“Who exactly do you want to be? What kind of person do you want to be? What are your personal ideals? Whom do you admire? What are their special traits that you would make your own? It’s time to stop being vague. If you wish to be an extraordinary person, if you wish to become wise, then you should explicitly identify the kind of person you aspire to become. If you have a daybook, write down who you’re trying to be, so that you can refer to this self-determination. Precisely describe the demeanor you want to adopt so that you may preserve it when you are by yourself or with other people.”
Epictetus lived almost 2,000 years ago, yet this advice is just as relevant today as in the time it was written. In this one paragraph there is an incredible amount of wisdom that can and should be used as a guide for life.
What is intriguing to me is how few people do any type of exercise like this. In my conversations with friends, family and the people I interact with very few have a written plan for their lives. Itis the exception, not the rule, to meet someone who has invested the time and energy into defining their own future and creating the necessary actions to enable their plans.
Getting started can be overwhelming but from where I sit there are three key steps one must take to activate this wisdom in your own life.
First, simply answer the questions. Take the time to write out very specific and detailed answers.
Second, and I’ll bet this is where a significant amount of people fall short, is to create an action plan that enables you to bring the answers you have create to life.
Third, and this is where success or failure is defined, execute your plan. The investment of time and energy into the first two steps is wasted if you don’t do anything with the work.
Now that all sounds easy and simple, yet it is hard work to complete, and complete well. Personally I know I need to revisit my plan and make some changes to ensure that I am on track to become the person God created me to be.
If you want a good book with a great template for a planning exercise I highly recommend “Living Forward” by Dan Harkavy and Michael Hyatt. It can be a life changing experience.