This post was written by Paul M. (Sparlin) on the Fastlane Forums and I thought it was a great post to put on my blog. Hope you enjoy it.
Living Life with Conviction by Paul M.
Have you ever noticed how all our best plans are set for tomorrow, yet tomorrow never seems to make its way to today? This is not a new concept and it seems fairly obvious as to why life works this way. Most people are so consumed with the now that they rarely take the time to project where they will be in the future. And though we could discuss setting goals and taking steps to obtain them, I think it more important to ask ourselves one question. Why is my goal not more of a priority in my life? More than that, how often do I pay lip service to an idea, but I don’t ever take deliberate steps to implement it?
We’ll discuss how this applies to the Fast Lane philosophy, but this question seems to transcend into all areas of life. You may say that living by the Golden Rule is a good thing, but then do you do your best to live it? Or you might think, I’ve got to lose weight, but you never even try. For some of the Fast Laners, you may say I’m going start my own business, and do whatever it takes to succeed. Instead you find your self reading posts, agreeing with the gurus, and not doing anything toward achieving your goals. Ok, fine, I admit that I’m talking about myself here.
I’ve been thinking lately about what delineates the successful from the unsuccessful. The answer is pretty obvious. They are disciplined. Ok, but is that the only reason? My answer would be no. The way I see it is that most of the world is full of dreams and dreamers, goals and goals setters. The key difference is that only a small percentage has gained the experience necessary to alter their perspectives. Those that see the world through different eyes are those that set different priorities. The rest of us continue to dream while sleeping through life’s opportunities.
For the vast majority of us we set goals but view them in a rather distant and hazy kind of light. It’s kind of like looking at a mountain range in the distance and saying, Yep, one day I’ll climb them. The problem is for most of us, one day is the day that never comes. Then again, we hear the gurus speak, and we feel inspired by statements and mottos such as The only Easy Day was yesterday or The long journey begins with the first step. We get a buzz off of writing down goals and subscribing to self affirmation techniques that we just know will help us succeed. For some people this is enough, just not for me.
So why is that the case? I think I know the answer. Those who have succeeded or are in the process have adopted a different perspective from the majority. They’re the ones that not only looked at the range, but they look to you and say, I climbed it. To them a view of the range is not about symbolism and dreams; it is about scaling the 100 foot cliff and watching the sunrise from the mountain peak. Where as to us, it may just be a concept; to them it is an attainable goal. The bottom line is that they see it through life experience as being real and legitimate rather than just a far fetched and nice distraction.
So let’s get back to the title of this post. Are you living your life with conviction? My personal answer is no. I can talk all I want about the mountain views, but I’m never going to speak to it with authority until I actually start hiking up the trail.
Rather than just saying it is possible to be successful and obtain my Fast Lane goal, I have to believe it and start implementing the necessary steps to make it happen. No more concepts, theories, and wouldn’t it be nice, it’s time for action.
So let’s look at the tools needed to make dreams less aloof and something more tangible.
GOAL: This is the mountain range. Now it’s time to pick a peak and head towards it. For me personally, I’m going to start off with something small. Not insignificant, just not overwhelming for my skill level. I’ll use this first goal as training for bigger challenges in the future.
DEDICATION: No more talk. Set aside an hour a day until you achieve or reassess your goal. (Using the same time every day will help it become a habit easily)
DISTRACTIONS: Turn off the television or computer games each day to work on the project. Pick a quiet place if possible (don’t say it parents, I know). Try to focus on your project only.
RESEARCH: Do what’s needed to understand the endeavor and utilize the available resources. Analyze which has worked best for others.
ACCOUNTABILITY: Some people don’t need this. It’s not always comfortable, but it helps along the way. By having someone nudge you along, you may be less inclined to put various tasks on the back burner. That being said, make sure you are positive you want to start a specific project. It’s not fair to get mad at a friend’s encouragement if you started the project reluctantly. He shouldn’t have to push you up the mountain, you should want to climb.
LOGBOOK: Write down what you implement and what works or doesn’t. By writing it down, it will help you remember past achievements/mistakes and cut down on repeat time.
BENCHMARKS: Use either dates or income to assess progress towards your goal.
MOTIVATION: This comes back again to the thesis question. Do you have the conviction that your goal is real, obtainable, and going to happen? Are you doing this for yourself or your family? Will you let this be another sprint start that morphs into a crawling or even a non finish? I know for me the desire is real. I’ve seen others conquer their goals. If I don’t try now, I’ll never know.
This started out as a brief post and kind of changed along the way. I guess I was trying to convey (at least to myself) that life is short. No more talking. It’s time to go Mountain Climbing!