What Drives Your Decisions?

Date posted: October 8, 2015

Last weekend, Melissa and I went to the Big E (Eastern States Exposition) — the fifth largest fair in the country, billed as “New England’s Great State Fair.”

With horse shows, concerts, carnival rides, gizmos and gadgets, and food – lots and lots of food – it can make for a whirlwind kind of day.

Though we’ve been to the fair almost every year for the past 20+ years, this time struck me differently. Once my adorable nephew left, the excess in the environment took center stage. I began to wonder, are these people really buying that fancy mop (yes, mops are always a big purchase at the Big E), or are they buying the hope that this tool promises?

Is the huge turkey leg (yes, another staple) that kid is eating really what he’s hungry for or did his mom get it for him to show she loves him or because she didn’t intentionwant to hear him whine anymore?

When you consider adding something to your life, whether that’s a new relationship, an article of clothing, a snack, or a gadget, pause and ask yourself, “Do I really want this?” “Will this truly bring me joy?” You might be surprised by what you discover.

What else might be driving your desire? Are you looking to jump into a new relationship because your own company makes you uncomfortable? Are you reaching for that cookie to soothe difficult emotions bubbling up? Will buying that sweater or gadget offer any more than a temporary patch to your unhappiness?

It can feel like swimming upstream when you challenge the consumer impulses thrust on you daily. The enticement to buy things we don’t need is one of the most successful marketing campaigns ever created.

Television ads show people pining over their neighbor’s car. You must have the latest smartphone or you won’t be one of the cool kids. You need a bigger house to prove how successful you are. All of those messages can contribute to your feeling “less than” — that is until you get back into the driver’s seat of your life.

Instead of going through the motions of what society says you “should” do to advance in life, consider spiritual advancement instead. For you, that may mean a large house and fancy car. For someone else, it may mean minimalist living. What matters is that you are being true to you, and not fulfilling a prescription written by someone who has no vested interest in your personal happiness or spiritual fulfillment.

Your challenge for this week:

It’s time for a little soul searching.

Take an inventory of your current situation. Is there anything you’re doing or that you have that doesn’t represent who you truly are? Are you playing a role assigned to you or are you the director of your life?

What don’t you have that you wish you did? What is it that you hope to gain from acquiring it? The answer to this will help you understand what drives your decisions.

I’d love to read your thoughts and insights about this. Talk with me in the comments below and let’s be sure the moves you’re making are intentional and in your best interest.

Until next week, keep taking those small steps to Live Out Loud.

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