The Importance of Awareness

In the movie The Matrix, Morpheus famously enlightens his colleague Neo with the line, "Neo, sooner or later you're going to realize . . . that there's a difference between knowing the path and walking the path." The quote carries a great deal of significance, as it encompasses a variety of concepts crucial to succeeding and accomplishing goals; namely: action/intention, planning, motivation, and at it's heart -- awareness.

Before we are able to walk any path to change, we need to be willing to act on our awareness of said path -- or, in a more deeply introspective circumstance, become aware that a path to change is needed in the first place; I'll explain the difference.

We all know that we must exercise and eat a healthy, well-balanced, diet to maintain and improve our health -- yet so many of us don't! We are aware of the path to a healthier life, yet we choose to not engage in, or walk (exercise pun intended), it. Our lack of action, intention, planning, and motivation limits us from achieving the goal of a healthier life -- very true to the original quote's distinction between 'knowing' and 'walking'.

The other circumstance is more complicated, as we may not be aware that, for the betterment of ourselves and others, a path to change is needed. I can best illustrate this through a personal example. I grew up with the habit of lamenting or complaining about many, many things. It was a common practice, and I did not realize the negativity wrought by the behaviour, or that I was even doing it for the most part -- that is, until my best friend from grade school brought it to my attention one day. He rather matter-of-factly stated that I was a complainer -- and did so in a way that was not directed as malicious or hurtful; rather, I believe it was done to make me aware, as I was obviously oblivious to it. The realization was rather shocking and humbling -- I hadn't known that my consistent behaviour was affecting others, as well as myself, in such a negative way; I mean -- who wants to be around someone complaining all the time? It revealed a lack of awareness about myself and my actions, but also an avenue for positive change. It allowed me to discover, or 'know', the path I wanted to take, enacting that positive change moving forward.

I've spoken before on my Facebook Web Wednesday live feature about the programming we carry with us from childhood, and how, as adults, we are responsible for determining whether it serves us in a positive way, or needs to change in order to do so. This can only be accomplished by being introspective and gaining a broader awareness of ourselves. We ask ourselves the tough questions: Does this behaviour contribute positively to myself and others? Do my actions bring me closer to my goals? Are there things I need to let go of in order to live a more fulfilled life? What stories am I telling myself that are no longer/were never true? What limiting beliefs do I hold onto that no longer apply?

The answers we discover, and the steps needed afterwards, may be difficult, but only because we've become used to the way things are, and tend to avoid 'uncomfortable' levels of uncertainty. However, if we're willing to commit to ourselves and become aware of what we need to change for the better, we'll all be on the right track -- or path -- to our own personal versions of success.

** View the video for this post HERE **