The status quo, as it applies to our lives, is the result of our habits. Challenging the status quo is challenging our habitual ways of seeing and doing.
Why challenge the status quo? If this moment were completely satisfying, we wouldn’t even think of it. We’d be too busy enjoying how we have chosen to live. On the other hand, when the way we are living reaches a crises level we’d do anything to make radical changes in our habits.
However, when our current state is only a little upsetting, we either find ways to live with it or deny it altogether. For most of us, we live with all the counterproductive habits we can comfortably tolerate.
But a life of small, seemingly insignificant tolerances is not a free and fulfilling life. It is a semi-imprisoned and bearable life. If we learn to spot the small, habitual ways we sabotage the fulfilling life we want, we can make sweeping changes in our level of happiness.
Challenging the status quo is actually the act of embracing the possibility of something different.
As great as this sounds, the possibility of something different is also the risk of change. So again, unless the current habitual experiences are absolutely unbearable, it takes a real inner push to change things up. We must be willing to adopt an unfamiliar pattern, path or perception. It means letting go of all that is familiar, even if it isn’t that bad.
There is a big benefit in not waiting for a catastrophe to happen (emotional or physical) in order to challenge the status quo. With shifts in our awareness on the small habitual ways we destroy our peace, we can alter the trajectory of our experiences AND be well prepared for when the big issues arise. Here are the 3 questions:
How can I be grateful for this AND desire it to be different?
-This is a bit of trick question. We can’t be grateful and wish for things to be different. Gratefulness finds meaning in things as they are, no matter how painful. It sees the more expansive and loving picture. This question stops us from fantasizing about a better future by finding a better now. It helps us be more empowered to find solutions from a positive frame of mind than a negative one.
What was I expecting to happen, or to feel that did not occur?
-This question helps us get grounded in the reality of what is causing us discomfort – which is always our dashed expectations of how we wanted things to unfold. Think about it. When you have no real preference about what happens, then whatever happens is of no consequence to you. If a coconut falls from a tree and lands on the sand, are you bothered? If it falls on your head? Yep. We have an expectation about not getting bonked on the head by a coconut or anything else.
What can I do differently right now?
-This an important strategy and action question. Our brains are wired for learning and we actually crave the lesson we can teach ourselves from any experience. It’s part of our survival mechanism which is always looking for new ways to conquer problems. Making a choice to do something different and doing it now (take action in some form, at the very least, write about what you will do differently) is critical.
What small habit can you challenge yourself about today?
Today’s 5-minute action item – How would you like to have more meaning in your life and in your pursuits? Write about one small habit you have that is keeping the “less than meaningful” status quo in place.