Do It For Yourself – who’s driving your actions

My first post in the series “Do It For Yourself” was about the “how” in your actions. If you come here directly, and didn’t have the chance to look at the whole series here’s a little recap, to help you better understand the concepts. First, and foremost, you are the most important person in your life. This is the fundamental concept in these series, and starting from this point we designed a simple action workflow. This workflow is really just a 4 steps path that you follow on every conscious act that you perform:

1.    intention
2.    energy
3.    action
4.    outcome

And for every action I saw 3 fundamental questions that you must answer every time you do something:

1.    how you do it
2.    why you do it
3.    who’s going to be the beneficiary

In this post I will talk about the “why”, and that “why” is usually the response to:

“You are doing that action to please you or to please somebody else?”

Every action you perform (or, to be a little more understandable, every thing that you do) has a cause, you do it for a reason.  That reason can be inside you, or outside you.  By “inside” and “outside” I understand two very simple areas: your conscious being is the “inside”, and what you can observe from this conscious being, without acting on it, is the “outside”. In a more simple definition, the “inside” is you, with all your integrated beliefs, and the “outside” is the others: people, social beliefs, concepts that you can observe but do not necessarily embrace or accept.

Every time the reason for an action is inside you, chances for the energy level to grow after the outcome of the action are greater. Because most of the time you preserve the energy in yourself. If the reason is outside you, chances that the energy level to go down after the outcome are greater. Because most of the time you are directing your energy outside you.

Let’s put it like this: if you do something because you really want to do it, the result will always be part of yourself. But if you do an action driven by an outside factor, your outcome – and, subsequently, your energy flow – will follow that factor, being it a person, a social belief or a concept that you don’t agree.

If this sounds to fuzzy right now, let’s have an example. We will talk about your required actions when you chose – and follow – a career. The choice of a career is always based on your beliefs about it. You know in your mind what a career is and, based on that knowledge, you chose the most appropriate one for you. Suppose you think a career should be something fulfilling, something that will not limit your freedom and something that you’ll be happy doing it. And, apparently, you chose your career based on this set of beliefs.

But instead of doing this, you focus on other things, like making as much money as you can in as little time as you can get, having much more properties that you can actually use, and hunting a social status based on your car, clothes and so-called friends. Doing this requires a lot of energy. You put as much energy as you can afford into this set of beliefs, and, before you know it, you really start having all those things. And to act upon a second set of beliefs, different from your initial one.

But, strangely enough, you don’t feel happy about it. You have more and more money, more and more stuff, and more and more respect from those who share the second set of beliefs, those based on money and social acceptance. Your time is more and more limited because you have to manage all this, your freedom is surrounded by more and more properties that starts to act like walls, and your fulfillment feelings are starting to fade away.

You do believe that your career should be nice but you do the opposite. Why? Because your actions are driven by the other set of beliefs, the set based on money and external proof of well-being. The “why” in your actions is outside you. Without even noticing, you succumbed to a social pattern and replaced your internal driver of your career with an external one.

Where is all the energy that you put in this flow of actions going? Well, outside of you, sustaining the second set of beliefs. Every time you initiate an action related to your career, you give away your energy, because the real reason is not congruent with your real self. And yes, you will soon start to be tired, bored and sad. Your drain yourself out of energy.

The real drivers of your actions are as important as your beliefs about the reality. Even if you have and follow a positive set of beliefs about reality, you can – and most people do – follow other action triggers that your internal ones. This is why the “why” of an action is a fundamental question. By following only your internal reasons you are constantly add to your energy field. Your outcome will always be part of you.

But let’s be honest about one thing: you can’t really and always act only and only by your internal reasons. Sometimes you are on “auto-pilot”, sometimes you are consciously and deliberately choosing an external reason, or sometime you are just compromising. But most of the time you are confused, and you really delegate your power to an outside event, letting it trigger your actions.

How can you know that you are acting upon an internal reason and and not upon an external one? Well, to be short, you will have to learn this all of your life. It’s a process in itself, because you are continuously changing your internal reasons and the external are also in a constant process of change.

The rule of thumb here is: follow your emotions. Follow them with trust because your emotional feed-back system is one of the most precise and precious tools that you’ve been blessed with. If you are doing something out of joy, with enthusiasm and passion, chances are that you are driven by an internal reason. If you are doing something with sadness, fear and pressure, your actions are most probably triggered by an outside reason. Whatever fuel your optimism, must come from within your real self, and whatever feed your pessimism most come from an external source.

One other thing you may do is checking against your beliefs. If an action is performed in congruency with your general beliefs, must be coming from the inside. If you are driven to do something that is not in sync with your beliefs, chances are that you are forced by an outside driver.

The edge between inside and outside triggers is a very delicate thing. Because is very easy to be dragged in what I call “in and out traps”: things that you do for others, but you think you are doing for yourself. In other words, you are deluding yourself. And a vast majority of people can earn a master degree in deluding themselves.

All of the actions you are doing over and over for helping your friends, co-workers or other mates, but you don’t feel any positive emotions in doing them are “in and out traps”. You do them “because of them”, and not for you. There are outside reasons for doing it, and your inner self doesn’t really feel any positive emotions out of it. These types of traps can be identified when you are being excessively polite, extremely socially fit or just shy. Most of the times all of these situations are triggering an outside driver for your actions. You can do them, of course, if you want, but your energy flow will be drained.

At the opposite, there are “in and out traps” that you may consider outside drivers, but they aren’t. Suppose you are doing something nice for your family, like taking them to a walk, or giving them a present. This might look like an external driver, because the family might look like and outside trigger, but it really isn’t. Why? Because you are doing this with happiness and love, most of the time. Your emotional system is telling you: do it, I love it. So, even if this is looking like “outside reason” it really is an internal one: you’re doing it for yourself.

Basically, the “why” question is about your ability to circumvent all the “in and out traps” that you may encounter along the way, and follow only your heart.

In the next post of the series I will be talking about the last question an action should respond to, and that is:

“Who is the real beneficiary of that action?”.

[tags]personal development, personal growth, beliefs, success, productivity, motivation[/tags]

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