There’s no denying the fact that our lives are a mirror image of the decisions we make. Sure there may be a rare exception—such as a major health challenge— but in the big picture of life, we are where we are today based on the decisions we made in the yesterdays.
The key to living a happy and fulfilling life is to make wise decisions; decisions about where you live and work; decisions in how you treat and interact with others; decisions about how you spend money and handle difficult situations. But perhaps the most important of all is where you are leading your life.
Where are you going? What do you want your life to look like five years from now? Ten years from now? Twenty years from now? Are you going drift with the tides or are you going to determine where you want to go, strap on a 200 HP motor, and start moving in that direction?
Like many people I know, I am trying to get clear on what I want to do with the rest of my life. I have achieved all my major goals thus far; so now I have to figure out where I want to go from here. As part of my soul-searching process, I have answered ten important questions I think everyone should ask of themselves.
Regardless of your station in life, you will benefit from answering these questions. Perhaps they will confirm that you are on the right track. Or, they may open your mind to opportunities you haven’t previously considered. They may reveal the missing link in your quest to find happiness and fulfillment in your life.
Finding clarity and direction for your life
1. What is important to me today? Start by identifying what’s currently important to you. To find the answer, simply look at how you spend your time. This is evidence to you and everyone watching your life as to what appears important to you at this point in time.
2. What should be important to me? Once you examine the activities that fill your days, you will begin to realize some activities contribute more positives to your life than others. For example, time spent watching TV or surfing the web compared to time invested in relationships, personal growth, or worthwhile projects. It’s time to do some soul-searching and make a list of the things that are truly important to you.
3. What do I want my life to look like? When you look 5, 10, 20, or 30 years into the future, what do you want your life to look like? What do you want to be doing with your time? Where do you want to be living?
4. What do I want my days to look like? What type of daily routines would you enjoy? From the time you get up to the time you go to bed, what do you want the typical day to look like?
5. What would I enjoy the most? Let loose and make a list of everything that fills you up inside. What excites you? What energizes you? Where’s your passion? Keep writing until you are done.
6. What are my greatest strengths? If your family and friends were asked to describe your most impressive attributes, what would they say? What do you do better than others? What distinguishes you? What makes you stand out from the crowd?
7. In what areas do I have extensive knowledge? In what areas have you spent the most time? Where would you say you have more knowledge than most people?
8. What’s the greatest value I offer to the market? Make a list of every skill, talent, and ability you have; then put a dollar value next to each one. Your goal is to identify where your personal services offer the highest value to the market.
9. How much money do I want to make? If you are looking to make a major career decision, you must decide how much money you want to make. Based on where you find yourself today, how important is money to you and how much do you want to earn?
10. What would my criteria be in selecting something new to do? Twenty-one years ago I made a list of what I believed would be the perfect business for me. Then I went on a search, quickly ruling out businesses that didn’t meet my criteria. Finally I found a business that met all 35 points on my criteria list. Making this list was one of the wisest things I have ever done.
As you process your answers to these questions, ask yourself one more question. What are my options? Make a list of every option available to you that aligns with your lists. After draining your brain of all possible options, review the pros and cons of each option. Consider seeking advice from people you respect. You might just discover an unchartered coastline that leads you to your dream destination.
Ben Stein said, “The indispensable first step to getting the things you want out of life is this: decide what you want.”
Have you recently gone through a major change in your life? What lessons did you learn that could help our readers? Do you have any questions that should be answered? Please share your insights in the comments section below this post.
To get crystal clear on what you want to do with your life, be willing to examine your current lifestyle, ask yourself soul-searching questions, take time to create lists of your choices and goals, and let your sub-conscious mind help form a plan. Then move forward to a more rewarding life.
About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 30 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are ranked #22 in America’s top 100 podcasts and #1 in the personal and development field.)