Day 8: Finding Your Path
When I was growing up, I often heard the phrase, “you’ve got a lot of potential.” And there was some truth to it. I was a gifted student with a precocious attitude and some modicum of charm (though I’m not sure what happened to that last bit.) But despite the fact that this phrase was meant to be a compliment and encouragement, it never was.
Instead, after their declaration of potential I always heard a hidden question in my own mind: ”and what are you going to do with it?”
If you’re like me, you’ve felt the tension between the power that one person can yield and a general feeling of smallness. You’re taught about great minds that conquered countries, led movements, cured disease, and created great works. You’re told you can do anything, be anything, and reach for the stars.
Then you go home and look in the mirror and all you see is a very human, very flawed, and very unsure person with a big responsibility. And you’re left wondering how on earth you’re supposed to live up to it.
This answer to that question is quite simple: you don’t.
Great Things Not Great People
Great things are not done by great people. Great things happen through great people. Even the Buddha who founded a spiritual discipline that’s lasted thousands of years said that he was neither the first nor the last to walk the path of enlightenment. The Buddha didn’t create the path, but the path became part of him as walked it.
The greatness and purpose of your life isn’t about you being great. The greatness of your life is about following your heart and walking your path.
On the outside, it may look great or it may look mundane. But what really matters is that you are true to the life that is lived through this imperfect person that you are.
Back From Left Field
Ok now that I just went all left field on your asses, I’m going to bring it back to the world. So what does that mean for you day today?
It means that to be happy you must let go of your greatness and accept that you are an imperfect person, who has to live out what you’re about. Once you do that, things get simpler. Instead of needed to be something epic, all you have to do is take the next three steps on the path, and then three more, and then three more.
That is why today’s challenge is all about looking at the next 3 steps in the near, middle, and far path of your life.
Challenge #8 – 3 Things
I have tried over a dozen different methods to make goals and plans for my life. And while they all have merit, the one I like the best is 3 things. It’s a planning strategy that was developed at Microsoft and one that’s used widely by successful entrepreneurs and thought leaders alike.
Here’s how it works:
You begin by writing down the 3 things you want to accomplish this year. If it’s hard to narrow down make a list of the top 6 things you want to get done, put them in order and eliminate the bottom 3.
Next while keeping the first 3 things in mind, think about what 3 things you could accomplish this month that would lead towards your intentions for the year and write them down. Again if you’re having a hard time, write more than 3, rank, and eliminate.
Then, look at your list for the month and write down the 3 things you could do this week to contribute to your monthly goals.
And finally look at your 3 weekly goals and write down 3 things you can do tomorrow to work towards your weekly intentions.
Now comes the practice:
There are two ways you can practice with this challenge:
- You can set up a time to do a daily review in which you look at what you accomplished for the day and what you would like to accomplish tomorrow. If you choose this practice, you’ll need to set a very specific time to do this. I do mine after mediation in the morning but before I start work.
- If daily practice isn’t something you can commit to now, then choose one time a week to review your weekly intentions and check your progress.
I also recommend that you choose one day a month and 4 days a year to review and adjust your monthly and yearly intentions as the year goes on.
Now that you have your 3 things written out and your review times set, how do you feel?
- Does it seem overwhelming to make a plan like this?
- Are you unsure you’ll be able to get this all done?
- Do you think your intentions are too big or maybe not big enough?
- What do you think you could do to support this practice?
- Would doing this regularly increase or decrease your happiness?
As always share in one or all of the ways below:
Write a post about your 3 things, why you chose them, and how it felt. Or write a post about what this process brought up for you and how you think happiness and planning are or aren’t related.
Share your 3 things for the year or month, your experience with this practice, or what doubts and fears making plans brought up for you. Remember #30dayhappy and our Facebook group
Ask a question, share an objection, or tell a story about how this went for you. I’d love to know how you are enjoying the challenge or struggling with it.