Here’s a simple self-awareness exercise with considerable power to shift your mindset. I discovered it recently during a meditation challenge I took part in.
Your task is to make a list of 50 people who have influenced your life, in a minor or major way.
These could be people who you met personally and had a relationship with – as friends, colleagues, lovers. People who were present in your life for a while.
They could also be people who you met once, shared an experience with and never forgot.
Equally these might be individuals who you’ve never met, and who influenced you through something they created: a book, a film, a piece of music or other artwork, a product, through a speech they made or an idea they shared.
Or people who influenced you through something profound or courageous that they did.
Take an imaginary trip through your life and see who comes to mind.
There are a couple of ways you can do this exercise. I sat down with a blank piece of paper for about twenty minutes and was amazed by the number of people who popped into my consciousness and filled my list.
What you can also do is to take twenty-four hours for this exercise, and allow your unconscious mind to suggest candidates to you during the course of the day.
Find a way to make a note of the person and the way in which they influenced you.
And, by the way, it’s up to you to decide if you include people who ‘negatively’ influenced you. Sometimes we learn meaningful lessons in challenging or painful ways, or make shifts through deciding never to do something again.
I experienced this exercise as a gift. It brought to my attention how blessed my life has been in terms of the people who have shaped me.
Are you open to seeing what effect it has on you?