Getting from A to B: Stop Checking Boxes

For a long time, I had lived by checking the boxes – boxes that society, school, friends, and family had created for me, but that I had adopted as my own. 


There were items on that list of “shoulds” and “to dos” that had even come from an old version of myself many years ago.


Have you ever done that? Gotten stuck on autopilot – living a good life, living a not-so-good life, or living an okay life – but never really stopping to ask yourself if that life is what you wanted to be living? 


I’m not suggesting that you need to change a thing – your life might be amazing for you right now in many ways. Actually, you can choose to see that things are great if you want to, no matter what. And that’s exactly it — I’m asking you to pause and notice that you have a choice in each and every moment of your life to decide what you want. 


Did you know that? I didn’t. For a long time, I thought that I was “stuck.” Stuck because I thought that I was bound to the decisions I had made a long time ago. 


Why? Commitment, loyalty, embarrassment, to eliminate confusion and uncertainty – there were a lot of reasons. 


I also thought that I was stuck because I didn’t realize the power I had in creating my own life – the power I had to be in charge of my mind, my feelings, and how I showed up. 


One big reason that I was stuck was because I wanted to check the boxes. Checking the boxes meant that I could be certain that I would reach my goals, when I couldn’t know with certainty if I would get there otherwise. But this kept me on a path, without an option to try something else. 


Checking boxes: it’s an easy and sometimes useful thing to do 


Until it isn’t. 


After a while, it gets exhausting, because ultimately you aren’t the one creating your own path. Rather, you’re following someone else’s. And it’s hard living a life that someone else has decided for you. For me, I lived with tension about this for a long time. 


The hard thing is, sometimes the paths that have been laid out for us to follow seem perfectly appropriate and nice. They really may help us get to where we want to be. But we may get lost in the allure of the final destination, and miss the fact that scenery isn’t really what we were looking forward to. We put up with this, thinking that there is going to be better than here. 


But you know what? It isn’t. It really isn’t.

Life is lived now, in the present moment. The thoughts that we have about the past and the future even, these occur now. It is worth it to create a life where you can enjoy the journey of getting from point A to B. 


Are you enjoying your journey? Are you enjoying it 100%? The good stuff and the bad stuff? 


Remember, life is a 50/50 balance of negative and positive emotions. You’re always going to experience some negative aspects of life. But in what you are able to control, you can choose what flavor of “negative” you want to experience. This is still in your power. 


What do you have to do before you choose a path that is your own?


You must develop certainty and clarity. You must have clear goals that you are working on, and then develop the mindset to create certainty about what you can achieve. (In other words, you must believe in yourself and your vision without a doubt.) When you can do this, you free yourself from checking the boxes. You become willing to follow your own path, even if it takes you a bit longer to get to where you’re going. 


Life becomes easy.


Life becomes more joyful. 


Because you can love all of it, the whole experience of getting from A to B.

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