If you don’t decide what your life is about, it defaults to what you spend your days doing ~ Robert Brault
This is a quote that I recently added to TheHarmonyCC’s Facebook page and the more I look at it, the more I find that it is one of those sentences that are discussion worthy. At first pass, one may argue that even if you feel as if you have ‘decided’ what your life is about, it’s not possible to spend your day doing it. The thoughtful element here – for me – is just how I might DEFINE “what you spend your days doing”. I don’t interpret this quote to literally mean ‘what you are doing’ in terms of sitting on the couch, watching television, or working out in the gym. I don’t interpret it to literally mean working in the capacity of an accountant, a truck driver, or a sales rep.
“What your life is about” isn’t an identifier about your profession necessarily. Of course, it could be if you are a minister, a priest, or a rabbi; a social worker, a guidance counselor, or a doctor. I think of ‘what is my life about’ much more broadly –
Life is about love and kindness. If I were an accountant, I would be guided to be kind and considerate with clients and co-workers.
Life is about honesty and integrity. If I were a landscaper, I would be guided not to oversell, skimp on product, and/or finish the job.
Life is about honor and respect. If I were a Pediatrician, I would be guided to acknowledge and appreciate the different parenting styles I observed when I saw patients.
Life is about empathy and compassion. If I were a store manager, I would be guided to resist judgment and attempt to understand the experience of my customers.
Life is about trust and risk. If I were a fashion model, I would be guided to follow an agent’s advice and resist feeling rejected.
Life is about failing and learning. If I were an intern (or new at my job), I would be guided to know that each mistake was a step toward understanding the lesson.
Life is about gratitude and forgiveness. If I were a waitress, I would be guided by appreciation for my job and patient with customers who were having a bad day.
Life is about family and friends. If I were a mother, sister, daughter or aunt, I would be guided to foster the relationships and remember all of the above.
As I read that quote, I am thoughtful that my life is about the ‘whole’ of how I spend my day verbally and emotionally, not necessarily physically. My life is not about dusting, mowing, shopping, or writing. The decision IS to believe that my life is about the WAY in which it is experienced. That my goal is to master all of the above (probably not in this lifetime) regardless of the activity in which I am engaged.
Of course, one could be guided by all of the principles above but stay alone and isolated, wondering what their life is ‘about’. In this sense… it is about being isolated and alone because there is no opportunity to ‘experience’ the guiding values. It is a decision by default.
Remember – the absence of a decision is still a decision. When you don’t make a choice, you are making a decision not to choose.
I’ve never met anyone who would choose to be hateful, dishonest, disrespectful, judgmental, stubborn, and alone with conscious thought. It’s really not in the nature of humanity. So… If you find that you don’t know what your life is about… look more closely and consider some of the attributes that are listed… how would you experience them in your world?
- Guiding Principles: The Start of a Journey (interconnectedliving.wordpress.com)
- The Meaning of Life and Other Philosophical Thoughts (forda21.wordpress.com)