Ask yourself the question

“if I wasn’t scared and if I knew I couldn’t fail, who would I be?

Think, if you could take over a billboard and have thousands of people read it every day, what would it say? This is the begin- nings of your life purpose.

Finally, and this is a very exciting exercise, imagine you are meet- ing your future self at a party.

• What are you like? • How are you different? • What’s stayed the same?

How do I change my life? I’ve got a well-paid job, a mortgage and bills to pay. I can’t just jack it all in!

Don’t worry. I’m not going to suggest that you trek to faraway lands and while away your years in a yoga pose atop a verdant hill. But you can ask yourself some searching questions and you can start your journey towards a happier life. Here’s how:

Tip 1: Get clarity • Put aside 5 minutes and set a timer on your phone.

• Sit in a comfy position and daydream. Ask yourself “if I wasn’t scared and if I knew I couldn’t fail, who would I be? What would I be doing? What would my life actually look like?”

• Visualise your ideal life. What would you do day to day? Who would you spend time with? What would your life look like? This is not a time to be practical or be scared to dream. Imagine you could not fail. What would you do? Faces, places and activities will spring to mind. Write them down.

Next, think about the themes and identify the core values that are most important to you in your vision.

• Are you connected to nature, with your family, friends or clients?

• Are you free to make your own decisions or are you em- ployed and in your office?

• Are you dreaming about being creative, making a difference in the world?

Tip 2: Feel the fear and do it any way You’ve imagined a life you’d love and your rational brain can’t accept it. Sadly that’s just part of being human. When you dare to dream, to imagine a life you really want, up pops your old friend ‘the saboteur’ telling you all sorts of negative things:

• That’s not possible • How can you do that? • Why do you think that? • Wow, if you tell anyone that they’ll think you’re stupid • You can’t have that!

In short, you’re not enough and there’s no point imagining that you can change your life. This is called conditioning; it describes the situation where the way you were bought up to think, feel and behave is raising its ugly head to keep your behaviour aligned with what was seen to be right in your family, culture or religion.

Conditioning speaks to you in the voice of the saboteur and identifying (and ignoring) this voice is the single best thing you can do for yourself so you can stay on track to a happier, more fulfilled and meaningful life.

I’ve been feeling like this for a long time now – I feel stuck in a rut and can’t see a way out

Tip 3: Change your mind, change your life So that’s it. Game over. Life over. This is all you can expect. If you think that you can’t change who you are, you’re probably feeling quite miserable right now. In this case, you may like to know that neuroscience research and evidence shows we can all change how we think, behave and even feel about anything in our life. Yes, even you. Our ability to do this is called neuroplas- ticity and it means that all of these things can be altered as they are malleable even into old age:

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