Choosing What Matters Is What Matters
The Union Path Podcast
"Choosing What Matters Is What Matters"
Oftentimes when we're trying to create change, it can be really difficult to know where to start, nowhere where to begin. Nowhere. The roots of that change lie know where we can make some sort of course correction, some sort of change, some sort of alteration that'll lead us to something different that'll lead us to experiencing something different.
That'll end up creating the very change that we're trying to create. And oftentimes when we're trying to create change, where we start is the most logical place. We start where we are, we start with what we're doing, we look at our daily activities. We look at what we're doing right now, what we're doing next, and then decide.
We make a vow. We make a deal with ourselves to do something different. Oftentimes, this can be sort of all or nothing of where we decide we're only gonna do such and such from now on, or we're never gonna do such and such ever again. And it makes a lot of sense to look at things this way. This is the way our senses tell us our life works.
That our life works through stacking up. Through the accumulation of what we're currently doing. And so it makes a lot of sense that if we just change through a decision, through willpower, through focus, through determination, what we're doing, then we'll create change in our life. And on some level, this is, this is true, that our lives are the accumulation of what we do.
That our lives, especially over a long period of time, are a result of the choices that we have made. That the most sure fire. The most reliable way to create change in our life is to make different choices. Or conversely, if we want to understand why our life is the way it is, then we can just look back at the choices that we've made.
Our choices tell us a lot about ourselves. The choices often tell us everything we need to know about ourselves because it can be really easy to have incorrect or false, or even some diluted ideas about ourselves. To hold ourselves a little bit more honorably than we really are to hold ourselves a little bit more pure than we really are.
But if we look at our choices and we look at what we actually do, we can understand a lot about ourselves, a lot about who we really are, about what we truly value, a lot about what we think is actually important because our doing is the expression of our values. Especially over a longer period of time, we can tell what really matters to us, what's really important.
If we can really be aware and really be honest about what we do, about what we've done, we can look at the effects on our environment, around other people, around the circumstances facing us, our themselves, and really see what actually matters to us. Really see what we're really made of, really see what we're all about.
So often we, we want to create some sort of change. We devise a plan of action. We devise a plan of attack. We build some steps, we build some procedures. We focus on our doing, and then apply our willpower to create the change that we want to. And this can be effective, this can work, but sometimes this fails us.
In fact, it's been my experience that the longer I carry out, Things that are only fueled by decision and willpower will eventually run outta gas, will eventually lead to burnout. The wheels will eventually fall off because I'm missing what's actually guiding my behavior in the first place. I'm missing the true steering wheel of my life.
I'm missing my point of access, my point of opportunity to really create change. And more often than not that opportunity. Is to actually change what I'm pursuing in the first place, what specific outcomes I'm actually going after. Because oftentimes if we're only focused on our action, if we're only focused on our doing, we never really call into question the why.
Why are we doing what we're doing? Why is this so important to us? Why does this actually matter? Why is this a fit with who and what we really are? Why will this take us to where we really want to go? Because it's really easy, especially if we're used to doing a lot, to have our doing based on assumption, based on the belief that what we're doing will take us to where we want to go.
Even if the evidence says something different, even if the feedback from life seems to indicate something else. Because a lot of us can get really good at willpower. A lot of us can be really good at pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. A lot of us can be really good about using the momentum of our activity to push and keep going, and never really call into question why Never really look at the broader set of outcomes that we're actually pursuing.
Never really look at the incentives. That are pushing us along whatever path we're on. There's so many times in our life where we can want one thing, and with a little bit of self-awareness, we can realize that we're choosing a path that's actually the opposite of what we want, that we want some sort of relief from something.
And to fix this, we choose a path of suffering. On the face of this, this kind of makes sense. It kind of has a bit of logic to it because in our culture, in our American culture, anyway, this is largely what we're coached into, that the path to what we want is struggle, is toil, is strain. That on some level we have to earn whatever it is we're pursuing and we earn that through our own blood, sweat, and tears.
We're not entitled to it. It isn't any sort of birthright. It's something separate from us that first has to be earned. We have to go on our own hero's journey in order to achieve whatever we're trying to achieve so that we can justify that this actually belongs to us. We can justify our deserving of whatever this is because we've earned it, but on its own inherently.
