How to Figure Out What You Want From Life (And Get It)
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:
- My family
- Being “my own boss”
- Freedom to travel
- Helping others
Things I dislike:
- Where I live
- Being tied down
- Having too many financial commitments
- My sister and her kids being 4,500 miles away
- An untidy house
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.
- I love my family. My sister and her three children live 4,500 miles away from me in Houston, Texas. How could I see them more? Three things: more money, flexible working hours, and the ability to work remotely.
- I love doing what I want. Now of course I don’t mean this in an absolute sense, as life is full of compromise. However, what I do want is to be able to wake up in the morning and decide what I am going to do with the day. How can I achieve this? Well, I’ll need a new job. In fact, I’ll need to work for myself and in a capacity where the work doesn’t govern the majority of my day.
- I love helping others. This is an easy one: what do I need for that? More time (with which to help), and more money (with which to facilitate the help).
- I don’t like where I live. Now I could pack up and move elsewhere right now, if I was really dedicated to the idea. But my financial stability would go flying out the window, as I would not be able to keep my job (unless I was only moving a few miles away), and I am not prepared to do that. The solution? I need to be able to rely on a “mobile” income – i.e. one that will continue to flourish, despite my location.
- I hate my house being unclean. You might quite sensibly say, “Why don’t you clean your bloody house then?” To which I would say, “Well actually, there is another item on my ‘dislike’ list: ‘Cleaning'”. There’s an easy cure to this – money. If I can earn more, then I can stomach the cost of a house cleaner.
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