The concept of self-renewal may be the most important idea of all when it comes to becoming more productive and successful long term. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. So unless there is a continuous and ongoing attempt at self-evaluation and self-renewal you may not even reach the finish line before dropping out of the race.
The concept of self-renewal may be the most important idea of all when it comes to becoming more productive and successful long term. Our bodies, emotions, and minds have natural systems where they renew themselves.
They get rid of the junk, replace the sick cells, put new ones in place, etc. The interesting insight here is that these processes can’t be impacted consciously.
Life is a marathon, not a sprint. So unless there is a continuous and ongoing attempt at self-evaluation and self-renewal you may not even reach the finish line before dropping out of the race.
You can’t just say, “OK, stop feeling depressed right now”, or “OK, start attacking the cancer cells” to make it happen. When you realise this, you’ll understand the power of renewal and how
to use it.
You’ll understand that you need to provide yourself with basic building blocks so your systems can renew themselves automatically, as they’re designed to. You’ll also need to stop doing the things that prevent these systems from renewing themselves.
On a physical level, most people want to feel better, more energetic, etc. If you don’t feel this way, you’re probably not giving your body the necessary building blocks. Water is one of these building blocks.
On an emotional level, we have processes that let us take advantage of opportunities and become optimistic, and processes that put us in a natural cycle of grieving when we lose something special to us. But many people block these natural emotional cycles, often with tension.
Inspire positive emotions by doing things that make you feel good inside, e.g. mentoring someone, doing something for another without expecting anything in return, etc.
On a mental level, the mind has processes to keep ourselves mentally healthy, for example with sleep and dreaming. If you don’t know what to do to avoid blocking these processes, you won’t be operating as well as you can.
One super important key here is to learn how to rest correctly and deeply, rather than resist resting or experience anxiety about resting. Pay attention to when you start feeling tired or unfocused. It’s your body telling you there’s a cycle that needs to be honoured.
Your digestive system is super important. Chew your food thoroughly. Eat small meals and try not to snack between. Drink water about thirty minutes before a meal instead of drinking with the meal (it dilutes your stomach acid).
Your respiratory system is also, obviously, critical. Practice breathing from your stomach — like a baby does — instead of from your upper chest.
Your muscular and skeletal system is vital. Your body balances itself when it’s moving. Spend thirty-sixty minutes a day moving your body. Stretch. Your immune system is important, too. Eat raw and organic foods when you can.
Time Cycles (Seasons in a Man’s Life, Daniel Levinson)
There are certain natural time cycles that everyone goes through. We can choose to work with these time cycles or be out of synch with them. Most of us normally work with these cycles of time in an instinctive, automatic fashion.
The overview below is a summary from the very excellent book The Seasons of a Man’s Life by Daniel Levinson. For the purposes of managing time, I will draw a very sharp distinction between the use of willpower and goal setting at different times in our lives.
There are many theories and models about developmental psychology and life structures. These include the likes of Erik Erikson, Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, and others.
Life structure refers to the underlying pattern in an individual’s life at any given point in time. A person’s life structure is shaped mainly by his social and physical environment, and it primarily involves family and work.
There are six stages of adulthood in Levinson’s book. From early childhood up to age twenty-two, the use of willpower in running one’s life and in goal setting is crucial. In fact, those who fail to do so pay the price by not having these faculties developed later on in life. This is when the 10,000-hour rule comes into play.
However, after age twenty-two, willpower must be used more and more sparingly because it ends up exhausting your cognitive, affective, and cognitive aspects of your psyche. The cognitive part of the brain measures intelligence, the affective deals with emotions, and the cognitive drives how one acts on those thoughts and feelings.
Once these faculties are exhausted, you will go back to making choices the way you have always done. You become a legal adult at eighteen or twenty-one, depending on the laws of your country or state, but you reach your biological adulthood only at thirty-five.
Once this occurs, the rate at which your cells break down speeds up. So the energy required to exert the use of your willpower will be used up faster.
So the more the number of positive habits you have to develop to manage your life better, the harder it gets. It’s therefore crucial that you develop the right habits as early as you can.
If you want to successfully manage time later (after thirty-five) in your life, learn the right habits
first. Keeping to a regular schedule of waking up on time, having all your meals on time, sleeping on time, etc... all these seemingly-small habits contribute.
In Levinson’s Life Structure theory there are two key concepts:
1. The Stable Period — This is the time when a person makes crucial choices in life.
2. The Transitional Period — This is the end of one stage of adulthood and the beginning of a new one. Life during these transitions can be uncertain but the quality and significance of
one’s life commitments often change between the beginning and end of a period.
I have mentioned the two different ways of living your life. The model adopted by my father. He was swept up in the current, coasting along, not choosing his destination and ending up in a place he never would have chosen if he had consciously been aware of it.
He was pulled in a hundred different directions and whichever pulled hardest was the focus for the day, week or month.
Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of people approach life. They just operate automatically. They are caught up in life’s distractions. They don’t think about where they might be going, and before long they end up at a destination they would not have chosen if they were conscious of what they were choosing.
The unintended destination may be a health crisis, a marital crisis, a business failure, or a career upset; whatever it is, they end up in a place far from what they thought they were going.
But the alternative — that’s where I was, and you may be there too — is what I call “The Compulsive Life”. This is the overcorrection to “Coasting Along”. This is the type of person that takes great pride in setting and achieving goals. They are hyper-driven on making progress.
But this person is so driven at excelling in one area of their life that they often neglect the other areas, and that’s what happened to me. You ignore, until it is too late, whatever does not contribute to your goals.
And if you are not careful, it can lead to the destruction of important relationships, your health, and a lot more. We get so rewarded for being successful and appreciated for being ‘On time, on target’ that we keep doing more and more.
Both these approaches will result in the individual in question struggling to deal with the mid-life crisis or transition that affects everyone from about 45 to 55. Those who fail to deal well with this phase will watch the breakdown of their health, their relationships and sometimes even their finances.
So renewal is an ongoing dynamic process that takes different forms as well progress through life.
DO you have the following habits/routines/DMs in place?
• Identifying the Core Priority
• Waking up
• Getting ready to work
• Winding down before sleep
• Dealing with relationships (Work and Personal)
• Dealing with Challenges
• Problem Solving
• Renewal (physical, emotional and mental)
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On this podcast I’m going to help you design a life that works. So you are able to say yes to the things that matter and eliminate everything else that slows you down. The more clear you can be about how to organise your daily life to support your bigger vision, the more you’ll step into your true potential, stay on track and accomplish all that you want and deserve. Are you ready to make that happen?
Feel free to reach out to me to ask your questions at AskDrSun.com. Your life is a gift. Design it. Do what matters and join me each week as we get closer to designing the life of your dreams. I am Dr Sun. Join me next week on Your Life by Design.