There's really no honor in suffering. There's really no honor in toil and struggle that these borderline masochistic perspectives that we have about life are just ideas. Oftentimes, there's someone else's ideas, sometimes from a more cynical perspective. These are other people's ideas who are trying to get us to do what they want, and we get convinced we get.
In nerd in the idea that we can have everything we want if we just struggle first, if we just suffer first, if we just defer everything we're trying to accomplish, everything we're trying to inhabit, everything we're trying to experience, and if this is at the gain of another, well that can be sometimes a bit of a sinister game.
That can be the very least a bit of a trick, but regardless of. Why we're doing what we're doing. It's really valuable. It's really important to understand what we're actually pursuing, to look at the outcomes that we're actually chasing after. And to ask ourselves, is this what I actually want? And this usually involves a follow-up question of, I know this is what I want because blank and usually, The answer to that, the item that fills in that blank is because I want to feel a certain way.
I want some sort of relief. I want some sort of pleasure. I want some sort of decrease of some sort of negative feeling. I want some sort of increase of some positive feeling that's either been absent or has been in far too short supply for far too long. But then it's important to ask ourselves. Is it possible to experience a feeling through a route that amounts to feeling the opposite?
Is that how that feeling is actually created? Can we feel bad enough for long enough in order to feel good? Does that actually make sense? Does that even work? Especially over a longer period of time, I think we can all look back at our lives and look at the times where we struggled and strained and toiled the longest, and at least some of the time, if not most of the time, a lot of that toil and struggle was actually unnecessary, that if we did achieve, we are aiming to achieve a lot of time.
That achievement came in in a more. Unpredicted way had a bit more serendipity to it had a bit more almost randomness to it, that if we really look back and say, I got X because I did Y for this amount of time, it's important to ask ourselves, is that really true? Did we really have to do all that? I guess what I'm advocating for is there's more than one way to accomplish things.
In fact, from one way of looking at things, you can get anywhere from anywhere. Sure. Some paths are longer than others. Sure, some things are much more complicated than others, but truly there is a path from anywhere to anywhere. We are not cut off because of circumstance, and these are tricks. Fear, likes to play.
If there's something we really want, our fear can convince us it's too late, it's too hard. We're too old, we don't have what we need. All sorts of reasons that whatever we want, whatever we really want, is somehow impossible. And it's important to recognize when these sorts of limitations come up. And it's important to recognize when this is our fear.
It's important to be able to tell the difference. Between awareness and discernment, between being scared and something that we really need to do something about, some sort of obstacle that really does need to be crossed, really does need to be gotten over, really does need to be gone through. But in my opinion, the important thing he said, we don't let go.
We don't throw away the things we want. Because our fear gives us reasons why whatever that is, is impossible. I also think it's important to not assume that the route to what we want is or has to be miserable, has to have some sort of commensurate equal amount of suffering in order to justify us getting what we want.
In fact, ing is important to play with a bit of a radical idea of what if the path to what I want. Feels like what I want. What if the path to feeling good actually feels good? What if the path to being happy actually makes me happy? What if the path to peace is peace? What if we've been looking at this all wrong?
What if we've been assuming that we'll feel a certain way as long as we can achieve something else first, as long as we can experience some other, some sort of circumstance first. As long as we can make something happen or have something happen to us. But what if we play with the idea that if all we're really pursuing is a feeling, we can feel that way whenever we want.
Here's an interesting experiment. Is this something that can be a little hard? It can be a little tricky, but I think it's really interesting. Pick a day any day. And decide you're gonna have a good day. Decide you're gonna feel good, decide you're gonna be happy, and then do it. Conjure those feelings.
Focus on feeling that way. Feel the wellspring of those feelings inside of you and bring them up intentionally. Feel that way and hold it for a whole day because you know what? I bet you can do it. And when you do it, I think you'll have a funny realization that maybe just maybe how I feel isn't as dependent on what's happening to me as I thought it was.
