In life, it’s important for us to have a clear vision; of who we want to be and the kind of life we want to lead. What does the ideal life look like for us? If we were an author writing a story about our dream character who lives the most amazing life and is admirable in every way possible, what and who would that look like? How can we manifest that vision in ourselves and our own lives? If we can figure out that vision, we can work backwards from that goal, and figure out the baby steps necessary to “conquer that mountain”.
You’ve got to decide what you want, otherwise forces outside of you will decide for you. And if/when this happens, you’re in trouble. Your mother or father’s opinion, or your professor, or your favourite aunty, or your mentor, or your teachers, or the status quo—whatever influences you—never has the right answer. Only you can hit the bulls eye for your life—don’t let them throw your darts for you.
Your vision illuminates the path that you need to follow. Vision is everything. Vision is the pep in your step. It’s your reason why. It’ll be your reason for waking up in the morning. It’ll be the foundation and fuel for everything to come. Vision really, is what you want and how you can make it happen. Barbara Marx Hubbard once wrote, “Without vision, people perish. With vision, people flourish.”
And a brief note: you want your vision to be as genuine and true as possible. If you’re wanting a Benz or an Audi, you need to ask yourself why. Is it for happiness? Will that make you genuinely and truly happy? If you’re wanting to start a business, what for? What’s your purpose? If you want to be a writer, why do you want to be a writer?
Self-awareness is key. You’ll never figure out your vision unless you figure out yourself. Who are you? What are your core values? What are your strengths? What sets you on fire? If you had three hours to do anything, what would you spend your time doing? What profession makes you go, ‘Yeah, I’d like to do that for the rest of my life.’ What are your goals and dreams? What kind of difference do you want to make in the world?
You’re never going to crystallize your vision with the first attempt. It’s an ever-evolving process. Getting a rough idea of what you want is the first place to start. From there, just go. Don’t wait too long. Just go, my friend. As you evolve as a human being, your vision evolves as well. But, you must start somewhere. A rough draft is better than no draft.
The question then becomes, do we follow the money, or do we follow our bliss? I’ve had numerous adults tell me to go into this field of work because it offers good money and there’s job security and a whole bunch of other facets of a career that comforts conventional society into believing that that is a “good life”. But what about passion? I want to feel alive when I work, I don’t want to constantly numb my humanity so I can fulfill my obligations. Of course, it’s a give and take sometimes. But, if I can figure out my passion, and devise a plan so I can spend my entire life living through and supporting myself through that passion, well, why not? It’s a scary path most definitely, because often times, it goes against everything we know. It may be unconventional sometimes. It may not. It may be clear to us, it may not. It may turn out successful, it may not. But, when it comes to it, do we follow the money or follow our passion?
Joseph Campbell says to follow your bliss. Never follow the money. If you follow the money, there’s no guarantee you’ll be happy. But if you follow your bliss, even if you don’t make money, you’ll at least have your bliss. I can vouch for that. Alan Watts says this too:
“What do you desire? What makes you itch? What sort of situation would you like? I do this often in vocational guidance of students. They come to me and say: “Well, um, we’re getting out of college and we haven’t the faintest idea what we want to do.” So I always ask the question: What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life? It’s so amazing, the result of our educational system, that crowds of students say: “Well, we’d like to be painters,” “We’d like to be poets,” “We’d like to be writers,” “I’d like to live an outdoors life and ride horses,”—”But everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way!” When we finally get down to something which the individual says they really want to do, I will say to them … You do that. And forget the money. Because if you say that getting money is the most important thing … you will spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living. That is, to go on doing things you don’t like doing. Which is stupid! Better to have a short life that is full of what you like doing than a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like what you’re doing, it doesn’t matter what it is … you can eventually become a master of it. The only way to become a master of something is to be really ‘with it’. And then you’ll be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. Therefore, it is so important to consider this question: “What do I desire?”
Following your bliss and being simultaneously successful is entirely possible. It just takes hard work and the willingness to make it happen. It’s up to you to devise the plan. It’s up to you to piece together the puzzle. It’s up to you to create your ‘success’. It’s up to you to figure out the way. There exists no code you must follow.
Three things that are a good idea to factor into your plan:
1) Something you’re passionate about.
2) Something you’re real good at
3) Something that contributes back to the world.
Steve Pavlina says work needs to have passion and you need to make money off of it. One without the other is either a hobby or a headache. I add in a third, because it’s only through contributing to the greater good do we truly feel fulfilled in all our efforts.
Two questions to ponder on to help you clarify your vision: what do you want out of life, and what can you offer the world that no one else can?
Christopher Tan is a writer at his blog The Art Of Life where he explores the human condition and what it means to live and live well. He also makes films on YouTube. Connect with him on Twitter.
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.
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