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March 4, 2012

Tip of the Week 

Insurance Against Mediocrity 

Awareness

What it is: Awareness is your personal relationship to the things you know; it’s more than just knowing facts.  Awareness requires context and context requires that you know your core values, your role in the world, and that you've moved beyond your ego. 

Why It's Important: Awareness is the first step in real choice.  To be aware means you’re thinking in the present moment vs. hooked into the past or the future.  It’s vital we operate in the present moment because that’s the only time we have any power to make things happen.

Past Present Future - Awareness is in the Present

The Problem: Inconsistency

Most people think that awareness is being alert, or perceptive, or intelligent.  Although you might not be harshly graded on an English essay if you used these words interchangeably, awareness is much more. Without personal context there can’t be meaning. Awareness becomes a comfortable place to hide from having to figure out who you are and what’s important. Awareness for most people stops at recognition of facts or evidence. When you stop here, it means that the implications of interpreting the meaning of facts are too frightening for you.

 

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Facts are confusing without context.

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Influence requires clarity about the meaning of facts in the context of personal values.  Part of our job as parents is to help explain why things are the way they are and how to leverage everything for a happy life. If you’re unclear about this in your own mind, your messages will be at best confusing and inconsistent, and at worst irrelevant. 

 

The Tip: Reduce Distractions 

Awareness requires a bit of white space—time in which you are free from distractions.  To be aware of your emotions and reactions you’ll need a quieter world in which to hear the subtle voice of your awareness. Here are 5 possible experiments you could try. Pick one and see what happens.

1.      One-on-one time.  Objectively consider your friends and pick one who seems to be more aware. Try spending one-on-one time with this person with the intention of observing his or her awareness in action.

2.    Simplify life. Significantly simplify 3 days of your life. Intentionally arrange your schedule for blocks of undefined free time earmarked for wandering: wander around your house, your neighborhood, a new park, a new shopping mall, whatever. Having no agenda other than observation and contextual connection, you’ll become more aware of a great many things.

3.    Reduce excess stimulation. Turn off the radio or TV for 3 days. Eliminate the excess stimulation (and noise) to make room for observation.

4.    Silence your know-it-all self.  Acknowledge that you’re clueless and approach a few easy situations from this perspective. You’ll be surprised how clued-in you become.

5.     Ask Questions.  The best one to ask is: Why? Why am I upset by this? Why am I doing this?

Benefits:  Consistency

  • Consistency -- basic core values have same context in all situations

  • Connection– it’s easier to be with people who realize they don’t know everything.

  • Achievement– you see more options and can make better choices

  • Energy– you can channel energy spent on resisting (fear) into understanding and accepting. 

Related Articles:  Responsible vs. Accountable, An End to Rough-Housing,

Related Tip of the Week:  Credibility, Accept vs. Agree,

 

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