Maybe I'm not as trapped as I thought I was. Maybe I'm not as boxed in, maybe I'm not as painted into a corner with regard to how I feel by the circumstances I'm experiencing as I thought I was. Maybe I have a little bit more say in this. Maybe feelings are a bit more fungible than I thought they were.
Maybe feelings don't always have to come from the outside. Maybe feelings can come from the inside too. Maybe I'm not just a receiver. Maybe I'm also a generator. Or maybe you'll have a different experience. Maybe you'll try to do that and still have a rotten day and say, Well, that was a bunch of nonsense, but I don't think that's actually true.
At the very least, I don't think we are as beholden to circumstance as we think we are. I don't think what happens to us, what is happening to us is quite the master, quite the controlling ruler in our life that we think it is. I think we sell ourselves short. On our ability to affect our own experience.
I think we give short shrift to our own ability to feel a certain way whenever we decide to, because on a small scale, these are the mechanics. This is how it works to change our life through changing the outcomes that we pursue. That again, it can seem so easy to think that change is created through simply changing what we do.
But I'd at least like to present the idea a possible alternative. That change can also be created. In fact, maybe change can be better created by changing the outcomes that we're pursuing, by being really intentional about what we're trying to do, because we really understand why those things are important to us.
We really understand how those things fit us, how those things are a match to us. We really understand what matters to us, cuz a lot of times the frustration in our life of not getting what we actually want is due to us not pursuing what we actually want, not going into life with a value system that actually makes sense to us.
Of pursuing things that matter or at least seem to matter to other people of doing things that we feel like we should be doing because all sorts of reasons that have sometimes been pounded into us for most of our lives that we can find far easier, far less effortful, far more pleasant paths to what we want.
When our full selves are aligned in our pursuits, when we're pursuing things we actually want, and it sounds simple, but this is really an individual choice. This is something we can't inherit from anyone else. We can't copy anyone else. Everyone has their own unique value system. Everyone has their own unique reasons why they do what they do, and ultimately, What they're trying to get, what outcomes they're trying to create or experience, because at least in my experience, if we're trying to create change, the mind is excellent, is incredible at finding a way to get done what we're trying to get done, especially our quote unquote subconscious mind that we can hand it a problem and if we can just give it time.
Often the solution is delivered to us completely. Sometimes without even thinking about it any further. We have some sort of a problem. We rack our brains about it, we get tired of thinking about it. We let it go, and a few hours or days or weeks later, we're in the shower and poof, the solution comes to us fully formed.
And often it wasn't even on a train of thought that we're even engaging in. It seems tangential. It seems completely different to the tree that we were barking up when we were trying to solve it. Through all of our thinking, through all of our trying, and obviously I'm not the first person to say this, but we can put this ability, this faculty, this capability to work for ourselves in really interesting ways through using our own intention, through using our own clarity, using our own decision.
On what outcomes we're trying to pursue that, at least on some level, that if we change the outcome that we're trying to get, our behavior will automatically change as well. We will find ourselves doing things differently because part of us, sometimes, a large part of us is working out this problem is fighting this solution without our own conscious input.
In some way, the solution is being worked out within us. The solution is being worked out through what we're doing, and we have to be open and flexible enough to go with it. And so if we find ourselves frustrated, if we find some sort of lack in our life, if we find that there's something missing or we're just not getting to where we want to go, sometimes the best way to create change is to change what we're actually pursuing.
What we actually want. Figuring out what's actually important, what actually matters, and usually having the realization that we want what we want because we want to feel a certain way, and then figuring out, we can start feeling that way. Now. We don't have to wait for a perfect set of circumstances to present themselves.
We don't have to wait for some vision, some idea. To come into fruition in order to feel the way we want to feel. We can choose to feel however we want, whenever we want. We have agency over this. We have control over this. We have a say in this. We have a part to play through our own intention, through our own decision, through our own choices, and the most important thing we can choose.
Often comes down to what outcomes are we trying to create? What are we really pursuing? And to really take the time, really put in the effort, really bring our awareness to what are we trying to actually do? What are we trying to actually experience? What do we actually want, not what someone else told us we should want.
