A mentor of mine once said “Stop DESCRIBING your life, and start DESIGNING it!”
Those were powerful words that really hit home for me. You see, I’ll bet i’m not much different than you and can find yself in the middle of a pity party before I know it. You know, it’s like those times your day got off to a terrible start and the first chance you get you’re compelled to share your experience with someone else. Can you believe it took me an hour to get here this morning! And then, I finally get here and some jerk is in my parking spot! This whole tirade can carry on and on, and in most cases, what does the other person say in response? You think that’s bad – wait till you hear about what happened to me!
That’s exactly what I mean when I said describing your life. Have you had similar experiences?
My goal today is to persuade you to see that by designing your life rather than describing it, you’ll be able to live happier, healthier and more fulfilled days.
Have you ever wondered what the catalyst or spark is for all of your feelings, actions and results? It’s actually your thoughts. There’s a reason 2 people can experience the exact same event and have 2 completely different reactions to it, and it’s because of the thoughts they attach to it.
Albert Einstein once said the most important question a person can ask is “Is this a friendly universe?” My take on this is that we all have a choice in how we perceive the events and circumstances we face. Another of my mentors Jack Canfield describes himself as a Reverse Paranoid believing that the world is plotting to do him GOOD!
Over the past decade or so I’ve invested a large amount of my time and money into my own self education. In that time I’ve discovered 2 simple ways to more consciously design my life.
The first key is to have goals. Without clearly defined goals you are destined to wander aimlessly through life, or at best play a role in helping fulfilling someone else’s goals and dreams.
In numerous studies, and indeed in my own life, the simple act of putting goals down on paper dramatically increases the likelihood of them being achieved. Tony Robbins says that people will overestimate what they can accomplish in a year, but grossly underestimate what they can accomplish in a decade. So write your goals down, and then make continual small progress towards their achievement.
The second key to designing your life is to feed your mind. If you’ll treat your mind the way you should treat your stomach and give it the right fuel it’ll reward you tenfold. One of the best analogies I’ve ever heard to help illustrate this point came from another of my mentors, Raymond Aaron. He said to think of your mind like a fertile patch of soil. If you want that soil to produce a beautiful flower garden what must you do? You have to plant seeds, and then nurture them with water, fertilizer and ample sunlight. Now let me ask you a question. If you don’t plant seeds and nurture them, is it true that the soil will remain in it’s original state? Anyone who’s ever done any gardening knows that the answer is absolutely not. If you aren’t proactive and look after that plot of soil, before you know it, it’ll be an overgrown patch of weeds. Your mind behaves in much the same way.
That’s why you must continually feed your mind with positive, stimulating, uplifting, thought provoking materials. The 3 best ways I’ve found to do this are:
1) Seek out and surround yourself with positive people
2) Turn your vehicle into a university on wheels. Listen to educational audio programs instead of Talk Radio and Top 40
3) Read more, and watch TV less
An interesting survey conducted in 2003 revealed that one third of high school graduates will never read another book again in their lifetimes! On the flip side, nearly every successful person I’ve studied or met has been a voracious reader.
In closing, I’d like to persuade you to take a more active role in designing your life. If you have goals for this lifetime, and I’m quite sure you do, I want you to take some time in the next 24-48 hours and write down a list of 10 goals you’d like to accomplish in the next 3 years or less.
Second, I want you to carve out a few minutes a week to read a book that can support you in achieving those goals. It can be a biography, a personal development related book, or just a book on a subject that interests you. Did you know that by reading just 10 pages a day, you’ll complete 10-15 entire books in one year. That’s a far cry better than never reading another book again. Learn from the materials you read, and discover ways to implement the lessons in your own life.
It is my wish that from this day forward you seek to DESIGN YOUR LIFE instead of simply describing it!
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