The title of this article may whisk you away to some eye twitching memory of a borderline psychotic teacher who thought the world rose and fell on whether or not you could memorize the formula for finding the area of an octagon. If that’s the case, my most sincere apologies and I trust you weren’t permanently damaged. However, the idea of being congruent or incongruent, on a personal level, is one of great importance.
I suppose it is probably helpful to kick away some cobwebs and revisit what congruent and incongruent mean. For all the purists reading this article, congruent in geometric terms relates to geometric figures that have the same size and shape. Another meaning for congruent is the act or state of being in harmony, agreement or conformity with something else.
How many times have you made a decision and you know it was a bad decision, but still made it anyway? Maybe it was after the fact that you recognized you have a tendency to make poor choices, but you’re not sure how to alter this behavior? This is such a common frustration among many people. One of the first things that typically come out in coaching sessions with my clients is this issue of congruency.
“How do I not do this?” is the common question I hear. There is no pat answer that is truly applicable for everyone; however, there is a principle at play that is beneficial to recognize. Recognition of this principle gives you the ability to be more reflective and through self-awareness, you become empowered to make slight alterations which have remarkable results.
I think it’s safe to say that many of us have an image of what we would love to see happen in our lives. You would be surprised to know that these images aren’t quite as far-fetched as many of us imagine them to be. Most people want to make a difference in their world, what that looks like is wide and varied. Most people truly want to help others. Most people have their idea of what success looks like and hope to achieve that. It is when their actions are contrary to these images, that real frustration begins to become their reality. This is the key to overcoming this issue and most people aren’t aware that this is where the rub is.
If something is in line, or in step, with something else, we can say that they are in agreement. What we usually fail to realize is that our habitual actions are not in line, or in step, with what we would like to see happen in our lives. This causes incongruence and things are not in a state of harmony, agreement nor conformity. We view our decisions as bad decisions and it begins to affect how we view ourselves and chips away at our self-esteem. If we are able to align our decisions with what we intend to achieve in life, our decisions begin to have purpose and are better decisions.
Stop for a moment and take the time to write down what you want to see achieved in your life. Be as specific as possible. Now write down what actions you believe will contribute to that goal. These actions, most likely, will be in congruence with your goal. Now reflect on what your beliefs are with respect to this goal. What do you need to believe in order for this goal to become a reality? Do you notice any conflict? That place of conflict will usually be instrumental to your decision making process and influence how you choose to act. I would venture a guess that your poor decisions are in one or two specific areas and they are repetitious.
If you are able to view behavior as a series of developed habits, then you are empowered to simply develop new habits one by one. We are told that by doing something 21 times consecutively, we are able to develop a new habit. Find those conflicting areas in your belief system and determine a new habit that will be congruent with what you aim to achieve in life. One at a time, develop a new habit. You are managing your behavior. The important part of this exercise is that you are moving towards what you want to achieve, rather than trying to run away from what you don’t like. The former is much more productive and has purpose and focus. The latter is simply avoidance for the sake of avoidance with no real directional element whatsoever.
This shift in how we choose to manage and improve our decision making process is awkward at first. Surround yourself with supportive people. Make yourself accountable to them by letting them know what you want to change. If you don’t have this available in your life, seek out a quality coach to do this journey with you. You are in control of your destiny, so live like you are. You have more capability than you give yourself credit for having. Walk with confidence, and humility, that you can purpose things to happen in your life in a positive light. Remember, your mentality dictates your reality.