Life Navigation, Introduction

Navigation Skills for the Experienced Traveler is a course in how to  map your life and achieve  a measure of happiness through the application of the 5 Basic Principles of Life Navigation (© 2015).

  1. The Past is Always Present. 

The past is never the past. It is always present. And you better reckon with it in your life and in your daily experience, or it will get you. It will get you really bad.  Bruce Springsteen.

I would add that the past can and often is our greatest resource.  Despite what we believe about ourselves, our histories are full of success stories to which we have neglected to acknowledge or apply.

2. The Past is Always Changing.

We are always free to change our mind and choose a different future, or a different past.  Richard Bach

As we mature and develop through predictable phases of our lives, we are invited to rethink our histories.  To test this theory, attend a High School or Military reunion and listen to the amazing stories of how you were remembered by your peers.  Allow yourself to be drawn into the softness of retrospect and experience the transformation of what you once thought was a stumbling block into a stepping stone.

3. We See Things Not as They Are, But as WE Are.

Each of us tends to think we see things as they are, that we are objective. But this is not the case. We see the world, not as it is, but as we are—or, as we are conditioned to see it. When we open our mouths to describe what we see, we in effect describe ourselves, our perceptions, our paradigms.  Stephen Covey

This truth is a double-edged sword that results in two possible outcomes:  

Empathy for our fellow traveler.


Disdain and judgment of his/her world view.

Empathy:  Overcoming obstacles that require understanding another’s point of view in terms of THEIR basic needs.

4.  Mindfulness of the Present is Your Compass to the Future.

Our emotions, while real and present, don’t require us to react.  Feelings are not facts.  They are only a tool to be used in scouting the horizon and assessing our current reality.  When in the present moment, we can let go of fears for the future and navigate around the falsehoods of the past.

5.  Fitness of Body and Mind Ensures Clarity of Thinking.

Some thoughts from John Medina, author of Brain Rules

The human brain evolved under conditions of almost constant motion

The optimal environment for processing information would include motion.

The best meetings would have us walking at about 1.8 miles per hour.

Exercise positively affects executive functioning, reaction times, and analytical skills.

If you are sedentary and want to see if the above can be improved, Aerobic Exercise is shown to result in improved executive functioning, which means enhanced decision making, improved sense of rationale, and greater ability to envision consequences of choices.

Exercise improves cognition for two reasons:

  • Increases oxygen flow into the brain, which reduces brain-bound free radicals (toxic waste).
  • An increase in oxygen is always accompanied by an uptick in mental sharpness.
  • Exercise acts directly on the molecular machinery of the brain itself.
  • It increases neurons’ creation, survival, and resistance to damage and stress.

Next Post:  Understanding our 5 Basic Human Needs.

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