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Is Your Lifestyle Reflecting Your Values

Living The Life We Want And Not Going With The Flow

Those who interrogate others for a living and those who conduct polls professionally have some of the best insight into the human mind. They are paid well and relied upon to obtain very accurate information.

Communication is at the heart of obtaining the right information from the subject. Asking the right questions is critical, followed by repeating the answer back to the subject to make sure that the information came across correctly.

It’s common in this technology age to think that we just need a little more information or the right information in order to make the best decisions in our lives. Naturally, if this were the case, with nearly everyone having access to unlimited information on the internet then there would be no unwise decisions being made.

Information is easy to come by. Yes, there is a lot of foam on the latte of information we are served but it isn’t hard to find exactly what you are looking for once you get past the 1st page of Google search. The 1st page is selling you an answer, it’s the next few pages which are providing the real information. By selling I mean that most of that information was written by a party who will benefit from you having that specific answer, not to mention the gluttony of ads splooged on your face.

Let’s leave the information, the facts alone for a bit and focus on something far more important. The question…

  • What is a perfect day in the life of me?
  • What do I want from my full-time job in return for the many dedicated hours I put in?
  • I am 88 years old right now, laying on my death-bed, what is it I want to own, what is I want to have accomplished?
  • If I could cut my monthly expenses by 75% today, how many hours would I spend at my job starting tomorrow?
  • What are my 5 biggest fears right now and what can I do so that I’m less afraid?
  • What is my individual definition of happiness?
  • How would I live my life if I had $10,000,000 in the bank?
  • In an ideal world how would I define my ideal health?
  • How do I feel about the suffering of those in other countries in order for me to enjoy the technology/freedom/luxuries I enjoy?
  • What would be the most ideal relationship I could have with my significant other?
  • What are the things I like least about myself?
  • What is the perfect lifestyle for me in regards to work:life?
  • What would happen if I left this job today?
  • What would happen if my entire town got flooded tonight and the majority of infrastructures destroyed?
  • If I couldn’t practice medicine starting today, what would I do for a living?
  • What job would I want to do if money didn’t matter?
  • Which friends/family are giving me the most grief and adding nothing to us as friends/family?
  • Why are there perfectly happy couples living off of $45k/year while others keep chasing happiness with five times that salary?
  • How would I live my life if starting tomorrow I only had a $45k/yr income?
  • What would my eulogy read if I died tonight in my sleep?
  • What would I want to hear at my eulogy if I died tonight in my sleep?

 

Such a crazy set of random questions, I know. When you first read them you might think they are irrelevant to you but if you take a pen and paper or start typing onto a keyboard your answers it can be an interesting exercise.

The way your ask a question matters, we know this as doctors quite well which is why medical students and nurses often have a tough time getting down to the meat. These questions can make you feel uncomfortable, put you on the spot and be a bit in your face (sorry about that). According to the poll takers and interrogators it’s these questions that elicit the most accurate answers.

I think it was in the book Your Money Or Your Life where the authors talked about tallying your spending for a few months/a year and seeing if the amounts you spent in each category was aligned with your values. And whether you wish you spent more or less on each category. This is just a personal finance practice to make sure that we are spending our money on what matters instead of wasting it.

I look back at my spending on dining out and I wish I could have just handed those 5 Benjamin’s to a homeless person… that would make me much happier because it’s aligned more with my priorities.

You can do the same for the time you spend doing various things. If you spent 12 hours playing a sport, being active in the gym or going for walks but you spent 45 hours watching Netflix you may find that you wish your time commitment was flip-flopped. What about time spent in traffic, time spent answering emails, time spent cleaning or fixing something in the house, time spent running errands or time spent in presence of those you didn’t care for as much?

By asking yourself questions with that tone of immediacy you are taking your mind out of the dreamy, hypothetical phase and forcing it into that scenario as vividly as possible.

It’s good to really get into it, really immerse yourself and step out of that mind-trap that’s yourself and view your options from different angles. This is where a journal is invaluable. If you don’t have one or haven’t written in it in a long time, my goodness dude, get online and start a free Google documents account and start writing. Write your heart out, write about the darkest, deepest, scariest or most intimate shit you can think of. It is so fucking liberating, I can’t tell you.

If you love animals but are eating animal products then you are likely causing some animal suffering out there somewhere. Maybe you don’t believe that animals actually suffer when they are raised on larger farms for the sole purpose of being slaughtered or milked… in which case I think you’re not well-informed or even worse in denial.

Your insight is not what I’m trying to argue with, there is a deeper point to be grasped. If you do something you don’t believe in, even something as routine as eating meat, but it happens to be something you are morally against then in time you will scar your mind, your conscious.

If you don’t enjoy being a doctor then you are spreading your dislike, your negativity onto the world. It’s easy to do it without even knowing. When I catch myself complaining to my nurse or to my partner about my job then I’m doing just that.

There is a notable difference between venting and complaining. I fear that I have fallen into the latter. I am in a fortunate position to do something about it. The question I am asking myself is what my next step is, which I am still figuring out.

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