Hopefully, you have dreams, and each year is asking us if we are up to materializing some this year or not? Depending on your preferences you might think about those as your dreams, your plans for 2022, new year’s resolutions, goals, projects, or ideas. It does not really matter what terminology you use but what does matter is if you succeed in making them happen or not. We are going to increase your success rate a few notches in this newsletter.
Ok, you are right, you are going to increase and not we. This important lesson I got when I said to the specialist who had just finished the air conditioning unit installation and then I said: “Hm, I think we need to move this half a meter to the left.” The answer was abrupt: “We are not going to do anything, it is me who has to do this f**ing hassle…”
I hope you are not that grumpy taking some wins out while investing time in reading :-)
When talking about dreams, this mainly consists of two parts: making the decision, choosing something, and then the execution. At the beginning of the year it is a good time to choose the thinking or planning time unit to be a year and not a day nor a month, but let's see how different time periods relate to different decision types.
The main idea, I would like to emphasize on types, is how different terms could and should be used to keep things clear. A decision is the best term to be used for a daily time period while resolution works over a longer time period such as a year. To extend it even further then a decision that goes well over 5 years could be regarded as a commitment.
Oxford definition of the word resolution is: a firm decision to do something or not to do something. It makes sense as “firm” in our context means that it will not be altered the next day and hence it can stand for a long time.
Why do we need decisions, resolutions, and commitments?
One aphorism attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson sets the stage for this question nicely: Sow a thought and reap an act; Sow an act and reap a habit; Sow a habit and reap a character; Sow a character and reap a destiny;
You may ask but where is the decision in this equation? The answer is simple. Not every thought becomes an act. You need to decide to take action. If you do not decide then most of the thoughts will not set anything into motion on the physical plane. Moreover, if you do not know how to decide or mostly even skip to decide, you will end up with reaction instead of action/act. Yes, indeed, any action that comes directly from thinking is called reaction. The reason is that it is skipping two important steps that human is capable of.
Once you have achieved clarity in terms of thinking as the first step, you need to reach out to your feelings (not emotions). The type of questions that guide you towards your feelings are:
What is the real issue I am dealing with here?
How does this thought/plan make me feel?
Does this take care of my needs?
Is there something that I have not considered?
Once you get the feeling, as the third step you need to search for your own knowledge bank called your life experience. The feeling you got in the previous step acts for you as an index/pointer to find relevant experiences. And then the last, fourth step, is to take action which is a far cry from the quick reaction one can draw based on his/her first thoughts.
Yes, indeed I have not yet answered the question of why we need decisions and resolutions. Well, the answer lies in the last word of the aphorism - destiny. If you want to fulfill your destiny then decisions, resolutions, and commitments are must-have components. So let's add them to the equation:
Sow a thought with decision and reap an act; Sow an act with resolution and reap a habit; Sow a habit with commitment and reap a character; Sow a character and reap a destiny;
Notice that these days people do not really like resolutions nor commitments. Instead, so-called freedom is preferred - why should I stick to my decision for months and not to mention years when I might want something else by the time. I want to retain my freedom and being committed to this or that clearly reduces my freedom. Indeed, such freedom and destiny do not fit together.
If you think about a cell in your body then you also do not want it to have the freedom to choose its function to be. Such cells who do it are called cancer. Yes, there are many implications made here but I will return to those later.
Resolution is the glue between today and your vision of the future
Your goals, dreams are your version of your future. Resolutions are needed to make it happen. Why do I say your version? Quite literally it means that there are different versions and here I do not mean that the future is the sum total of different people/beings working on their versions but I mean that even you have two distinct versions within you.
Most people are generally aware of only one version of their dream and unfortunately many do not have even this. This first version can be named Wanted Dream as this is based on what you want into your life. All the things, people, and experiences you want to have in your life.
The second big secret dream can be called Needed Dream. The reason it is called needed hints that it has to do with your needs. Do you know what your needs for life are? Maslow has created a well-known pyramid of needs and if you think of some of your needs then most likely you can categorize them into Maslow’s pyramid.
