On Living the Life You Want to Live
I’d like to invite you to run through a brief exercise with me.
Start by finding a quiet space. Consider closing your eyes if that helps you to focus better. Once you’re situated, I’d like you to imagine (or, more accurately, visualize) your answer to the following question:
What would your ideal life look like?
In case that’s a bit overwhelming to contemplate right out of the gate, let me help distill it down into something more manageable for you by posing some more elemental questions. (Feel free to pull out a piece of paper and jot down your answers to these questions to get a more tangible picture of how your ideal life might look).
When would you ideally like to wake up each day?
What would your morning routine consist of?
At what time of day or evening do you tend to be most productive?
(Or, at what time(s) of day would you prefer to work / get work done?)
At what time of day or evening do you prefer to play or relax?
What are some activities that you’d like to integrate into your daily or weekly schedule?
What, if any, sort of work would you ideally do, and for how long each day?
Where would this all take place?
What kind of living space would you like to have?
What kind of work space?
Would you like to be around others in a collaborative or social atmosphere, or would you prefer to be on your own somewhere?
And where in the world would you ideally like to be?
Deep down in your core being, what is the big “why” that drives you in life?
Whom or what do you live for?
What do you derive your sense of purpose from?
What gives your life meaning?
Finally, who would you like to share your life with? -family? -friends?
Would you like to invest the time, love, commitment, and effort to build a family of your own and reap the rewards of doing so? -or would you prefer to have a more individualistic and free-flowing lifestyle without the obligations or responsibilities that a family might entail?
Who would you like to spend time with, and how would you prefer to allocate or apportion that time? As Jim Rohn famously said, we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So who, or what types of people, would you ideally like to be surrounded by?
Okay, now for the hard part.
Take a long, slow, deep breath, and then consider the following question from your place of deepest inner knowing:
What’s keeping you from having that life right now?
What’s really blocking you or holding you back from pursuing it? Try to be honest with yourself here.
Is it some sense of obligation that you have to others that’s preventing you from living that life? Is it inertia? Is it fear?
I’d challenge you not to give credence to any excuses along the lines of “lacking the resources” to make it happen (whether those resources take the form of time, finances, or something else). Because, frankly, those excuses aren’t real.
All that we can ever do is make the most of the hand we’ve been dealt in life. And if you really want something, you’ll find a way to think creatively, get scrappy, dig deep, and move beyond those kinds of resource-based obstacles; you’ll find a way to achieve it.
So what would it actually take for you to push past the barriers you’ve identified and build that ideal life that you’d like to have? What’s keeping you from just going for it?
Take a few minutes to really ponder this.
What would you need to have happen? What are some things that could launch you over that tipping point? Would it take the addition of something? --the subtraction or removal of something?
Finally, what steps or actions can you take today, over the upcoming week, and within a month’s time to get you closer to living your idealized life?
How can you adjust your daily or weekly schedule to begin setting your ideal patterns or routines and instilling them as new habits?
What can you dedicate time to, integrate into your life, and begin working towards?
How can you change your work and/or living environment to better align with your preferences?
In what ways can you incorporate reminders of your big “why” (your driving purpose or what really motivates you) into your daily life?
Who can you choose to surround yourself with? (Who do you want to be more like?)
I’ve personally found it valuable to revisit and run back through these questions periodically. Whenever I find I’ve become unhappy with my job, whenever I discover something new out there in the world that lights me up, or whenever someone I care deeply about passes away, I seize those moments and take some time to reevaluate what I want in life.
Then, the most difficult part: I challenge myself to pursue it. And I hope that you will too.
Because it’s all so damn fleeting. And while that’s what makes life so beautiful, it’s also what makes it so tragic if you don’t choose to take action and ownership of it.
Figure out what you value, then figure out what you want.
But be the hero of your own life. Don’t (whether passively or out of indifference) allow others to dictate your direction and your story. Live in a way that makes you proud above anyone else.
You (and only you) have the power to curate your life. Own it. Grab ahold of it and consciously shape it into whatever you’d like it to be. Live with intention.
In doing so, not only will you feel more fulfilled, but you’ll also become a role model to others - an inspirational figure. And if enough of us start to do this together, just imagine how much happier our world could be.
I’d like to play a part in building a world like that. Wouldn’t you?