I believe life can be broken down into 4 fundamental areas:
- Health: Eating/Exercise/Sleep/Recreation etc.
- Resources: Money/Possessions/Home/Car etc.
- Relationships: Significant Others/Family/Friends/Coworkers etc.
- Work: Serving others in a way that brings us personal fulfillment and allows us to meet our personal needs.
Informing how we approach these things is a Mentality influenced by: Beliefs/Spirituality/Personal History/Culture/Subconscious/Self-Talk/Self-Worth etc.
- We begin by spending some time articulating a Vision for these 4 areas of life. What would we like to see happen in our lives 10 years from today?
- Next, what needs to happen in the next 6-12 months to work towards that Vision?
Self-Assessment is where intentional Character Development begins. We must be willing to take a brutally honest, objective look at the current state of our lives and begin struggling to make the habit adjustments necessary to make progress towards our Vision (Self Discipline creates Freedom in life). If we press in hard, this process will continually challenge where we derive self worth and it will expose character flaws.
Achieving any significant goal (A vision is a compilation of goals) requires significant time (10 years). Inevitably, time will bring with it pain/suffering/disappointment. There will be unforeseen and uncontrollable adversity. Death, disease, divorce, financial woes, job loss etc. These events/circumstances make it tempting to fall into a Consumer Mindset:
Whether consciously or subconsciously, our primary objectives in the Consumer Loop become numbness and feeling good. We want instant gratification with little to no regard for future consequences of current actions. This creates deviation from the path to our vision. We consume people/places/things/processes until the immediate pleasure derived is exhausted. We then drift until we hit the next gimmick/quick fix/new obsession and we repeat the process. I believe addiction, cynicism, stagnation, depression and a litany of other psychological struggles can originate and/or proliferate in the Consumer Mindset.
Growth is the goal. Progress in life seems to be what many of us are after. The Learner Mindset is in opposition to the consumer mindset and I believe it offers opportunities for growth no matter where we are on the spectrum of human experiences:
We learn the things necessary to reach our vision. Based on new knowledge, we put together what we perceive to be sustainable plans. We execute and refine our strategies as we pay attention to what our behaviors produce. As we refine, we find potential gaps in our understanding and see places where our vision needs adjustment:
- Maybe we don’t have the capacity for everything we planned.
- Maybe we don’t actually value the goal enough to go through the process required to achieve it.
- Maybe we need to evaluate the strength of our motivations for pursuing a goal.
- We may need to challenge ourselves to find a deeper motive for why we want certain things. A motive deep enough to help us endure all the challenges that come with reaching our vision.
A key point to understand is that the Vision is a moving target. We must hold our plans for the future with an open hand while also doing everything within our power to reach those goals. This where I try to get people to embrace a principle I call The 300% Rule:
- 100% Ownership, 100% Effort, 100% of the Time!
No matter what life is giving us, no matter how much hell we are enduring, we will look for and focus on the factors in life that are in our control (Ownership). We will muster all the willpower we have, to utilize those factors to move towards our vision (Effort). Again, holding that vision with an open hand, allowing time and experience to help us discover new things about ourselves. Inevitably, there will be goals we don’t reach. The wholehearted application of this principle allows us to engage that disappointment/pain with the knowledge that it wasn’t our lack of resourcefulness or lack of effort that led to failure. It just wasn’t in the cards:
- What did we learn about life (Generally and Specifically)?
- What did we discover about ourselves (Strengths and weaknesses)?
- How do we adjust and move forward?
The 300% Rule is an accountability principle. When embraced as a mentality, it constantly points us towards the Learner Loop no matter where we are in life. It helps us push away from the temptation to avoid pain via the instant gratification found in the Consumer Loop.
I believe that for a person to reach greater expressions of their own potential over time one must be resilient against, and have the proper perspective on, pain and suffering. Continually pushing towards a vision, and choosing personal growth as an outcome of painful experiences, creates individuals of exceptional character and passion. Collectively, I believe this creates a culture of people who go after problems, attack social issues head on, and find uniques ways improve the lives of others.
The first step to this process is getting more precise about what we would like our future to look like. On no more than 1, 8.5×11 page, write or type what you want your life to look like in 10 years based on the 4 fundamental areas listed above. What specific goals can you reasonably achieve in the next 8-12 months? Set no more than 4 specific goals for this 8-12 month period. If need be, set fewer. The point of one page and a few goals is so that your focus becomes narrow and your energy is driven at specific tasks. Adherence to this, in theory, will reduce wasted effort across too many goals and a lack of proper follow through on any one thing. This is short enough for you to look at and evaluate almost daily. FOCUS.
Here’s some practical suggestions:
Exercise/Eating habits, Spending Habits, Financial Planning for the future, and the general organization/cleanliness of your living space, car, and work space. These are things in our direct control and they critically affect our ability to thrive in life. I always list Health and Resources as the first two categories of the 4 fundamental areas because they involve so many things that are in our direct control. Do you need to spend some time on google looking up home based exercise programs? Do you need a book on budgeting (Every Human Being should be on a budget.)? Go Learn! That’s always the first actionable step.
The thought here is that you need to get your own life together before you can really add some serious value to someone else. If we don’t show significant levels of self control, our depth of positive impact on others is limited. Also, clarity comes with a life that is more stress free. If you’re body is a wreck and you are in financial ruin, it’s going to be harder to be patient with people you love. Finding work you are passionate about might be impossible in this state. We’ll always have to manage our physical health and we’ll always have to deal with money. Therefore, reaching our vision starts with organizing the most basic tasks of life. Progress starts with you and the simple things of everyday life.
Questions? Email me – TravisDaigleCDC@gmail.com or comment below!