helps prompt us from taking action on self-defeating temptations to act against our own principle-based values. It keeps us true to ourselves and inspires change and growth when we fall short as we inevitably will. When our conscience is healthy and is inline with the will of God, living in harmony with it means we are better able to live with integrity to our values, avoiding moral pitfalls and ethical quicksand, avoiding circumstances that can lead to moral compromise. We feel the discomfort of moral failure, the pain of hypocrisy and guilt for the pain we intentionally cause others. We’re prompted to do better, to correct mistakes and rise to our higher calling in God. We feel better about ourselves the more in-tune we are with God and this leads us on to higher moral ground. Moral decisions and dilemmas and ethical questions are passed through the filter of conscience. If it’s working, it serves us very well, saving us from so much heartache down the road.
Wisdom filters good ideas from the free-flow downpour of bad ones. Wisdom prevents us from making bad choices, mainly choices dictated to us by our circumstances. A lot of the bad decisions we make come at times when our seasons change suddenly, storms arise in our live and our first response is emotions. We act rapidly without the use of our wisdom filter. Wisdom helps us differentiate between good ideas and great ideas. Anything less than greatness is bad when you consider your unlimited capacity for it. Wisdom comes from God and it aids us in seeing through the false impressions of our negative thoughts and external influences. The importance of wisdom is in its capacity to keep us from wandering down roads that lead us off intellectual, moral or emotional cliffs. Wisdom allows us to see through the fog of moral confusion and intellectual mediocrity. Where intelligence helps us to know things. Wisdom helps us to know what things are important, true and useful. On our journey to greater amounts of wisdom, it’s important to understand the difference between the accumulation of knowledge or the state of intelligence from the acquisition of wisdom. Knowledge is what you learn. Intelligence is the ability to learn it. Wisdom is the ability to recognize the important parts of what’s learned and apply it. In other words, wisdom is to intelligence what directions are to a map. Put another way, if knowledge is the car and intelligence is the engine, then wisdom is the steering wheel, gas pedal and brake.
A well-developed set of values helps us differentiate among competing good ideas. They help us prioritize what’s most important from what’s less important. Many people run on autopilot here. They haven’t thought through their core values or what’s important to them, what’s right and wrong or what system or mechanism or doctrine or ideology is used to help them decide. As a result, they often find themselves pushed in the direction of the prevailing winds rather than plotting their own course in life. Again there is nothing wrong with being a #Rebel if you’re doing the right thing. People today are so confused about who they are and what their values are. They judge their values by how they feel and live life in response to their external experiences. A life dedicated to a high set of values is lived higher, happier, healthier and much better.
Even among competing good ideas, even when we’ve identified what’s most important, sometimes it’s crucial to delay the best to work on the preferred. Doing things we like adds passion, zest and enjoyment to life. Not every meal has to include spinach and broccoli. Not every workout has to be a marathon. Not every date has to move her soul or rock his boat. It’s okay to periodically watch a movie at home or take a walk instead of a jog or eat some sweets instead of a handful of grapes. Besides, when we keep saying yes to other people’s preferences, we sometimes squeeze ourselves out of the picture. When we always follow others’ wishes, never take the lead, eat what others want, watch what others watch, play what others play, go where others go, if we never put our desires or preferences first, if our lives are paid in deference to others, we shrink and fade and disappear a little at a time until we are only reflections of others, shadows of what we were meant to be. Life is a give and take, after all. Some people only take. But those who only give will find life more difficult than it has to be as well. Don’t push and shove and shout your way through a crowd. But with a quiet dignity, require your way and your preferences to matter. Regard yourself highly and others will come to regard you that way too. Act with self-respect and others, in time, will lend you theirs. Create a new path, stay in your lane and you’ll know you’re there when no one else is.
With much of life lived unconsciously, conscientious choice filters out what we might call “life in drift” or living life on idle, softly floating downstream without oar, rudder or sail. It filters out excuses and justification and self-pity from the power of decision. The more life is recognized as the result of our choices, the greater power we have to direct it and experience it on our terms. Then we start living life on purpose, choosing a path to follow, no longer blown about by circumstance or luck, no longer content to travel the path you just happen to be on. The power of choice may not be readily recognized as a filter, but it’s one of the most powerful and underutilized filters we have. When we justify our wrongs, we are quick to jump on the ‘God gave me free will bandwagon’ but how about we exercise that free will for greatness. The free will to choose is a filter only when it’s used correctly, to enhance life at its potential. It can, of course, be disconnected altogether from its filtering function by the type of decisions we make. The power of decision can be used to filter out time-wasters and morality-sapping, self-defeating activities that create obstacles to living our purpose.
