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Life Motivation - Part 1
Finding direction in your lifeClick thumbnail to view full-size
Have you ever noticed how some people seem to wonder aimlessly through life while others are more like a guided missile? Both can be totally satisfying, depending on what someone wants out of their life. But let me ask you this:
Are you satisfied with how your life is going?
If your answer is "YES" then this might not be of any interest to you. I will in no way be hurt or insulted if you leave now and continue enjoying your life. However, I will try to make this interesting so you can still enjoy it if you decide to follow your curiosity.
If your answer to my question is "NO" then this message is for you. I hope you enjoy what follows and that it helps you move closer to being happy and satisfied with your life.
One of the key factors in being satisfied with your life is knowing what you want to get out of it. It's not enough to wake up, go to work, come home, stare at the TV and then go to sleep. If that's all your life is, then what's different between being alive and being dead?
If you were to attend your funeral (I know, it's not possible, but just pretend) what would you hear the people say about you? Just take a moment and think about it. What would your parents say? What would your co-workers say? How many would even show up? What would your best friend say? What would your brother, sister, aunt or uncle say about you?
Realize, I'm not asking what you would want them to say. I'm asking what they would say. Would they describe you as fun? Serious? Someone who lived life to the fullest? Or would they say you always played it safe? Would they describe you as trustworthy? A trickster? A scheming liar?
Wow. I started this talking about going through life and then got as morbid and depressing as possible. But there's a method to my madness. I wanted to get you to stop for just a second and take a look at yourself. Now keep that in mind as I jump back to where I started at.
What do you want?
Motivation. It’s a word used to describe WHY. It tells us why someone did or did not do something. In this case, I'm talking about the motivation behind someone's life. If someone wants to experience as many things as possible and they care more about taking the journey than the destination, they can truly drift through life, aimlessly, and feel 100% satisfied with their life. Their motivation was the experience. Trying 20 different jobs just to see what they are like is fine, if the experience of trying new things IS the motivation.
But what if there is a specific dream? What if a person had a burning desire to achieve something? Then that is their motivation. But, this is where it can get a bit sticky. To often we confuse what we want with the motivation and get lost.
Let me give you an example. John has a vision. He sees himself as a successful manager. He sees himself with a big house, pretty wife, nice car, and a big paycheck. So, what's his motivation? Is it the lifestyle? Is his motivation money? Is his motivation being the best at his job? Is his motivation simply to show up at his class reunion as the biggest success and rub it in the faces if his old school rivals?
So what's the answer? What's his real motivation? I have not the bloodiest clue! And neither does he. He has a vision and he's running madly to make it happen. But he doesn't have a clear picture or image of his true motivation. And that is the problem too many of us suffer. If John doesn't know what he really wants, how are we supposed to? And how will he know when he's reached the point he is allowed to be happy? At what point can he die, and know he had finished his work? Its a sad thing to go through life always trying to move forward but never being able to enjoy what's been done.
What I want to do is share a few ideas that might help you better define what you're personal motivation is. At the end if this, my goal is that you feel more directed and less aimless. Maybe not totally certain, but on your way to getting there.
Step one - Write Your Obituary
Yes, that sounded bad. But eventually everyone will have one written about them. And its written by those you leave behind. This is your chance to write it yourself. Imagine you're over 100 and you've done everything you wanted to. You've completed your life. Bookmark this page, take a few minutes and write what your ideal obituary will be. We'll wait. When you're done we'll pick back up and continue.
No, really. Take a few minutes, or as long as you need. this should be something you take a minute, think about and write carefully.
All done? Ok, so now let's talk about this. Looking at your obituary, what did you write about your career? What did you write about your family? What did you focus on? Did what you wrote look like your life right this minute? If you wrote about traveling the world, but have never left your home town or state, either your ignoring a goal in your life, or you think it would be neat, but its not really important. Decide which it is.
Step Two - Summarize Key Points
Take your obituary and try to summarize it in just a few key points. If something doesn't fit, decide if its a "nice to have" that doesn't really matter, or its a "must have" that you've been ignoring. Try to come up with a few key points that you feel truly describes what you think and feel is most important to you.
There's no magic answer. If your key point is "he raised 2 wonderful children who have wonderful lives and children if their own." It is just as valid and important as "she was the most influential CEO Somethingcorp ever had." And both of those are as valid as any other key point, whether it's about an activity, family, business, possessions, or anything else. This isn’t about what others think. This is what you personally feel are the important key factors in your life.
Now, look at your key points. Do you see anything that stands out to you? Is there anything that you have on this list that is NOT part of your life at this exact point in time? Take some time and decide why it's on your list, but not in your life. Don't make a snap decision, think it over, let it percolate in your mind a few days. Next, of the things on your key point list that ARE in your life, do they match you list, or are they sort of just a similar ballpark. For example, if an item on your key point list is "Successful executive" and you are a supervisor. It's in the ballpark, but not the same. But it IS in the ballpark.
This is the end of this section. So far you've started thinking about your life and what your legacy will be. If you like what you see, good for you. Keep it up and next we'll help you refine your life motivation so you can attain your personal success that much sooner. If you don't like what you see, for any reason, it's OK. The hardest part of personal evaluation is seeing things we don't like. But now you can start thinking about it and begin to make a change. Hopefully you will soon be able to see things in your life and feel satidfaction that things are changing for the better.
Next, I'll spend some time talking about identifying motivations you may not even realize are affecting your behavior and decisions. See you in Part 2!
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