Here is an exercise to help you achieve greatness in your life. It’s not hard and it is very revealing. Read over the three questions. Then sit down and work out your answers to each one. I suggest that you take a notepad and put each day’s question on a separate sheet. Then, as you come up with answers, you can jot them on the appropriate page.
The exercise is intended to take three days, because you will often think of things at odd times. It does not require you to sit in a lotus position and do nothing else but meditate on the question. You can move through your normal day, and work on the question in your free moments. In fact, approaching the problem in this way is probably best, because it will allow spontaneous thoughts to pop into your mind. An item from the Day One exercise might pop into your head on Day Three. No problem, just add it to the appropriate page.
You might go through 80% of all three exercises in a single day and then find yourself coming up with additional ideas for the next two days. However, focusing on a single exercise for a full day will yield the information you need.
After three days you can assemble the results into a plan going forward to redirect your life towards greatness.
Ready? Here are the questions…
Day one – what would a day be like in which everything is right and you do everything right? You awoke in the perfect place; you said the right things; acted in the right ways; dealt with the right issues? Imagine a perfect day. Start from when you wake up and go through a day in which EVERYTHING YOU DO IS PERFECT.
Write down what would you do in that perfect day…
Day Two – Good fortune has struck! You have just won $500,000,000.00 on a lottery ticket! You are the sole winner! It is all yours! Even the taxes have been paid! You are rich! Now, make a list of the things you would do with your newfound wealth. Go to an accountant, talk to a lawyer, set up trust funds for friends and family, buy items, plan trips… Would you pay off your mortgage? Pay off credit cards? Buy a new house? Buy a new car? Buy a boat? Throw a huge party?
Jot it all down…
Day Three – Tragedy has come! You have two months to live. You will be healthy until then, but in just a short time you will be gone. Friends have come to help you in your last days. What do you need to finish before you go? Update your will? Make some last minute visits to friends and family, Arrange for someone to care for your pets? Complete that book you have been writing?
Write down everything you want to finish with those remaining days…
Those are the three questions. Take three days to complete the exercises above and then continue with the analysis below. Feel free to read what is coming – there is no magic or secret revelations. You might think you will bias the results a bit if you know what’s coming, but don’t worry. It’s just common sense and a chance for you to refocus your life. Even if you try to bias the results by making yourself more noble, more artistic, or more thoughtful, you will still be telling yourself what you want deep down. You might go the other way, trying to be more lazy, more crazy, or more hostile. If you look closely, all you are saying is you would like to work less, be more spontaneous, and more assertive in dealing with annoying people or circumstances.
So, let’s take a look at our results…
Day One tells you the person you would like to be. Whether that person is more assertive, kinder, decisive, understanding, it’s how you secretly would like to act. You don’t see yourself as that person, yet. However, you know you could with a bit of work…
For example, In your perfect day did you wake up in great shape, in perfect health, with a warm bright sun shining down on you? After a quick jog up and down the beach, did you sit down to a lovely breakfast on the deck? You have just told yourself that you would like to be in better shape, that you like a warm climate and nearness to the ocean, and you feel you don’t relax enough. Look at the things you would like to accomplish in this day, as well as how you see yourself behaving and acting. Right in front of you is a blueprint for self-improvement (as well as a not too subtle hint that you might like to live in a warmer climate!)
Day Two tells you what you dream of accomplishing. You might start a new business, share your wealth with others, get out of debt, have more fun. It’s all in there. Day Two is the list of goals you would like to accomplish. Beneath those goals are some purposes in your life. Did you set up trust funds for your children? You want to be supportive and nurturing. Did you start a business or contribute to charities? You want to change the world around you and make it a better place. These goals are usually large, and would require time and effort to achieve. The purposes underneath them are things that you place intrinsic value on.
Day Three tells you where your secret worries are. It’s all the things you feel are still undone. The half- finished projects, the unresolved disputes and the tasks you wish you had completed. These are the drags on your happiness; the gnawing things that pop up in the back of your mind as incompletes.
Now, look at those three lists and build a plan to make yourself the person who has done those things!
Think about how you would feel if all the items in Day Three were done. These are the things that drag you down. Plan to eliminate them one by one. See yourself succeeding in getting rid of them. Make an appointment to update the will. Set dates to visit those friends and relatives. Eliminating the issues in Day Three should be your first priority. Getting rid of as many of these issues as you can will change your vision from that of a struggling individual to a person who is confident and capable. When you have already prepared for the disaster, it is easy to lead. Dealing with these issues allows you the freedom to take control of your life and to move forward to achieve your dreams and then create that perfect day – every day.
Next look at Day One. This is how you would like your life to be. How far are you away? What do you need to do to make every day as perfect as the one you envisioned? Many things might not be under your immediate control. But let’s say your vision is to be more assertive. What would it take? Do you need to stand up to a coworker? Is a bad boss making your life miserable? Perhaps you need to get some counseling to build your confidence. Perhaps your self-image needs a boost. You could take exercise classes, martial arts classes, or just hit the beauty parlor. Perhaps you feel stuck in a rut? Try dance classes, or join a movie or book club. You might try something to expand your skills. It could be anything from cooking classes to night school. Don’t try to do it all at once. Think of your options, jot them down and then build a plan to move forward.
Finally Look at Day Two. Here are your dreams and aspirations. With unlimited funds you can devote yourself to anything you want. You could travel the world, live in luxury, donate to charities, start new businesses. These items are where you want to go. Look at them carefully and ask yourself what it would take for you to really achieve them.
You might not be able to get to your goals right away, but that is no reason not to make a start and plan for how to get there. Often you can begin upgrading your lifestyle in simple ways. For example, add a night out at a good restaurant once a month. Attend social functions like the theater or ballet. Contribute time to a volunteer organization or charity.
Begin replacing items in your wardrobe with ones that are of better quality. Dressing well can make you look better, feel better about yourself, and actually command more respect from those around you.
Do you dream of travel? Check out all the places that are in your local area. Chances are there are museums, art galleries, and tourist attractions within a few miles you have never visited! Plan short day or weekend trips outside your local area to visit attractions of interest. Research the places you would like to visit. Find out the background and history surrounding the area. It will make you a more well rounded individual and when you do get to those places it will make the trip even more enjoyable because you will have that much more to appreciate about the area.
Finally, use the answers to these three questions as a starting point for refocusing your life and your energies. Eliminate the drags on your life you found in Day Three. Set your future goals using the dreams you discovered in Day Two, and make your life the way you want it by acting the way you envisioned on Day One.
Three, Two, One, Go!
David Dougher – author, ballroom dance instructor, computer consultant, game designer, and odd fellow.
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