When our preferences respect our values and our values are informed by our conscience and wisdom influences the choices we make within the context of our Godly-driven preferences, we will then be equipped with power to direct our lives in profound ways. The power of choice and free will to take one path over another, to change one mode of conduct from another, to choose how and when and why and if we will walk one direction or another becomes a profoundly important component to our filter system. It’s all very good to use a filter to protect yourself from polluting your life but what if you already have junk on this side of the filter that is weighing you down? After taking these five steps, you need to begin to cleanse your current environment. If you want to de-clutter your life, start by cleaning up your physical environment. It can be tough to let things go, especially if you’re a bit of a hoarder. But those excess belongings weigh you down, both physically and mentally. Start with the easy stuff, it’ll help you build momentum. Most of the things you hold onto serve you no purpose and you cannot run the race of life with heavy baggage everywhere slowing you down. Go through your closet/wardrobe and make a big pile of everything you haven’t worn within the past year. Include clothing that no longer fits. Items you were given as gifts, or that you hid at the back of the closet because they were just too hideous to look at. Next, tackle your papers. Take the time to sift through the pile, and discard all those old bills, receipts and manuals for products you no longer own. So that’s your first task. Throw out the junk that’s crowding your garage, your office or spare room. All those things you haven’t looked at in years. They’re weighing you down. Give them away or donate them to charity, where those same items might enrich someone else’s life. You don’t need them anymore.
Next, it’s time to clean up your personal life. You cannot build new relationships or connections if you’re clinging to a past that no longer matches the vision of the person you want to become. Time passes, and life moves on. If you want to shift your life into new spheres, sometimes you have to move on too. Start by letting go of those relationships that no longer serve you. Those people whose phone calls you dodge because you really don’t enjoy talking to them (Change your number if you have to, my secret). Those relationships that are entirely one way, you know who I am talking about, the ones who do not respect your time and drain your energy. There’s nothing callous in this and actually you will find that when you start to use your filter, you will begin to attract a different type of people into your life and quite calmly God will remove those who no longer fit. You’ve simply grown in different directions, and you honour that person by allowing them to move on. Spend time instead with people who excite you and who encourage you to grow in new directions. If your life is too crowded, you’ll never have a chance to let those new great people in.
Lastly, when you’ve finished cleaning up your personal environment, and when you’ve cleared your life of those people whose values you’re no longer aligned with, it’s time to tackle your priorities. Start with how you spend your time. Do you want to reach new heights in your profession? Let go of those tasks you do only because you feel you have to. Delegate them to someone else. While you’re at it, you can also let go of all the jobs you absolutely hate, you’re probably not very good at them anyway. Release those things so you can focus on the tasks you’re truly great at. That place is called purpose and that is where you’ll bring something unique to the world. Do you find yourself doing too much? ADD - Automate, Delegate and Delete. Find a way to simplify everything you commit to by being more organized. Take a close look at how you spend your personal time too, and cut the stuff that doesn’t add value to your life. Don’t just try to slap a bunch of new ideas onto what you’re currently doing. Let those old habits go. Yes, this means taking the time to closely examine your beliefs and decide why you started doing these things in the first place. It isn’t easy, but it works.
So many people all around us every day, blindly walk through life, doing what’s always been done, raising kids the way they were raised, following cultural patterns and expectations without much thought, living by rules, thinking without questioning, building without creating, acting without deciding, working jobs but never creating them. So many walk the travelled path, some walk the less travelled path, but greatness walks the path never travelled. In the most fundamental sense, decisions are indeed being made. But they are being made by default. They are the automatic settings of repetition, not a willful act of choice. With so much intellectual smoke floating thick in the atmosphere today, poisoning our moral lungs, sapping our emotional strength with the toxicity of the intellectual trash that’s spewed across the airways and internet, in the swirling furnaces of contemporary culture, we need tools to help us breathe a little better, live above the acidic clouds of pain and self-defeat and moral compromise. My promise to you is that as you fine-tune the filters outlined above (conscience, wisdom, values, preference and choice), you will notice a difference. It will be a big difference. It will be like a breath of fresh air filling your lungs, displacing the moral, emotional and intellectual smoke and pollution with something richer, cleaner and more indefinitely enduring. God wants to help you to breathe again.
This is not how your story ends;