2014 Life as a Project #1
"In conditions of uncertainty
choice comes before logic."
There is immense power in imagination and this power is enhanced through the freedom of play. The moment we humans begin to take things too seriously and become fearful and worried about what might happen in the future we lose our way and relinquish our freedom.
In 2014 I invite you to join me in playing an existential game – Life as a Project.
Just for fun I invite you to release your thinking from the chains of the past and imagine instead what could be possible.
The Life as a Project game will begin in February and go through until the end of November. I will write a new post every month – each one numbered 1 to 10 – and put links to the post on my Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/a.c.pingpage and also on my LinkedIn page http://www.linkedin.com/in/acping
In these posts I will detail exactly what needs to be done for the month and I will also put quotes and links on Facebook as the need arises. If you get stuck and want some help I will also make myself available via Skype for one on one coaching – just email me firstname.lastname@example.org
As this is the first post I want to provide some background information and also a framework for understanding that will allow other information to fit together in a sensible and logical way.
The concept of ‘Life as a Project’ comes from the work of Jean-Paul Sartre and it is rooted in the field of existentialism. Existentialism is the field of philosophy that considers the nature of existence.
Existentialism, and particularly the work of Jean-Paul Sartre and Martin Heidegger, explores the nature of existence from the perspective of Being and how we create our world through the choices that we make and the actions that we take.
From an existential perspective there is no essential nature there is only nothingness until we make choices. Hence there is no such thing as destiny or fate and our task in this life is to find ways to take responsibility and fully embrace our freedom. Freedom in this context relates to freedom of choice.
Over the course of this year I would like to explore these concepts and more including:-
The power of Intention
Being comfortable in uncertainty
Working with cycles
The power of indirect action
Alignment of Being and Doing
If you have followed my work then you will recognise some of these concepts. You might also have seen this diagram:-
From an existentialist perspective time flows from the right to the left. In other words the future becomes the present which in turn becomes the past. To be fully free is to be able to be free of what we believe are the bounds of the past and to be able to face every new moment completely unencumbered. When faced with choice the key questions are:-
What am I trying to create?
How am I aspiring to BE?
What action is most aligned to these two things?
From an essentialist perspective time flows from the left to the right and hence we are the product of our past. Our family history, upbringing, past experiences etc all combine to make us who we are and because of this our hands are tied (limited) to certain possibilities. Fate and destiny influence our lives.
In the Life as a Project game we are going to adopt an existentialist view of the world and play around with it and act accordingly – just for FUN :)
So – Step 1 – What’s the aim of the Project??
This is where people get lost – because of the way we’ve been educated (particularly in the West) – we tend to see the World as operating from an Essentialist perspective. That is, we tend to inherently think that time flows from the past to the present to the future and hence we build the future from the past and the present. But – and this is a big but – this limits what we see as possible.
So, now remember we’re playing a game here.
Try doing the visioning around the other way. Take yourself off somewhere quiet, do some deep breathing, meditate, relax, get yourself into an open minded what if type of space.
So – what if it’s December 2014 and things have gone really well – how do you FEEL?
Yes – FEEL? – relaxed, contented, excited, exhilarated, happy, free etc etc
Play around with this until you can nail it in a short phrase – eg I’m Free
When you get it and it gels then you’ve taken the first step and answered the question about the aim of the Project. The aim is to align yourself – your Being and Doing – with that feeling.
Step 2 – What’s the scope of the Project?
Yeah sure now you’ve got a central feeling that you’re aligning with what’s needed next is some more specifics – bring it into the reality plane.
What I’ve found with working with people over the years is that there are 5 key areas of life and existence that you need to align.
For each of these areas you need to work out a Being statement – something that captures the essence (again FEELING) of what you’re after – what you’re trying to create.
For example – Physical – “I’m fit, flexible and energetic”
Mental – “I’m on the ball and up to date and have an open mind”
When you have a Being statement then you can work out a Doing list.
For example, if I’m fit flexible and energetic then I need to DO the following things:-
- eat well and sleep well
- walk or bike ride twice a week
- stretching and yoga daily
When you have done this process for all 5 areas you will have a pretty good idea of what you need to DO on a weekly basis to BE the way you want to BE.
Step 3 – What’s my Ideal Weekly Routine?
From the first two steps you should now have enough information to map out an ideal weekly routine.
Your last task for this month is to start working with Intention, Focus and Perceptual Priming.
We are bombarded every day with a myriad of information. So much so that it’s impossible for our conscious minds to take it all in, so to help us out our subconscious mind filters stuff out for us – basically to make life easier. The problem with this is that our filters can filter out stuff that could have been really useful for us. Our intentions hence have an effect on our perceived reality which in turn creates perceptual biases. In other words we simply see what we are wanting to see and filter out the rest – try the London Transport Awareness Test http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_9INBPUX9U
What we focus on then affects our happiness. Studies have shown that we have two selves – the experiencing self and the remembering self. The experiencing self can experience happy things in the moment but if the remembering self doesn’t draw our attention to them we can be miserable. For instance, imagine you go to a show and spend the first 55 minutes of the show in raptures, but in the last 5 minutes someone starts kicking your seat. When someone asks how was the show, what will you say?
Freedom comes from taking responsibility so your key task for this month is to work at a simple daily routine.
1. Start your day by asking ‘What’s my intention for today?’ noting that Intention should be something that is completely within your control – eg it is my intention to be calm, excited, focussed, present etc etc
2. End your day by asking ‘What went well today? What did I do right today? What am I grateful for?’
Remember that once you have determined what it is that your are trying to create and how you would like to BE your sole task is to manage your alignment – that is between Being and Doing – so play – see if you can match up your Intention with your Actions – and remember to be gentle as it is a game :)
In peace and love always.
Read Part 2