I am often surprised at how I can complicate things, both in business and life. We get so busy planning and doing that we sometimes forget why we are doing it in the first place. There is so much to do, so many places to go, so much to accumulate, that sometimes we are un-able to be present in life itself.

It seems as though I also waste my time with my “stories,” figuring things and people out — at times making things up to conveniently fit my worldview. We can expend so much energy convincing ourselves that something is true when it’s not, or justifying the way we think or feel. Wouldn’t it be nice to know we are just feeling a certain way, without having to figure out why all the time?

Then there is the time spent complaining — griping about what happened or didn’t happen, or about the things we find frustrating in life. One easy way to mitigate the amount of our complaining is to turn all complaints into requests. When you are unhappy with something or someone, think about whom you need to ask what of, and by when. It’s a way to move forward in a positive, constructive way. To paraphrase Buddha, all of our suffering is either caused by attachment or aversion.

The four A’s to living the life you’ve imagined are:

1) Affirmation — “act as if” — create the space to attract anything that you want.

2) Awareness — become aware of your “monkey mind” and what you are focused on.

3) Adaptability — accept what is, and adapt your thinking and behavior to move you closer to what you prefer.

4) Appreciation — attract more of what you want by appreciating what you have.

Start each day stating your affirmations with feeling, imagining what they look, sound, and feel like.

Pay attention throughout the day to where your mind wanders and what you are focused on. Just notice it, don’t judge it, and look for ways to shift your energy and attention toward what you want.

Be adaptable. Very few things happen exactly as planned. Be present to whatever unfolds in front of you and know that you have the skills to deal with whatever presents itself.

Lastly, appreciate what you have. Appreciation shifts our energy in a positive direction and serves as a magnet for future positive expansion.

Ralph L. Simone is founder of Emergent (formerly Productivity Leadership Systems) in Baldwinsville

Originally appeared in Central New York Business Journal February 15th 2016