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  • Giles Sibbald

are you living with the hungry ghost too?

why it's important to be honest with yourself about what really matters

Journey. This word is used a LOT, right?

When I'm thinking about my own life, I don't think of it as a journey. To me, a journey means where I will reach a destination. I’ve realised I won't ever reach an end point with what makes me think “Right, that’s it, success is all mine”.

No firework display that greet the “Congratulations, that’s it. You are a FUCKING SUCCESS!”

The end has no end

I sense that many of us spend our time on a journey to the final curtain on our nirvana. We don’t find it because it doesn’t exist.

Have you ever read about The Hungry Ghosts? They are one of the six realms of The Buddhist Wheel of Life and are depicted with thin necks and bloated, empty bellies.

Their hunger for all things new is insatiable.

The Hungry Ghost is the realm of addiction, where we constantly seek fulfilment outside of ourselves. The belly is bloated, yet empty. We hope that those things we seek will provide that fulfilment, but often do not. They cause us to seek something different.

It’s a perpetual state of emptiness.

Do we experience this in our working life? Sure, we do. Desires are natural and are mechanisms for surviving and flourishing.

The problem comes when our basic and more complex needs are unmet and we seek out, and become fixated by, substitutes.

What matters

This is where the role of values in our life is so important.

Think about what things you love doing or would love to do. One of the most insightful questions we can ask ourselves now is “Why?”.

Why do you love painting?

Why do you love playing the drums (ok, that’s me putting in my own sweetheart!)?

Why do you love teaching?

When we start to understand why we do the things we do (or would love to do), we start to understand what really matters to us – our values.

Only then can we start to align our life with our values. And from there create our own vision of success in life.

Knock, knock….

When that Hungry Ghost comes knocking, it’s ok to listen to what it’s got to say.

But I think that where we can get led astray is when we listen to that ghost without questioning why we want what it’s demanding.

The ghost tells us that we need to win new customers for our business; seek outside investment; put ourselves forward for that higher rank role with a shitload of travel that we know is going to be disruptive.

Are these the right things for you? Why?

If you are happy – truly happy – that these are the right things, then that’s completely ok.

My point is that we should ask the questions of ourselves and answer them honestly and without fear. If we don’t, then we are letting that pesky ghost define our vision of success for us.

And if that happens, we’ll get a bellyful of stuff we don’t really need or want.

And then eventually, the hungry fella will be back for more.

What's the buzz?

- Ask yourself what really matters to you

- Ask yourself “why?” more

- Be honest with yourself

- Question everything


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