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Do you agree with Seth Godin’s comment in his recent blog?

He said: “Perhaps the biggest cultural change of my lifetime has been the growing influence and ubiquity of commercial media in our lives.”

The pervasive and all-present media requires us to sift through the non-essential to find what’s salient to us. Yet, who hasn’t investigated a rabbit hole (or two or three)? Seth asserts further, “[The media] train us to expect quick and neat resolutions to problems, because those are easier to sell…They push us to think short-term, to care about now and not later.”

In a sea of media wanting your attention, your purchases, your belief in false needs and your time, contemplative thinking is not encouraged.

Responding to life in meaningful ways requires deep and considered thought. To define and keep our highest values top of mind is helpful in this reactionary sea of distractions. It’s up to us to decide what matters most, and not be swayed by what others want us to believe is important.

Lao Tzu said, “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.”

Contemplation is a prelude to effective action. It is a move beyond precontemplation where change is too often resisted or ignored. Contemplation considers the causes of a problem, as well as its solutions. From there, one can develop a plan and take appropriate action.

So what does this have to do with my line of work, and why am I focused on these words of wisdom from Seth Godin?

I will answer that by directing important questions back at you:

– Besides sharing advice and knowledge, does your financial advisor provide the gift of contemplation? Does your advisor give you the space and time to think out loud about your needs and potential solutions?
– Does your advisor ask questions that allow you to think through a recommended solution with the bigger picture – as well as the details – in mind?
– Does your advisor support you beyond your initial thinking, pair your wisdom with his or her own wisdom to come up with most complete and correct solution for you?

Contemplative thinking leads to wise choices. There is no getting around it for responding meaningfully to life’s challenges and planning.

Seth ends with more wisdom: “We’ve been willing participants in this daily race for our attention and our emotions. But we don’t have to be.”

Live Better Longer, by giving yourself the gift of contemplation, and by choosing the people that support you in the long run with wise choices.