It’s a sunny Saturday morning and I’m heading out on my mountain bike as I notice a gentleman walking his dog, completely occupied in a sms-conversation on his cellphone and heading straight towards a municipal sign in the walkway… yes, you know what happens next!! Funny as this may be, the sad thing is that most of us go through life exactly like this gentleman – so caught up in your own situation, that you are completely oblivious to what is happening right in front of you. Besides the fatal consequences that this “unconscious” state can bring about, you are also missing out on the subtle cues that can transform your life.
Consciousness is the quality or state of being aware of an external object or something within you. It has been defined as subjectivity, awareness, sentience, the ability to experience or to feel, having a sense of selfhood and the executive control system of the mind. Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is. As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: “Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives.”
Consciousness is therefore a higher state of operation wherein you are fully aware of your current surroundings when driving, working, socialising “now”, but also an awareness of the bigger picture in terms of where you are heading towards. A constant state of gathering and evaluating information in order to make sense of what is actually happening and what your next move should be.
Why is it necessary to live in this higher state of awareness? Being fully conscious will enable you to make better, quality decisions at the blink of an eye, as you’ve already played through various scenarios in your mind and will be able to choose the most effective way forward in any given situation. Accordingly you will be able to spot and capitalise on rare opportunities never to surface again, as well as sense warning signs leading to potential pitfalls on your road to success. A leader can be defeated, but never surprised.
Let me frame it differently – by not operating in this conscious state you are missing out on business opportunities, ideas that can transform your life, the emotional needs of your partner, the chance to make a connection and make a new friend, as well as opportunities to grow your life experience. Quite frankly, you are jeopardising your own success!!
If you have been living in this “unconscious” state and settled into mediocrity, you can however still switch to a higher level by cultivating this habit on a daily basis. Start by noticing your immediate surroundings when entering a building, sense the atmosphere, the people present, their expressions and be deliberate in your actions.
Be brave and become conscious of the self, your strengths, but especially your weaknesses and how your attitude and actions influence the people around you – be acutely aware of the energy you radiate. Keep a journal of your experiences and constantly reflect on your growth, as reflection is the mother of wisdom. As the great philosopher Lao Tzu classically stated: “The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.”
Get out of the little cocoon you’re living in and start realising your full potential by living in a state of higher consciousness. There is a world of opportunity out there you can’t afford to miss out on, you owe it to yourself!!
Izak Strauss is a life and business coach. Visit his website: www.izakstrauss.co.za