However, thinking of needs is boring for most people as those seem to be essential stuff which everyone needs to have in their life and in developed nations they can be met relatively easily. That is also one of the reasons why people do not know about their Needed Dreams since there is nothing fancy in it and aren’t dreams and life goals supposed to be fancy and inspiring?
The problem mostly is that we have not been thought to be inspired by our needs. In Maslow's pyramid, the highest need is self-actualization. In Emerson's quote, it is called destiny. For self-actualization which means fulfilling your destiny, you NEED CHALLENGES. Agh, why? Why would I need difficulties while I prefer to have an exciting adventure which can be enjoyed?
Needs come from your inner being, your so-called True Self.
From this, it follows that we can call a Needed Dream also an Inner Dream - a Dream that is already there inside of you. Waiting to be discovered. Well, it is not waiting in the sense that it is not being worked on but it is waiting for you to discover that you are already working on it albeit unaware of it.
Coming back to term resolution let's take a look at etymology. It comes from Latin resolvere which means to loosen, to release. A most apt question! What do we need to release?
We have two dreams and what needs to be released is the conflict in those dreams. If your Wanted Dream is not in alignment with the Inner Dream then your resolution is not healthy and you are working against your inner being. In that context, resolution means that you let go of those wants which are opposing your needs. And here I mean again challenges!
What are those challenges I am talking about? Good question, thank you for asking ;-) The purpose of all life is the evolution of awareness. Challenge is a means by which evolution takes place. Our awareness consists of all kinds of qualities and hence the job of any challenge is to support us to exercise a quality that is weak in us. For example, if you are impatient then you will be constantly challenged to wait, to use your forbearance, to be focused, to be dedicated, etc.
Since our Inner Dream is all about our needs, i.e. challenges then its aim is to train us to be a Hero! If you want your resolution to hold then it has to be aligned with your Path with the Heart - another verbalization of the Inner Dream.
Btw, we have just launched a new Facebook group for those interested in finding their Path with the Heart: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cocoonity You are welcome to join!
Now back to upgrading Emerson’s aphorism:
Sow a thought with decision and reap an act; Sow an act with resolution aligned with your path with the heart and reap a habit; Sow a habit with commitment and reap a character; Sow a character and reap a destiny;
Yes, yes, indeed. Where is an example? Well, here it comes. I will start with one of my dreams: to finish my countryside home. This is how our dreams are mostly verbalized but now let's upgrade it to the above standards.
Firstly, I would like to make sure that it aligns with my needs. What are my needs? The most basic one is that I need a roof over my head and in Estonia it is good if it is also warm. Ok, yes, I need to mark that I do have a home in Tartu as well but my life got an operating system upgrade, meaning a divorce, and hence I need a new permanent home.
The next layer of needs can be peeled off by using the 4-step method mentioned above: thinking-feeling-knowledge-action and hence I need to connect to my feelings regarding home. What comes up for me is the feeling of space and time to be with myself and also to host close ones should they come to be with me.
Having the feeling I can immediately search my experience base and see that I need my mornings, a few hours of uninterrupted quality time with myself. This sets the tone for the whole day. Also, sleep is super-important to me.
Yet another thread starts to emerge from the feelings if I comb the challenges I tend to have in my life. Firstly, I have a lot of drive and hence it is easy for me to go into overdrive, goal-oriented maniacal taskmaster mode. The quality I need to practice is to enjoy the journey and not be fixated on outcomes.
Hence my action plan is to work on this dream project only when I feel I can enjoy the process and definitely not in the mornings. I am also capping my hours to 16h per month so that it will not distract me from my work which is also well aligned with my path with the heart. Otherwise, this Dream becomes a want that takes me away from my Inner Dream.
Since I have phantomed out that my path with the heart is to work with myself and with people around me, I also aligned my new home with it. Namely, the original floor plan was not suitable for hosting smaller events up to 20 people. I removed some walls to create more alignment with my destiny.
Thank you for staying till the end, well, it is not the end as there is so much more I could share on the topic but I chose to not test your patience with me and I stop here. If you would like me to share more then please let me know and of course, I love questions!
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PS. Greetings to my friend, Mark, whose company brand name is Resolve! ;-)
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