Chapter 8Reorient

From What about Me to What Can I Do?

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”

– Rumi

Professor Srikumar Rao1 is often described as a happiness guru and a modern-day-Yoda2 (to which I instinctively reacted with an eye roll). But when I checked out his work, he quickly convinced me he has vitally important insights about self-awareness. He helped me understand how breaking out of the prison of egocentric thinking is crucial to reorienting ourselves to living more in accord with our values and clarifying our purpose.

You may want to watch his TED talk; he is an incredibly engaging speaker, with much wisdom to offer. One point he makes especially jumped out at me.

Dr. Rao contends that we live in a “me-centered universe.” I call it the egosystem. Life today, especially all of our distracting technology and the media that wants to hog our attention, seduces us into what I refer to as accidental narcissism—thinking about ourselves almost constantly, even subconsciously when we don't intend to.

Accidental narcissism—thinking about ourselves almost constantly, even subconsciously when we don't intend to.

As Dr. Rao points out, no matter what's happening in our lives, we tend to ask ourselves, “What's the impact on me?” As he said at Mindvalley Extraordinary Summit, “It doesn't take very long to bring the conversation, in your head, to what's the impact on me? Your spouse gets a great job offer, gee, ...

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