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Do You Have a Big Mission?

Do You Have a Big Mission?

“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.” ~Eric Hoffer

People get up every day and go to work. They do their assigned tasks, collect their pay, and head on home. Tomorrow, they will do the same. For most folks, this is just a routine that keeps food on the table.

But for an elite few, something else is driving them. They look to make a difference by what they do, and they choose what they do based on what will have an impact. They may, at times, forgo pay to make this happen, although making it happen may actually result in very great financial reward.

What we have here is the difference between having a job and having a mission.

Why Have a Mission?

A mission spares you from expending yourself all over the place just doing things. It focuses you on BEING. You are moved to take on inspired action in support of your mission, and you stop wasting your time, effort, and resources on anything that doesn’t. It stops all the confusion and frustration.

When your mission is big and clear, you have staying power and don’t feel compelled to give up easily. You don’t have to make it on mere willpower because the mission is compelling to you.

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Your mission makes for a compelling story for others, too. People are drawn to you because of what they see in you, and that connection makes it feel right to work with you.

Is a Mission of My Own Really Necessary?

You may be wondering if you really need a mission. After all, you may just want to have a job that takes care of you and your family or to do a little good in the world.

You may already be associated with an organization. You may be thinking that they have a mission and that it should be good enough for you.

But without a vision of your own, something happens along the way. You feel unfocused and undirected. You find yourself doing, doing, doing, but nothing ever seems to get done. Things aren’t closing or opening.

You may have chosen to work in a particular organization because you found their mission compelling. Their mission inspired you, and you wanted to be a part of it. You are even happy to share their mission with others.

But it’s not yours.

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So ask yourself these questions:

What do I want to do that is big?
What do I want to do for my community?
What do I want to do in this world?
What is it that really gets me going?
What is it that wakes me up early on Monday morning?

There is no getting around answering these questions if you want to touch a lot of lives and make a big impact. You need something bigger than yourself.

Your mission is like a prerequisite since it comes before everything else that you intend to create.

What Exactly Is a Mission?

A mission boils down to this: what is it that you want to do that is bigger than yourself? What makes another person want to engage with you? Even more importantly, what makes you happy to serve others?

The answers to these questions provides you with focus and clarity. They make everything flow: every conversation, every opportunity, and every connection.

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You get to discover who you really are.

People lose their own way when they just buy into someone else’s mission or even an organization’s mission. What ends up happening is that they promote that “other” mission and then forget how or even if it connects to them.

Getting a Mission of Your Very Own

Okay, we have established the importance of having a big mission. So how do you get one?

There are four steps. Each is important, and they must be approached in order. Follow this blueprint and you can build a big mission that will energize you and inspire others.

The first step is to give birth to your DREAM. Your dream keeps you connected emotionally.

Once you have a dream, you can now funnel your passion or DRIVE into it. Drive keeps it alive.

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Once your dream is energized, it needs structure. A dream without structure is just a fantasy, but a dream with structure is your VISION. This is where you apply the laws of physics, economics, and human nature to your dream to turn it into something real.

Finally, you need a means to bring your vision to the world. That means is your VEHICLE. The vehicle might be something as organized as a business or as organic as a movement.

When you bring together DREAM, DRIVE, VISION, and VEHICLE, you have a mission.

Make It Big

Your mission may not be as big as world peace or the end of poverty. But whatever it is, it will be big for you. How big it feels is how you will determine whether or not it is worthy of you.

Starting a community garden may be big for you. Running for president may be big for you. It is yours to choose.

This is not the time to hold back. A mission will be larger than you. That is one of its best characteristics. Make it something you are proud to be associated with. Honor your big mission and it will honor you.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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