The primary driving energy of our mental weather pattern is our conscious decisions. Decisions differ from choices which well up from within without conscious deliberation (which will be covered later). Conscious decisions are where we “cut down” alternatives to come to an understanding of which path to take. Decisions are reached through conclusion and rational means. In the rational experience we have an understanding of our limits which have come about through our experience of testing those limits. We also have an understanding of what’s needed or desired. When rationalizing about a decision we must take into account our limits as well as the limits of others and our environment. We look at the expectations of all involved. We establish the requirements and look for gaps to understand the degrees of freedom. We evaluate the pros and cons of one decision or another and its impact on ourselves, others and the environment. Often this process happens rapidly without much of our conscious awareness due to the habits we have created over time to meet the expectations of our internal and external environments. These habitual patterns get regulated to the unconscious in order to free the conscious mind to make more complex decisions.
This is where we get into interesting opportunities to improve our lives. The patterns of thought we have turned into habits may not be applicable to all situations. As we grow and continually adapt to our environment the habits may or may not change leaving us out of touch or sync with the world around us. When our habits drive our behaviors in a manner inappropriate for a situation, stress and strain ensue. Thus it is beneficial to continually evaluate what’s appropriate as we change through the course of our lives. One way to do this is to ask ourselves, “What needs to be done now?” Coupling this with self reflection on how we accomplish things enables us to identify the out of sync elements. It gives us the centers of gravity or activities to address in order to better adapt. And, it’s our decisions that allows us to adapt or not. Our decisions create the constraints of the present. Decisions of the past become responsibilities of the present and obligations for the future. The decisions we make now increase or reduce the probabilities for success in our future and thereby add or subtract value from the lives of our future selves.
We create our future self out of the decisions we make now. Like Hotei, the Japanese God of Happiness, we have to point out to our future selves what we expect. To facilitate this creation process, open up a dialog with your future self and ask, “What are the expectations I want live up to?” Of course in a dialogue sharing and listening is required to be of benefit.