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How to Set Yourself on the “Right” Path

How to Set Yourself on the “Right” Path

    A few years ago, I stumbled on a letter I wrote to my future self when I was 15. I’ll spare you the bad writing but, it was frustrating to see how far I had strayed from the plan.

    I hadn’t moved to Australia, I wasn’t an architect. I wasn’t rich and I wasn’t travelling 6 months a year.

    In the eyes of 15 year old me, I was a failure, yet, I had done many other things.

    Turns out, John Lennon had it right…

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    Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.

    Although I had done other things and made progress in other ways, I had lost track of what my ambition wanted me to achieve.

    Through being busy, I had chosen opportunities, relationships and a lifestyle that only met my short term needs. It was time for me to reclaim my ambition.

    You can’t rely on serendipity

    Some people are lucky, they find passion for acting, medicine or police work early in their life and stick to it. But, they’re the exception; it’s a lot harder for most of us.

    Through trial and error, we’re good at discovering what we don’t want (a 9 to 5, a business, a boring job, stress) but terrible at discovering what we really want to do.

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    How can we know how we’ll feel about things we’ve never experienced?

    At some point, whether we know what we really want to do or not no longer matters. We need to earn a living as we’re swallowed by the flow of daily life.

    Along the way, serendipity might hit us or it might not; you can’t rely on it, you need to be in control.

    Interrupting the flow

    The first step I took in order to regain control of my ambition and stop letting life drive me was a drastic one: I moved to Asia.

    Moving to Asia meant abandonning some relationships, closing a succesful consulting business, discarding many things I owned, embarking on an unclear path, but most importantly, interrupting the flow. I took a step back and started to understand what my “right” path should be.

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    I was away for 331 days, travelled 92,364 kms, worked, didn’t work, looked for work, started my own thing, closed my own thing and moved back with a newly gained perspective on what my life should be.

    I think its a huge step to know what you want. I know how things can steamroll and often, we have a hard time to take a step back, look at the big picture, analyze, realign and move forward. – Ex-colleague

    What you can do for yourself

    Through being busy, we often lose our ability to take strategic life-changing decisions. Without ever wanting it, we’re swallowed by the flow and a form of self-perpetuating status quo sets in.

    To reclaim control of your path, it’s essential to have time to think and know what it is you want to win in life; you need a plan.

    If you have one, make sure it’s loose enough to adapt when life changes on you. If you don’t, why not set up a series of experiments to help you proceed by elimination and identify what you no longer want in life.

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    To force a serendipitous outcome, you can try jobs you’ve never done, mingle with people that are nothing like you, restructure your life in a completely different way or be willing to listen to opportunities you would have never listened to before.

    The important thing is to realize that the best opportunities in life are not the short wins; they’re the opportunities that best match your long term vision and “right” path.

    Everyone’s on a path, but are you moving in the right direction? Are you on your “right” path?

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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