Not something we want to pursue so that we can look a certain way to someone else. What do we actually want? What desires resonate deeply within us? What feels like us? What feels like our own ideal? What feels like a calling, a reason for being a purpose? Because these areas, these situations, is often where we'll find the feelings we're looking for, because I think we can all recognize that if we've been missing things like passion and joy, then those feelings often go hand in hand with things like meaning and purpose, that often it's the depth of experience that creates the depth of feeling.
That we're trying to have that superficial experience usually leads to superficial and fleeting feeling, and so it's important for all of us to decide what do we really want? What really matters to us? What does our value system really, what do we value, and integrate this with our own choices, with our own intention, with our own action.
And then watch change take place in our life and realize that if ultimately it's a, it's a feeling that we're trying to have, there are multiple routes to that feeling, perhaps realize that we're trying to feel a certain way through our own accomplishment, through our own achievement, through our own accumulation, where we cannot only feel those feelings.
But actually feel a better version of those feelings through giving, through sharing. We have so many ideas. Sometimes our own, sometimes implanted in us from others that if we want to feel a certain way, there's only a certain thing, a certain circumstance, a certain way that we can create those feelings.
But I think if we spend any kind of time with this, we realize there's actually all sorts of different ways. To feel the same kind of feelings. Another simple example is we may feel like we need to accumulate a tremendous amount. We may be trying to create a state of wealth, a state of abundance, a state of affluence, but what's the difference in that state versus living in a state where every one of our needs is already met?
What's the difference? Because a lot of times we believe sometimes falsely a tremendous accumulation, tremendous accomplishment will somehow snuff out and satisfy our hunger, our desire for more, only to find when we get there, we're still not satisfied. Cuz if our hunger is for more, and I think we can see that that hunger is infinite.
No matter how much we have, there will always be more. Versus if we work to actually satisfy ourselves in the here and now work to have the realization that in this moment, in this very moment, in this split second, we're not actually lacking anything. We are whole and complete just as we are. All of us wanting, all of us striving, all of these pursuits, all of these.
Possible and potential futures that we've constructed for ourselves are just that. Possibilities are just ideas that if we can really drill down into the present moment, we realize we don't actually lack or want for anything. What's the difference? Isn't that wealth? Isn't that abundance? Isn't that what we're really striving for?
Isn't that the cessation and satisfaction of hunger that's been driving us? Of course these aren't absolutes. These are just ideas to think about, things to entertain, things to try on for ourselves and see what fits. The most important thing, at least in my opinion, to remember, is that if it's a change we want to create, if it's something different than we want to create, it is extremely useful to look at the outcomes that we're really pursuing.
And find a way to live those outcomes. Now, find a path that is similar, that is a reflection that rhymes with the outcome that we're trying to create. Not believe that we can experience something just because we've done the opposite long enough. Try something different, see what it would be like to be however we want to be now on whatever level.
We can accomplish an experience now and let that lead us, get really clear about the outcomes that we're pursuing, get really clear about what our true value system is, get really clear about what actually matters to us, what we actually want, and start living towards that by beginning to be that now and just see what happens.
Try something different. Try and experiment. See where this gets us, see what that's like. Live a changed life via living through changed outcomes. First, create change in our life through changing what we pursue in making our pursuits more aligned with who and what we really are, what actually matters to us.
What our value systems actually are and what we want to feel like. We want our life to feel like what we want our life to be based on who we know ourselves to be. To really be deep down on the inside, build a life that's not only an expression of who and what we really are. Build a life that's a reflection of who and what we really are as well.
Because oftentimes we find our way to where we want to go. We find ourselves experiencing what we want to experience by getting really clear about what we're pursuing, really knowing why we pursue what we pursue, and really finding ways to inhabit as much of the feelings as we're trying to create now by walking with the destination.
While we're on our journey through living out the outcome that we're trying to create along the way by creating change in our life, not so much through willpower and forcibly changing what we do, but by changing what we're pursuing in the first place.
I hope you enjoyed this episode. All episodes are given freely. If you feel inspired to give, please visit the union path.com/donate. If you have a question, you can contact me at the union path gmail.com. Take care and all the best.