Leaving Work Behind

How to Figure Out What You Want From Life (And Get It)

Written by Tom Ewer on July 4, 2011. 12 Comments

What Do You Want?One of the keys to success is to decide what you are aiming for, then figure out how to get there. It sounds simple in principle, doesn’t it?

You may not have a clear enough idea of what you are aiming for, even if you think that you do. If you do not, then you will ultimately lack the motivation and drive necessary for success.

And the key to motivation, in simple terms, is knowing what you want.

An initial desire to “be successful” will only take you so far. At some point, you are going to need to justify all the hard work you are putting in. If at that stage you lack any clear direction, your motivation is likely to hit the floor.

So, what is it that you want from life?

How to Define Your Endgame

My definition of an Endgame, in the context of success, is something that makes a major positive impact on your life. Defining your next Endgame is extremely important to consistent motivation (and therefore success).

I’d like you to carry out an exercise. Grab a pen and paper (or fire up Notepad or a similar program). Write a list of all the things you like. Don’t worry too much about what you are writing; just let your thoughts flow onto a piece of paper (or a computer screen). Then, repeat the same process for the things you dislike. These lists can be as long or as short as you like, and the items therein can be as major or as petty as you like.

The key to defining your Endgame is in what you have just written down. The ultimate goal of your Endgame should be to enjoy all of what you like, and as little of what you dislike.

Let’s use a few things from my list as an example.

Things I like:

Things I dislike:

It is okay to be selfish with your lists. That does not make you a bad person. Of course you should take a long hard look at yourself in the mirror if “to achieve financial success at the expense of others” or something similar is on your like list, but try not to get too concerned with political correctness. Yes, I am lazy when it comes to house cleaning. I’d rather spend my time doing other things. I would rather pay someone to do it for me. And that is okay.

Now in reality, my like and dislike lists are much longer, but I only wanted to include a sample to give you an idea of how I can calculate my Endgame from the lists.

So what do I need to do now? Let’s take it one step at a time.

Now I’m sure you can see the two key things that have surfaced out of this analysis: I want more money, and I want to work for myself in a flexible and non time-intensive environment.

How much money I will ultimately want is way beyond my first Endgame, so I will put that to one side for the time being. In the short term however, I will want to build an income that can sustain me, before I quit my job.

This desire needs to be formed into something more concrete. I need to set a deadline. The deadline may be rather arbitrary, but I would rather have an arbitrary deadline to work towards, than no deadline at all.

So, I have set myself a deadline of serving a letter of resignation no later than 23rd May 2012 – the first anniversary of the launch of my first niche site. And that, clearly defined, is my next Endgame.

So What Next?

There is one more thing to note: Endgames can change. For instance, if I decided that I was perfectly happy working fixed hours at the whim of someone else for the rest of my life, I would adjust my Endgame accordingly. It is okay to adjust your Endgame if you feel that what you want from life has changed.

The next step is to plot the steps that will take you to your Endgame. My method for doing that will be revealed in my next article.

Photo courtesy of aqbastian

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12 Responses to “How to Figure Out What You Want From Life (And Get It)”

  1. TheUglyKoala
    July 5, 2011 at 9:37 am

    “Are we not more likely to hit the mark if we have a target?” Aristotle

    If I leave a 1 line comment I’m going to look like a spammer but I can’t think of anything else to say:) Okay another quote in defence of 1 line comments;)

    “He is a benefactor of mankind who contracts the great rules of life into short sentences, that may be easily impressed on the memory, and so recur habitually to the mind”
    Samuel Johnson

    • Tom Ewer
      July 5, 2011 at 9:43 am

      The first line alone was a great addition to the article, and summed the purpose of it up perfectly 🙂 I would have used it if I’d had the presence of mind! 😉

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