Perhaps it’s in the most uncertain times that life forces you to look inward and honestly examine your life. When we think of clarity, we recognize the significance that this state of mind can bring to one’s life. The confidence. The peace. Trust in one’s understanding of how they want to live their life — the ability to self-exam. Remaining focused while things around you seem unbalanced. Acting with belief, ignoring what must be ignored.
Tolstoy said, “The surest sign of truth is simplicity and clarity,” which is necessary during these times. He goes on, “Lie is always complicated, pretentious and wordy.”
No kidding. Over the last 12 months, I knew that I had to use this time to find clarity, despite the uncertainty all around us, more than ever.
So, how did I do it?
Well, let me tell you.
Avoid The News
Like the plague! Literally.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said, “Day by day, what you choose, what you think and what you do is who you become.”
It’s important to know what’s going on in the world. You certainly don’t want to get caught on those news clips outside a University, not knowing who the Vice President currently is. Still, there is a difference between understanding what’s going on and letting the news cycles stimulate your life — which is unhealthy and potentially dangerous.
Searched For Wisdom
I don’t think there is any more relaxing, peaceful, and productive way to foster clarity in your life than sitting down and just reading books.
Every time I read, I feel a better sense of where my life is headed, in my desire to grow my wisdom on how to live with more clarity. Reading provides wisdom. Wisdom provides more insight. Insight creates clarity.
Journal About My Future
I write in my journal every morning about what I want to accomplish. Who I want to become. What I think I’m doing well at and what I think I need to get better at. Notes about what I think must get out of my head. Notes that create…more clarity.
As Robin Sharma said about journaling, “It offers a place where you can hold a deliberate, thoughtful conversation with yourself.” If you are to find clarity in your life, there’s no better place to start than a conversation with yourself.
James Allen said, “The very fact that you are a complainer, shows that you deserve your lot.” Seems harsh. Maybe not. These days, I hear a lot of different complaining. It seems someone is always upset with their place in life. Or, they don’t like how they’re being represented, or nobody is helping them enough, or somebody is helping too much — the list goes on. Perhaps, it’s fair or unfair.
Either way, listening to these narratives or arguing or getting worked up provides zero benefits to your life. Box these commentaries out. You’ll be glad you did. As Morrie Schwartz said, “you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own.”
Find Joy in the Tiny Things
Reading to your child. Taking a walk with your family. Enjoying a conversation with your spouse. Having a laugh with your father. The peace of a quiet Sunday afternoon. A good night’s rest. A well-cooked meal.
I spend a lot of my time watching a 2-year-old laugh at the simplest things, and it reminds me how much joy there is in the world — if you are just willing to see it. Your life would be much simpler, happier, and more joyful if you chose to see the tiny little joys in life, much like a child. It’s worth it.
The wise sage, Morrie Schwartz, from the book Tuesday’s With Morrie, said, “Because if you’ve found meaning in your life, you don’t want to go back. You want to go forward.” That’s me. I want to go forward.
When you’re fortunate to discover your purpose, you’ll be crystal clear on your life. What to do. Who you want to be around. How you want to spend your day. What you want to accomplish. All these questions that tend to sit idle up in our heads when we don’t indeed have clarity suddenly become the vision for the puzzle that is life.
In Stillness is the Key, author Ryan Holiday asks two incredibly insightful questions that have more relevance in our world today, than ever before:
“How different would the world look if people spent as much time listening to their conscience as they did to chattering broadcasts? If they could respond to the calls of their convictions was quickly as we answer the dings and rings of technology in our pockets?”
Noise. Static. Constant movement. Action. That’s what’s going on in our worlds — and unfortunately, our heads — which doesn’t leave us much of a chance to gain the clarity we seek in life. We don’t allow it. We strangle it at every opportunity with our social media, news alerts, and emails. We invite the world to drag us along, at its pace, then wonder why we feel so much anxiety, uncertainty, and angst.
I could argue that the only way to find clarity is by first finding stillness within. You must seek stillness.
If you read throughout history, you will find great men and women from every imaginable worldly circumstance and setting who find clarity in their lives at the most inopportune time. There is never a perfect time to seek this mental simplicity in our lives.
You have to find it in your life by the choices you make to live.