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How to figure out what you want.
Start at the end and figure out how to get there.
First things, first.
This post is part three in my book notes series on The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Someone gave me this book when I was 19 and about to be a dad. It made a huge impact on my life.
I will be publishing at least one new newsletter each week, and it won’t always be about the book I’m reading. Make sure you follow along by subscribing.
Begin with the end in mind.
It’s super weird to park a car in front of someone’s house and stare at it, but that’s what we were doing. A few weeks earlier, my girlfriend and I found out that she was pregnant, and news like this tends to make think about your future.
“I want to live in a house like this one day,” she said.
“And I want four kids. Two isn’t enough, and I don’t like odd numbers,” she added.
“Really?” I was still coming to grips with the idea of having one kid. “I’m going to have to own my own business then.”
We spent a lot of spare time like that. Two kids living in a bedroom in her parents’ house, making ambitious plans for a remarkable life.
Some of it has come true. We have six kids now—because we are overachievers. I have a business. We’ve owned a couple of homes.
We are still dreaming and making plans. She wants a farm now. I want a cabin office on the property with a wood-burning stove. We both want to create a paradise for our future grandkids (though we are hopefully a few years away from that).
Steven R. Covey wrote:
“Begin with the end in mind” is based on the principle that all things are created twice. There’s a mental or first creation, and a physical or second creation.
You are either going to intentionally create your future or accidentally create it.
I heard Ryan Holiday say that discipline isn’t about doing things you don’t want to do or giving up stuff. It’s really about knowing what you want. Because when you know what you want, you will make decisions that get there.
Beginning with the end in mind applies to more than long term goals. Before you send that text or email, have that conversation or meeting, before you walk in the door after work, think, “What’s the outcome I want here?”
Understanding your values.
When beginning with the end in mind, it’s super helpful to consider your values. Does the end you imagine line up with what you really want in life—what you value? If it does, great! If it doesn't, then no matter how grand the vision, it’s not going to lead you to a fulfilling life.
You have to understand your center.
What ever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power.
Usually, a person’s center is a spouse, family, money, work, possessions, pleasure, or a friend or friends.
However, you should aim to be centered on principles.
Unless you are centered on principles, the way you view your live, your mood, and—most importantly—your actions will be swayed by an unreliable center.
If your spouse is upset, you are upset. If your family life is strained, you will be stressed. If you lack money, you will lack confidence. And on it goes. The opposite is also true.
But if you are centered on principles, outside forces cannot affect your mood and behavior.
Our security comes from knowing that, unlike other centers based on people or things which are subject to frequent and immediate change, correct principles do not changes. We can depend on them.
Principles are deep, fundamental truths, class truths, generic common denominators. They are tightly interwoven threads running with exactness, consistency, beauty, and strength through the fabric of life.
Come up with a personal mission statement.
Habit 1 is the idea that “You are the programmer.” This habit says, “Write the program.”
You get to decide your principles. The author suggest writing a personal mission statement for as many of the following areas that matter to you.
What are your values when it comes to these areas? How do you respond to good and the bad? How do you behave? What are your rules and guidelines?
Writing or re-viewing a mission statement changes you because it forces you to thing through your priorities deeply, carefully, and to align your behavior with your beliefs. As you do, other people begin to sense that you’re not being driven by everything that happens to you. You have a sense of mission about what you’re trying to do and you are excited about it.
Here’s my mission statement.
My mission is to inspire others to live their lives to their fullest potential.
To fulfill this mission:
I am disciplined: I am clear on my goals, so I do the things that will lead to accomplishing them and avoid the things that will set me back.
I am community-minded: I include others and make sure everyone wins together.
I think big picture: I set big goals and work towards them.
I take action: I do it now when possible. Otherwise, I schedule it or delegate it.
I learn: I read and listen to gain as much information as possible.
I share: I teach others, both to inspire and to further understand what I am learning.
These roles take priority in achieving my mission:
Husband: My wife is the most important person in my life. We are a power couple, working together to build a remarkable life and a generational legacy.
Father: I help my children learn the skills they need to live confident and fulfilling lives.
Son/Brother: I bring my family together (the way my dad did for his siblings).
Entrepreneur: I create businesses that help people and create wealth for everyone involved.
Spiritual: I have a deep understanding that everything is connected and serving a greater goal, that God loves Creation, and that my value comes from these truths.
Leader: I create opportunities for others by inspiring and serving them.
Scholar: I relentlessly pursue and apply new lessons every day.
Health: I eat mostly plants and exercise every single day.
This becomes a sort of code of conduct. It’s a list of what it means to be me. It keeps me centered and focused on the things I value and the life I want to live.
What you should do with this.
You are not pursuing happiness. You are craving confidence.
The best way to build confidence is to decide the direction you want to take your life, make promises to yourself about the actions you are willing to take to get there, and then take action.
You will feel increasingly better and more fulfilled each time you keep a promise you make to yourself.
Accept personal reponsibility for your actions.
Figure out what you value.
Decide where you want to go.
Take actions that will get you there.
I am a YouTube junkie. Lately, I’ve curated my viewing towards business and productivity education. Here’s some of my favorites stuff I’ve watched this past week.
A great growth system. Cal Newport, the author of Deep Work and Digital Minimalism, put out version two of his Deep Stack productivity system. It goes hand-in-hand with today’s post. Watch Deep Life Stack 2.0 to Reinvent Yourself.
Why it’s made. I love things that are made by people who love what they do, and I love hearing from makers talk about what went into design a product. Watch the Founder of Vero Engineering on his most sought after knives.
That’s it for this week. Reply back or leave a comment to let me know what you think.
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