Just One Question


Pearls don’t lie on the seashore. If you want one, you must dive for it. – Chinese proverb

I felt stuck. Maybe you know the feeling. I kept wondering why could I never achieve anything or do anything distinctive that would make a difference? Everyone around me seems to have no problem both working hard at what they love to do and in growing themselves at the same time. Not me. I was stuck.

Every day when I came home from errands, carpool, etc. I felt overwhelmingly exhausted. I had no energy whatsoever to study for my certifications or to go for a walk, swim or even make a coffee. I know, unbelievable! All my energy was being sucked out of me in trying to do things I didn’t enjoy that much. I knew I could get more out of life. What I wanted was to spend time on my projects: this blog, my anthology, getting back to my real work, and a little Netflix or K-Drama bingeing. Well, to me, the only way to shift my reality was to change my priorities and put ME first.

But how? How does one DO that?

In practice, the only solution I could see was to wake up super early in the morning. It would give me the time, before anyone else is even thinking of waking my house, to pour all my energy into what is most important to me. But I already wake up before the sun, so isn’t this a wee bit crazy? I wondered this until a friend asked me to re-evaluate and ask myself what would be the benefits if I did get up earlier or found space to make time for myself outside of my responsibilities?

Honestly, I was silent. If you know me well, your chin is now on the floor. But I started to think about what he was saying. He has been through a lot and is in the process of redirecting his life to spend more time focused on what makes him tick and how to be happy every day. So, I thought about it. For a few weeks, I just thought about the concept.

Then it clicked. I could see positive things happening from making this simple change in my life. It was time to get out of the box and start looking at my choices and my realities. That one simple question expanded my proverbial horizons, and I stopped feeling stuck…just a few weeks ago. I realized I was so caught up in my problems and in trying to feel sorry for myself, that I missed the BIG PICTURE.

Today, I put my focus on solving my issues. The ones that affect only me, but in the long run make life better for everyone around me. And so you know, when I do something, I like to do it big. So I set my goal to keep getting up early, but right after carpool, it is time to caffeinate and take care of me. I’m gaining a few hours of doing whatever I want with a fresh mind and relaxed body. Hopefully. I know once the summer is over and I return to the real working world, I will have to readjust these hours, but that’s cool. As long as I remember to stay focused.

For me, it was that simple question that made it possible. That question changed my life because it made me pause and start to be brutally honest with myself. There are so many things that actually could happen because of my self-reflection.

For example, I can…

  • Work on promoting my blog.
  • Keep a daily exercise routine without anything getting in my way. Yes, walking the dog counts.
  • Study for my recertification exams, necessary for work
  • Work on my dream anthology…

Most important of all, I can now set the direction my life is headed instead of blindly stumbling along the twisted paths.

Let’s take a look at the bigger question. You see, the problem posed by my friend, “what would happen if…?” has ramifications. Think about the Matrix – all those doorways but only one phone. The alternatives to the question of what would happen if I changed something, also contains the queries of what would happen if I didn’t change and what wouldn’t happen in either of the coin flips. Hmm…food for thought and maybe you, like me, can start to see some new angles on your life’s geometric shape. Powerful idea, right?

Stop for a moment and think about this. If you can think of a complicated situation in your life, to after running it through these questions, you will be so much stronger on the other side. I have realized that by asking myself open questions with multiple variables, that I could open up my life to more possibilities. Gaining momentum is the more significant challenge.

So, Does It Work? It’s not a magic question, and it won’t give you answers like a Magic 8 Ball, but to give me or you new alternatives of how to live life, it works pretty well. All those things I mentioned before that would happen if I made one change was only the beginning. In my journal, I have several handwritten pages about how my life COULD change and how I am going to MAKE it change. That in itself is an excellent source of motivation. In fact, I wrote down three full pages, handwritten, about how my life could change. And that has been my primary source of motivation ever since.

I get it if you feel that becoming an early riser isn’t a serious life change and perhaps since we aren’t so close, you don’t think my issues are tough at all. That’s OK. Use this to your advantage. If you’re more of a night owl, set your time clock to make time for you to do what you want and need to do. Use this question on your problems, and make real, positive, constructive life changes.

I am putting my life first nowadays, and I feel that I achieve something just for me, every single day. That was what the question helped me to do. It changed my outlook and my life.

Stay motivated and caffeinated!Image result for coffee to go illustration