For a long time now i’ve been trying to see, or rather, visualize myself in the future but i have been unable to do so. Not in my work nor in my personal life. It’s impossible of course to know how things will turn out in 1 year’s time let alone in 20 or 30 years. However, not knowing where and how i want to be at that time affects my actions today. I often get caught up in the routine and details of daily life, which however enjoyable or not they might be, they can be unimportant none the less to what i ultimately value. This is something that i’ve been mulling over often lately.
I am reading Stephen R.Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It’s a self help book which is not a genre of books i am usually interested in. In fact, this is the first ever such book i am reading. I am doing so at the same time as a friend of mine and we are exchanging views and ideas on it.
I just finished Habit 2 which is called, Begin With The End In Mind, and it has struck a chord with me because i’ve never managed to do it. Not in the long run and not for more than specific events in life, such as my professional qualification period.
Covey offers a method to do so, which although sounds extremely cheesy and a very “American” way of thinking, it makes sense to me.
“The most effective way i know to begin with the end in mind is to develop a personal mission statement or philosophy or creed. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values and principles upon which being and doing are based.”
Covey also presents an example of how one can get lost in the wrong approach in life.
“Suppose, for example, that i am highly overreactive to my children. Suppose that whenever they begin to do something i feel is inappropriate, i sense an immediate tensing in the pit of my stomach. I feel defensive walls go up; I prepare for battle. My focus is not on the longer term growth and understanding but on the short-term behaviour. I am trying to win the battle, not the war.”
This is how i approach many aspects of my life. I am trying to win individual battles but not the wars. Whether these wars relate to my work, leisure, love life, relationships with family and friends, character development or contributions to the world i live in.
I know all these sound cheesy, in a throw up kind of way, but i think that writing down a personal mission statement can help you see the end. Which is why i have already started drafting mine.