What is humanity’s greatest internal conflict? Also, good morning! I suppose I shouldn’t jump into the deep end without first dispensing with some pleasantries. Are you a big TV watcher? If we were to pick our favourite show of all time, it would have to be Mad Men. We’ve watched all 7 seasons/ 92 episodes at least 5 times.
This excellent question was actually posed to Don in Season 4, Episode 2 of Mad Men. (don’t worry, I had to look it up, I’m not that obsessed) When Don asks what humanity’s greatest conflict is, he is met with this golden answer by the wise Dr Miller.
It all comes down to what I want versus what’s expected of me.
Upon hearing this, Don’s response is humanity’s response.”That’s true.” As social creatures, we are endlessly concerned with what people think of our choices. It is the question of every social media post. Do people like this/me? As an inherent people pleaser, I am forever walking the tight rope of this internal conflict.
When it comes to setting our life goals, we can’t base our goals on someone else’s voice echoing in our head. That voice could be our parents, teachers, coaches, mentors, friends, colleagues, team-mates, fellow employees or even the person with the most likes on social media. Instead of pleasing the other voice, we must learn to develop and discern our own voice (what do I want) and then courageously take a leap to the place we want to be.
How can we discern our own voice? One way is through a daily practice of putting all other voices on mute. This means shutting off our phone, closing our computer, removing our headphones, finding a quiet place where we won’t be disturbed and then beginning to pay attention to the voices inside our head. This practice is called Meditation. And it should be part of your Waking Hour.
Meditation is not about willfully silencing the voices in our head but hearing them loud and clear so we begin to determine which voices are helping us get what we want. In other words, which voice is ours and which voice is not. If the dominant voice in our head is not ours, why have we allowed it to stay rent free? Is it because we would rather please others then ourselves? Is it because we have never taken the time to listen to our own voice?
How can we make the other voices go away? Again, meditation. Meditation allows us to pay attention to each voice and hear it for what it is. Upon listening, we hear which voice is impure (not ours) and then, with courage, we calmly release it. The reason the voice is there is because we haven’t vetted it properly causing a white noise blocking out our own voice. This daily practice of listening and calmly releasing other voices will gradually allow us to develop and hear our own voice and that’s when we’ll find we’re more focused with creating goals that we want. Not to mention, we’ll feel a whole lot more fulfilled.
A SMART goal is a goal we have set for ourselves to help us get to where we want to be. It can be informed by others but should never be for others. Like a great TV show, a goal is created by us and for us and then ultimately distributed to a waiting world.