the beginning of wisdom

For the past couple of weeks, people around the world have been thinking and contemplating their past, present and future. There have probably been uncountable promises, resolutions and decisions made in light of the New Year.

It’s interesting how a period of introspection can encourage change. I’m not sure I agree with the whole end of year thought process, but I guess people are usually too busy to think deeply the rest of the time. A tragedy or life-changing event will often make you look deep inside, but unless something like that happens, the growth of wisdom is probably put off to this once a year full stop.

Most people don’t truly know what they want. Oh, there’s generally a surface understanding of material wants – a bigger car, better home, cooler job and such things. But what about the real stuff – the inside stuff. Who do you want to be? Well, you of course. But who are you, really?

Most of the time, knowing what you don’t want is the start of knowing what you do want. It’s difficult to make a list of things you want to be – we’re so much more inclined to understand what we don’t like, than what we like. And so experimenting is key – allowing life to be a journey and an adventure. How many people have made enormous and courageous changes because they’ve said ‘enough’? As opposed to saying ‘more of the same’?

Also, by experiencing life, you get to understand what you’re not willing to do, what comes easily to you, and what is a struggle. If something is a struggle, but it induces a feeling of pure joy or makes you feel alive while you’re doing it, then it’s worth doing. If it’s easy but makes you miserable, then it’s so not worth it. Knowing that, and understanding how to balance it out is the beginning of wisdom.

It’s not always easy to make necessary changes, though. The motivation to sustain change needs to come from a far deeper place than superficiality. Deciding to go to gym (as I’m sure many people have decided at the beginning of this year) needs more than a vague desire to be thin, or fit because that’s the new trend. A person who suffers an illness will probably be far more motivated to begin a healthier lifestyle than someone who merely battle to close the top button on their favourite jeans.

That’s an example of something you don’t want forcing you to focus on what you do want. If you’ve been very ill, you don’t want to be that ill again, so you do what you can to ensure that won’t happen, turning your don’t want into a want (to be well). Gratitude towards your illness will be in order, then; moving you one step forward on the path to wisdom.

So, what’s motivated your decision? Is it something you think you should be doing? If it is, then you probably won’t sustain it. If it’s something you deeply desire to be doing, you’ll get it right.

My goal this year is to find out more of what I don’t want so I can move forward wisely to the things I do want, at the same time being grateful for any events that reveal what I don’t want.

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