Technology and specifically gadgets seem to have taken over our lives nowadays. Majority of the human race either has a smartphone, a tab/pad, a smart-watch, a laptop or a desktop computer. We have become so dependent on these gadgets that should they fail for whatever reason, that becomes a great reason for us to suffer major frustrations. For those of us who understand gadgets, we do know that the first course of action when gadgets fail on us is to hit the restart button. If this fails, then the next option is to hit the reset button, which means the device in question is restored to its original factory defaults, meaning everything else that was in it is lost, requiring the user to do fresh installations and customization of everything they need.
In most cases though, once you reset a device, you find yourself thinking twice about installing all the apps you had earlier that are likely to have caused the device to misbehave. In any case, you realize that you never even used half of them anyway and so you remain with the ones you know you use often, giving your device a less cluttered feel.
Like Laurie Hayes (certified Life & Business Coach and founder of The HBB Source) asks, imagine you could do the same with life. What would your life look like if you had a "Reset" button you could press when you found yourself in a situation or space that made you miserable? I don't mean every single instance when you're experiencing discomfort or frustration. We need those moments to help us grow and become more than we are. I mean those moments in life when you realize you're absolutely miserable, unfulfilled, and not being true to yourself…
Maybe you've made a series of bad choices or taken actions that have created undesirable results.
Maybe you've made no choices and took no actions and lived by default, letting life happen to you.
Maybe you have allowed yourself to be in relationships that hold you back or make you feel small, powerless or insignificant.
Maybe you find yourself doing work that doesn't give you a sense of pride or purpose. You are just there to clock in the hours but you really have nothing (else) to offer.
Do you find yourself "settling" instead of "aspiring" for something more?
Do you feel like you're in a room with a hundred doors leading out, but every one you go through brings you back into the same room? You can't seem to find that one door that frees you from captivity.
How many times have you said or thought, "If only I had life to live over ..." then carried on with your same daily routine as though you had no power to change your circumstances?
Now imagine you had that chance to live your life all over again, that you have been given a reset button that you could press to clear your current reality and start anew. What would your life look like, starting fresh from this day forward? What choices would you make?
What would your relationships look like? Would you have a new circle of friends and acquaintances? How would you spend your weekends and spare time?
What would your conversations look like? Would you be discussing spirituality, technology, economics, finance, possibilities, creative ideas, or would you still be a gossipmonger?
How would you spend your day? Reading enriching material, teaching, researching, creating, exploring, designing, testing, building, and communicating positivity?
How would you feel in your home? Comfortable, safe, light-hearted, creative, inspired, organized, open, relaxed?
How would you feel in your work or business? -Creative, systematic, in control, purposeful, productive, unrestricted, limitless, contributing?
The truth is, whether you can see it or not, feel it or not, we all DO have a Reset button. You don't have to settle or remain as is and you can activate this button at any time. The only caveat is that the button is not magical. It's not like waving a magic wand and your life changes in the blink of an eye. The reset button is not something you can touch physically, but it is there. It is your mind. Resetting the button means erasing the old programming you had in your mind and installing new programs that will enable you to do what you now purpose to do.
In other words, you are no longer doing those things that created unwanted results like spending time with people who make you unhappy, doing things you don't enjoy, watching TV for hours, tolerating complainers, victims, abusers and excuse-makers, or eating the same Thursday night roast beef dinner while sitting in the same chair at the same time while watching the same rendition of tragic news stories you saw last week and the week before that and the week before that. Instead, you now read those books that enrich your brain, you have meaningful conversations with like-minded individuals, you meet those people you want to meet but not those you have been coerced to meet, and obviously, you go to those places you want to visit, and not because your peers have pressured you into visiting them.
By pressing this button you agree to think and act differently, to have that picture of your ideal life in your mind's eye, then start thinking and acting as if you are living that life right now. In a nutshell, you decide to take full responsibility for the direction your life takes.
So what are some of the ways we can hit reset in our lives? To share some insights from one Justin Lathrop;
Rest - Resting is different for different people, but you must find time do the things that are restful for you. For some that means going on a hike or going to a party. For others it means sleeping in or staying home. It doesn’t matter what you do to rest, as long as it feels restful to you. This is what the “Sabbath” is for; a built-in rest time each week. If your work or travel schedule conflicts with taking Sunday as a rest time, find another day of the week where you can rest. Also, I think it’s good to find one or two weeks (or long weekends) each year where you can get away and rest. If you don’t rest, you won’t be able to function like you want to.
Eliminate - Eliminate distractions and clutter and noise. This might mean turning off your phone, or clearing your desk, or closing your e-mail. It might mean taking a purposeful break from social media. It might mean clearing people out of your life who seem to steal all of your time and attention. Do whatever it takes to eliminate the distractions that clutter your mind and heart and don’t forget to make space for God to come in.
SWOT - If you’ve never heard of “SWOT” it’s an acronym used to give people a chance to think about their (S)trenghts, (W)eaknesses, (O)pportunities and (T)hreats in their life. Taking time to reflect on these things will give you a really realistic picture of your circumstances. And since anxiety often builds over time beyond the reality of our circumstances, this exercise will help you to reduce the amount of stress and anxiety you’re under.
Evaluate - Take time to evaluate the different elements of your life and ask yourself (honestly) if anything needs to change. The answer might not always be yes. You might find that after a period of rest and reflection, you will be ready to pick up right where you left off – all you needed was to recharge your batteries.
On the other hand, if you realize some aspect of your life does need to change, don’t hesitate to make the change right away. Clarity comes when we step back and evaluate our circumstances honestly.
Think - The power of this practice is often underestimated, but sometimes you just need to carve out time to just think. Maybe you are about to make a big decision and you need to think about that particular decision. Or, maybe you just need time to think about nothing, or about whatever comes to mind. Unfortunately many people just go through life without thinking!
Think time doesn’t need to have an objective or a strategy to be productive. Sometimes its productivity can’t be measured. Like Plato said, “Thinking is the talking of the soul with itself”.
In conclusion, as we head towards the last month of the year, I challenge you to look back at the year that has been so far and critically evaluate yourself. Is there anywhere you need to hit the reset button? Maybe in your health (shedding a few kilos)? Or in your finances? Or in your relationships? Or in your career?
It’s never too late to hit the reset button on your life. Choose one little thing to change each month, and in a year you will have seen and experienced incredible results.
Wishing you courage to hit the reset button sooner than later.
PS: Article originally published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 23rd November, 2014, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".