Updated 14 August 2015

Living consciously

When you nod off at night, are you content with what you’ve accomplished? Are you even aware of what you did, or are your days full of just getting by?


There are only two ways to live: consciously and unconsciously. Living consciously means thinking and behaving differently to we did in the past. Example: You’re driving on the highway and someone hastily and without warning cuts into your lane, causing you to swerve to avoid an accident. Most people would react to this situation in an unconscious manner. How would you react?

Your answer would determine whether you respond consciously or not. Would you offer the middle finger salute and let the expletives fly?

If that response sounds familiar or similar to how you would respond, then you are reacting unconsciously. And if you’re reacting unconsciously, you’re not choosing your responses. And if you’re not choosing your responses, you become a victim of your circumstances.

Deciding to live consciously could be the single most important thing you do. The function of man is to live – not to exist. If every day goes by like the one before, it’s fine and comfortable – until you realise you’ve gone through a year without having accomplished anything. Or when you’ve reached old age, you look back on your life with regrets – which is not fine!

Living consciously is a lifestyle, a skill, an art. In reality “being there” is all it takes. It is deceptively simple, yet it’s amazing how few people live conscious lives. Steer yourself towards the life you would like to live by taking conscious control of your future.

Here’s how:

Audit your life. What do you want your life to be like? And how will you get there? Write it down and look at it often. Look at all aspects. Are you making sound choices, affordable choices, and forward-looking choices?

Don’t choose “stuff” over experiences. There’s nothing wrong with having nice things, as long as they don’t replace your desire to truly live.

Ban self-limiting beliefs. What we believe affects the actions we take. Replace negative thoughts with positive solutions.

Have more hope than regret.

Find your passion. Make your living by what you want to do.

Take off the rose-tinted glasses. Believing that everything will work out for the best is important, BUT you need action to go along with that belief.

Rediscover what’s important. Make a list of what is important in your life. Cut that list down to 4 or 5 things. This is your core list; make time for this.

Take risks. We often live our lives too cautiously.

Eliminate things that are not on your short list. Simplify life by elimination or minimisation.

Focus on how far you’ve come, and not how far you have to go.

Be kind to yourself and compassionate to your fellow human beings.

Be cautious of how your decisions affect others.

Fall in love, if you haven’t already. If you have, fall in love with your partner all over again. It doesn’t have to be a romantic love – just FEEL.

Create a morning ritual. Watch the sun rise. Tell yourself that you will not waste this day, which is a gift. Live life to the fullest.

Connect with nature. Live in the moment. Feel the wind on your skin; be mindful of your surroundings. Open your heart.

Write, draw, paint or journal. Creating something meaningful will help your focus and allow flow in your life.

Take care of your body. Eat well and exercise regularly.

Living consciously is about taking control of your life; it’s about making life’s daily decisions with awareness of their values and the consequences thereof. It’s about having the life we want, rather than settling for the one that befalls us. What are you waiting for?