Free Association

We all have our maps of the world and often this is what determines or even limits our experiences. So, we all know what we know, we all have preferences and selective attention, biases and flawed perceptions, and it’s through these filters that our responses to stimuli are governed.

Then to expand our maps, this can be done a few different ways but primarily through education and life experience. I believe this is why world travel is so awesome. But to stick with the topic of adversity, having a larger map of yourself and your mental make-up gives one more tools to help combat the struggle. It provides awareness and resourcefulness.

Another thing, geez I feel like your grandpa giving you a stern lessen, but this whole making your map bigger thing is your responsibility. Nobody can do this for you. Yet you don’t have to take all this super seriously either, you can have some fun with it all or maybe even make a game out of it, so no matter how you do it what’s important here is that you’re learning about yourself. The ultimate quest of our lives.

So, how do we educate ourselves about ourselves? What we’re made of? Do we read Freud or heck even partake in a thorough clinically based self-analysis? As per usual there are a million different ways to do this only once more I’m going to suggest coming back to pen and paper. I think simple is often best, plus writing gives you a record that you can reflect back upon in time.

Now, mind maps, pro & con lists, to-do lists, drawing charactertures of oneself, sure run with what works for you and get as fancy as you like. Still, what I’m thinking is to write descriptive dot points about your personality, preferences and emotional state. Try to assess yourself from the perspective of your soul, try to leave body identification and ego behind. You’ll reach much greater depths and with that hopefully experience increased benefit.

So do a free association and let your pen go there, give yourself permission to run with the ideas and the free-flowing thoughts. Go all Alice in Wonderland. And don’t lie or fabricate, you’re only hurting yourself.

Okay and one more thing, you know, actually this is probably best done as a semi-separate exercise, but let your creative juices flow that little bit more and do a free association around your current reality and your dreams. Or in even simpler English, list where you are and where you want to be. This will help with self-awareness and in navigating your path forward. However, once again go easy on yourself with all this (like I’m sure for some people facing reality might be quite hard), yet it’s through awareness that change is driven. Measures can be put in places, focuses can shift – for example from fear to love.

Use all this to check in with yourself.

Nevertheless, after completing these exercises I’m sure you’ll have a few pages full of rambling and random words. This is your nuts and bolts. This is what makes you the extraordinary and unique person that you are. Take the time to reflect on these pages deeply, even expand on them if you see fit, then revisit them on several occasions further down the track. And I’m sure as creepy as this is going to sound but you really do need to study yourself like never before, blimey even obsess over what makes you tick, because these are the weapons that you have for battle.

And when at war with adversity, we’re not schooling ourselves for IQ. It is EQ (emotional intelligence) that takes the gold. The bigger the EQ map the better. This is the one thing I wish I knew at the start of my journey.

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