How to Listen to Yourself for Advice
The only advice I'll listen to seriously is "listen to yourself" ... and that's the only advice I like to give. People know what they want (deep down) and any other advice will only affirm it or go against it. The greatest thing you can do for anyone is help them dig down through their layers (usually just be asking questions) until they uncover who they really are and what they really want. When they get to this point, they won't be asking anyone for advice anymore.
A friend called me this morning to chat about his girlfriend, who is struggling to decide between getting married and moving abroad or staying in the USA with family. Is she ready to get married? Is she ready to move to a new country? Will she be happy living away from her parents? She was feeling pulled between adventurous possibilities and the comfort of home. She needs to 'listen to HERSELF' but how does she do that when there are so many voices in her head?
If she's anything like me, the problem is not having too many voices, it's that her own voice is not loud enough or she hasn't learned what her own voice sounds like yet - so her ears can't pick it out from the crowd.
Once you hear your own voice shouting, you'll know it forever and it won't matter if an army of outside voices tries to distract you because that voice from your gut becomes the only voice that matters.
So, my only advice for my friend was this, "Instead of spending all this time talking about what she wants to do, trying to figure out what the 'right' or 'best' option is, have her focus on who she wants to BE. When she's clear on WHO she wants to be (i.e. the kind of person she wants to be and the kind of life she wants to live, the kind of life that she dreams of, that excites her, that makes her feel alive and happy) then all the decisions will become obvious, her path will be illuminated like little lights on the floor of the movie theater."
If you want to be the kind of person who takes daring risks and lives a life of diverse adventure, then the choice between staying home with your parents and flying half way around the world will be an easy one. Likewise, if you want to be the kind of person who cures cancer, then the choice between backpacking around Europe for the summer and getting an internship at a cancer research lab will also be clear. Unless of course, you want to be the kind of person who cures cancer while living a life full of adventure, in which case then you probably need to find an internship at a cancer research lab in the snowy mountains of Switzerland (only accessible by backpack and mountain goats).
See? Figure out WHO you want to BE and HOW you want to LIVE and then you'll know WHAT you want to DO.
As for me...
I want to be the kind of person who is always trying something new*.
I want to be the kind of person who is overflowing with joy and love.
I want to be the kind of person who is enjoying every minute of life for what it is.
So today, with this in mind...
I know my actions/decisions should include trying something new (maybe finally going busking even though I'm scared), cultivating joy** (maybe I'll have a dance party in my bedroom), and delighting in the simple pleasures of the present moment (I'll watch the wind blow through the trees while I suck on my orange slices and sip green tea for breakfast from my favorite mint green mug).
What about you? // Chamonix
*Always trying something new...despite fear, because fear will always be there. We can't wait until we feel ready or until fear goes away because that day only comes AFTER you do the thing itself.
**I cultivate joy through singing, dancing, laughing & playing. It's a reliable formula - it always makes me feel joyful and I notice that when I'm feeling joyful I do these things naturally.