You Don't Have to Be Perfect to Live a Satisfied Life

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At age 23, I was very impulsive and my life was in disarray.
  • I struggled to get anywhere on time,
  • My house was a complete mess,
  • When I drank alcohol I drank to excess,
  • I always spoke what was on my mind no matter how embarrassing that might be,
  • I would rage when I got angry,
  • I had endless lists of jobs to do that I never seemed to be able to complete,
  • I always seemed to forget to do things that were important (e.g. remembering my family members’ birthdays).
Start Quote As a result of my impulsive behaviour, my life outcomes were always bad. My impulsive decisions typically yielded negative consequences. They undermined my ability to maintain good relationships and achieve my life goals. End Quote

My life was about to change forever

At around age 28, I came across the work of a psychologist names Raymond Cattell. Cattel had conducted a lot of research into ‘impulsiveness’. His research had a life changing effect on me. (CLICK HERE to read my article about Raymond Cattell's research into impulsiveness: 3 Things Successful People Do) I’m now 38 years old. For the last 10 years I have studied psychology and committed myself to learning how to live a satisfied life. However, throughout my life, I have been struck by the number of self-controlled people who, to this day, have looked down on me for what they see as my 'indulgent' and 'impulsive' behaviour. Most of us who are of a more 'impulsive' disposition, spend our lives feeling judged and condescended by others. Many look down on us for our seeming ‘lack of self-control’. However, being happy means learning to accept ourselves for who we are.
  • Being happy means accepting our strengths, and our weaknesses. If we are impulsive, it means coming to terms with the fact that we often struggle to be self-controlled. However, as I have discovered the hard way, being happy also means learning to understand and manage our impulsive behaviour better.
    • Start Quote Each day I am painfully aware that my impulsive predisposition lives on. I still struggle to get to places on time. I still struggle to stop talking after I have dominated the conversation for too long. I still struggle to limit my alcohol consumption. End Quote

      Being too 'self-controlled' is as bad as being impulsive

      Whilst I continue to struggle with my impulsive behaviour, it is also important to remember that the opposite extreme to impulsiveness can also be highly problematic. In some situations, I am the opposite of impulsive. I am too self-restricted. I am actually a bit of workaholic, and I struggle to relax. And in some contexts I end up trying to follow rules to the letter. In many situations I have actually had to learn to be less ‘controlled’. I have had to learn to be more relaxed. Find Out How Impulsive You Are Try our Impulsiveness quiz: CLICK HERE

      Self-awareness brings positive outcomes

      But the difference between me now, and me 10 years ago, is that I understand myself better. I have a better understanding of when I am weak, and more susceptible to temptation. I have a better understanding of the triggers of my impulsive behaviour. I have a stronger awareness of the consequences of small impulsive actions, which together end up undermining my ability to achieve positive life outcomes. And I have also begun to learn when I am being too self-restricted. Sometimes I have had to learn to exercise more self-control. But at other times I have had to learn to be easier on myself. On the one hand I have had to learn when it's time to be more disciplined. Yet I have also had to learn when it is time to give myself a break. This kind of self-awareness is at the heart of Live Life Satisfied (LLS).
      Start Quote LLS is not about being perfect. LLS is about knowing who we are. LLS is about understanding our weaknesses, and turning them into our strengths. End Quote

      Join me on my journey of self-discovery

      I invite you to join me on a journey of self-discovery. Over the last 10 years I have achieved far more than I imagined could be possible when I began my journey. And I am certain that over the next 10 years I will continue to face and overcome more exciting challenges. I would be greatly privileged if you would be willing to travel with me.
      • If you subscribe to my e-mail updates, you will receive around two articles a month. In each article I will share some of my current thoughts and insights. At the end of each article I will invite you to comment and let me know your thoughts and experiences relating to the issues raised.
      SIGN UP FOR MY EMAIL UPDATES to have my articles sent directly to you! (Alternatively click the orange 'Subscribe to Email Updates' button below.) I hope that in 10 years time we will have both moved closer to our mutual goal of living a satisfied life.

References

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