When things are new to us, there is always a learning curve until we become proficient. Once we become proficient, we often begin to run on auto pilot. We can proficiently do the task without having to really think about it. That becomes so comfortable that we can get stuck there and never leave that comfort zone. The longer we stay in this spot of auto pilot, the more we don't feel we have control, life is dull, we are just going through the motions. We buy into the belief there is only one right way to do things, and we can find ourselves feeling like something is missing and life is lacking excitement. Some people will become very unhappy, even depressed in this state of auto pilot. Nothing ever changes, each day look like the last...almost like a replay of the movie Ground Hog Day, with Bill Murray.
How do you know if you are running on auto pilot and if it is negatively affecting you? Ask yourself some questions:
When was the last time you learned something new? - Successful people are life long learners. There is always something new and exciting to learn about. It could be hobbies, sports, music, art, work related or even a new language. If we are not learning and growing we are slowly dying.
Do you go to work, come home, watch tv and repeat? - What a dreary existence this is. So many in society have bought into this pattern and wonder why their life never changes, or wonder why they feel down or even depressed. Watching people on TV live out their lives, in no way compares to getting out and truly living your own.
Do you have weight you want to lose? - How long have you been wanting to lose the weight? Have you "attempted" various diets? Does it seem easier to just go back to old eating habits and forgo exercise? How does this make you feel? Easier doesn't get better results...it repeats the same. It takes conscious thought and effort to change our eating habits and commit to an exercise routine. The good news is when you fully commit to this, the results follow and you feel so much better. It gives you energy to do other things.
Does life feel dull and uninteresting? - Ask yourself i you have fallen into one of these patterns. If nothing ever changes and you just keep going through the motions on auto pilot, no wonder life feels dull and uninteresting. Ask yourself what you would like to change that would add more excitement into your life. Understand that in order to make changes, you must think differently and take different actions. The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over expecting different results.
Do you feel you don't have choice? - This is a conditioned belief that much of society has. It can relate to work, relationships, finances, fitness etc. Observe how often you find yourself saying, "I don't have a choice". Stop in that moment and reframe your self talk. What would you do if you did have a choice? Take control and start doing THAT! For instance, someone may say I hate my job, but I don't have a choice, I have been there too long. How depressing! You are right that you don't have a choice, IF, you are not willing to take personal responsibility to do anything differently. Start making a list of all the places you could apply to. Ask yourself if you could apply your knowledge and skills to starting a business of your own. Do you need to upgrade any knowledge or skills and would that make difference in your possibilities? You see many people just settle and never think to ask themselves more empowering questions. When you are willing to do this, you find solutions that were always there, but you just hadn't identified.
Do you remember your last commute to work or wherever you were going? - If you are like most people, you have driven somewhere and realized you don't even remember doing it...your mind was somewhere else. When this happens it can be a wakeup that we are not fully present in the moment. We are missing the journey. I have learned that the journey is where the growth, the excitement, the learning etc., takes place. Yes the destination is wonderful, but if you don't observe and enjoy the journey you are missing out on so much! It isn't just about driving...how many other areas of your life are you missing by being on auto pilot?
Do you have moments where you visualize how your life could be different? - Ask yourself why you are not taking action towards this? It is often because of fear and limiting beliefs that one does not take the steps forward to move in the direction of their goals. It is "easier" to stay where you are. Nothing great happens by choosing easier or staying in the comfort zone. Stop denying yourself and realize what you are capable of. We have potential for a reason...to live into it.
Can you relate to the people you are surrounded with? - Sometimes throughout life, we outgrow people we are surrounded with. If you cannot relate to the people in your life, you are allowing them to hold you back from the direction you want to go. Start surrounding yourself with people you relate to. This is a way to accelerate your growth and create more fulfillment in your life.
Are you happy? - This is probably the most important question a person can ask themselves. If you are not happy, what do you need to change? Have the courage to be authentic with yourself and be willing to do what it takes to create happiness in your life. No one, or no thing can MAKE you happy. It is our own personal responsibility to make conscious choices that support our own happiness. If we are not truly happy ourselves, we cannot contribute to other's happiness.
Auto pilot is for aviation, not for people that want to live a fulfilling, happy life. It starts with awareness and a willingness to stop sugar coating, stop following the masses, think for yourself, and make purpose driven decisions in your life.....those that are willing to do this find everything else falls into place.
Debbie Ruston has been an entrepreneur and trainer since 1986. She works with individuals, and groups interested in developing their entrepreneurial leadership mindset. Was this article of value to you? Feel free to share it on your social networks and with your contacts, join in the discussion below, and FOLLOW her on the top right corner of this page.
Debbie's also on:
G+https://plus.google.com/+DebbieRuston-TheSuccessEducatorAnd now on iTunes
Debbie Ruston - Entrepreneur - International Trainer, Visionary Leader