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Insights: Living Life from the Inside Out
July 29, 2008
Living Life from the Inside Out!
“The person who does not know how to live while they are making a living is a poorer person after their wealth is won than when they started.”
My wife and I spent a pleasant Saturday afternoon talking with a friend of my visiting mother-in-law, and his partner.
The friend is involved in a number of ambitious projects aimed at helping to regenerate the rural areas of the Eastern Cape. He told us an uplifting story about how, together with an influential group of engineers and architects, he had persuaded a major commercial bank to invest in the area in a way that ensured that both the investment and the product of the investment remained in the Eastern Cape.
The investment, which involved a major property development scheme, was conducted after extensive consultation with - and participation of - the local residents. The result was a thriving development built by the locals in a style fully suited to the local culture and in a way that promoted local employment.
The story led into to a discussion about how important it is for commercial organizations to prioritise the needs of people (their stakeholders, if you like) above the marketing of their products.
Like with all discussions, the thread of ours shifted to match the focus and energy of the participants – and the subject of people seemed to resonate strongly with our little group, prompting us to share more about our chosen vocations.
The friend’s partner was intrigued to hear about how I had become involved with life coach training and this encouraged her to share her own passion for people and her involvement with a wonderful non governmental organisation called ‘More to Life’ that I had only recently become aware of and whose philosophy I respect greatly.
The focus of our conversation then shifted to life in general and how so many people seem to ‘go through the motions’ of life without ever really knowing, at a deep level, who they are and what they are here on earth to do.
As we talked it through and traded views on why it was that such an important thing as life could be lived so superficially, I was hit by a strange mental image of a person being ‘bombarded’ by negative outside influences to the point where that person’s ’inner being’ had retreated to inhabit a tiny dot-like sphere deep inside their body!
Later that day I revisited my mental image and tried to decode what it meant to me.
I looked critically at my own life and came to the realisation that, like so many others, I had spent most of it simply dealing with – and reacting to - external influences. My life agenda had been structured around forces and issues external to myself. My life experiences had mostly been reactions to circumstances, events, and others’ needs, demands and viewpoints over which I had little, if any, control.
These days I feel fortunate that my life has changed to the point where my inner being (that is my authentic self) is far more in control of my life agenda than it has been in the past. I still have lots of work to do but at least I feel like I am on the right track!
The fact is, though, that life tends to impose itself totally and completely upon us if we allow it to.
The effect of permitting external influences to dictate how we live our lives is an ever-increasing feeling of powerlessness and even helplessness. Life becomes like a lottery as we spend our time reflecting on the hand that ‘fate’ has dealt us and hoping for a ‘lucky break’.
If we allow life to dictate to us we become like passengers in a mini bus. Where we end up, what route we take and whether we get to our destination successfully, is all out of our control and in the hands of someone or something else!
I don’t believe that we were ever meant to live life as a series of reactions to external influences, trusting to ‘fate’. I believe that we were meant to create our own reality, to craft our own unique experience on this earth; one that can be both inwardly meaningful and thoroughly joyful.
I believe that such a life is more than just possible; it is fully intended for us.
I believe we are meant to live life from the inside out!
What do I mean by this?
Well, take my mental image that I described earlier and turn that around. Imagine having an immensely powerful inner-self. One with such strength and resilience that it is virtually immune to the daily ‘bombardment’ from negative external influences. One that looks at external influences as opportunities to be used to shape the experience that we have on earth; as forces that are there to serve us in expediting our life purpose.
Learning to live life from the inside out requires a period of deep reflection. It demands of us to find the personal strength to ignore the seemingly endless and pressing demands of the outside world in favour of understanding what our own inner being wants and needs from life.
Understanding and respecting our own deep inner desires and prioritising these over demands from the external environment, will lead to a life of greater fulfillment, greater meaning and greater joy.
If you feel that this is a rather selfish approach to life, my response would be to ask you to consider what kind of world it would be if we were all living our lives on purpose and with genuine fulfillment, meaning and joy?
Your contribution to this world – and to others in it – will, I suggest, be far more profound if you have a clear understanding of who you are and where you are headed.
I have a passion for the discipline of life coaching because it helps people to live their lives from the inside out. It shares simple but very powerful techniques for living an authentic life of purpose.
Perhaps you’ve been thinking about joining the growing group of New Insights trainee life coaches? The New Insights life coach training programme is designed for people who are passionate about helping others realize their full potential while enjoying a life of personal freedom, confidence and growth themselves.
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