Begin with the End in Mind
Green Light: Drive
Many people live day to day without any direction. They do not focus on short nor long-term goals and thus, drive down meaningless roads. They become lost on the highway without the right maps to guide them. We can drive endlessly without any direction or we can choose the road trip that will one day lead us to the right destination. During life’s long trip, we often get tangled between the ideas of efficient versus effective outcomes.
Efficiency can become the gift that grants us the ability to complete the maximum amount contained within the shortest amount of time. However, let us pause to ponder the point of efficiency if one does not understand why we are doing what needs to be carried upon. When we do not have a clear grasp of the importance in our daily lives, we become blind even in the lightest of day. This becomes comparable to climbing a ladder only to reach the top of an unknown, unwanted destination; even worse, your ladder may not align up against the right wall. It is time for us to climb this ladder with purpose and direction.
Everyone has a ladder. Speaking figuratively of course… unless you have some work around the house to do so. Some will choose never to climb this ladder (those who chooses to live within a bubble) and then there are the unique few who continue to climb and eventually soar. These unique individuals gather great height from this ladder. We all strive to move in an upward direction. Imagine how it would feel if you climbed half-way only to realize that your ladder was not long enough to take you to the top. Therefore, you would go back down this ladder to start building an extension for the climb up. Once at the top of this newly constructed ladder, you unfortunately realized that this is not what you thought it would be. How would it feel to spend years crafting your extravagant ladder only to figure out that this was not where you wanted to be? This is what commonly happens when we settle and rush into the simplicity of life (believing in efficiency) versus aiming for meaningful dreams (aiming for effectiveness).
Anyone can set a goal; however, effective goals are built whole-heartedly to benefit not only the present but our future. In order to be effective, we must have the long-term goals in mind. To execute this, we should contemplate for as many short-term goals needed in order to reach our long-term goals. Consider short-term goals as small steps on the ladder. As you complete each short-term goal, you reach closer and closer to the top.
It is imminent that you will fail more than a dozen times on your way towards the finish line. Do not perceive failure as a reason to ever quit. When you stumble upon a mistake, take it as a lesson, and apply it moving forward so it does not ever occur again. There is nothing wrong with failing. You simply didn’t know any better at the time, and now you have an idea of what NOT to do. As you move forward on your journey, make sure to trust your instincts. Once you begin to feel something as not quite right, immediately trust your instincts; turn away, jog, or sprint away as fast as you can. Once again, there is nothing wrong with failing; however, failing the exact way you failed the first time is a big no-no. When you fail; fail forward.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me.”
Being on the right ladder does not mean it will be an easy climb. Even though you are on the right ladder, there will be moments where you will encounter wobbly, missed steps. Just because you are on your right ladder does not always mean that you are safe above the high grounds. As you climb higher and higher, you will be at increased risk of falling. It is during these times that you may encounter notions of quitting. Whether you let distraction effect you or not will determine if you will rise or fall.
“A tiger does not lose sleep over the opinion of a sheep.” — Shahir Zag
In order to decipher what becomes important to us, we have to think about what we want others to say at our funeral. Inevitably, we will all pass away; some sooner than other (unless you’re a vampire). With this thought in mind, our cognitive wheels start burning out then launches off the starting line. What sort of person do you want others to remember you by? Are you only contemplating on helping yourself and your family, or do you desire leaving the world a better place for generations to come? The footprint you leave behind must begin with the end in mind.
Alright, let’s get down to business. How DO you begin climbing in the right direction and towards meaningful goals? Here are the top 5 questions we must ask ourselves:
- Did someone else pick this ladder or did you choose it?
Pause for a second and rewind to the moments of when you were growing up. Remember that dream career we all desired as children? What did you want to be when you grew up? Are these goals what you are working towards or are at today? If you are not doing what life intended you to, what made you hinder these dreams? What is your calling?
Other pertinent questions we need to ask ourselves involve lifestyle choices. Did you pick the lifestyle you are currently living or did someone select it for you? Growing up, our family, friends, and society become large factors on impacting and even diverting our passions and goals. We can be easily brainwashed to do what others have in store for us. We must continue to know what we need and must do; it is never too late. You may have spent your lifetime so far living someone else’s dream. Now is the opportunity to stop riding shotgun and take control of the driver seat. Now is the time to put the pedal to the metal. Do not think it is ever too late to make your dream a spectacular reality. Climbing with purpose will align you with destiny.
Stop doing what others want you to do; do what you want to do.
2. Would you be on this ladder if you found out half-ways that are there numerous others at the top of your ladder?
Before you begin your journey, you have to force yourself to be content with knowing that there are others ahead of you in the game. You have to face the fact that there are going to be others who have already completed the race. Stop racing against others and begin the challenge within yourself. Do not let a single soul discourage you from doing what you ultimately need to carry out. Do it for yourself and don’t let anything or anyway sway you away from your mission. You should be the only contestant in your race. Although you may feel as the underdog, this position does not last for long. The advantage of the underdog is that you can closely watch others and their next move. Learn from of these achievers and start applying what becomes beneficial to your goals. Stay positive and you can be the top dog in the future. One day, other underdogs will look up to your success. You will then be forced to stay innovative to keep your crown.
“It takes half your life before you discover life is a do-it-yourself project.” — Napoleon Hill
3. As you climb farther on this ladder, are others telling you that this is a waste of time?
Naysayers. There are two categories of naysayers. The first type of naysayers are individuals who have a purpose to help you. These people may not be as open minded as you or they have experienced negative events. Therefore, they try to cease you from moving forward. Keep in mind that there is one thing we all must not forget. Not all feedback becomes helpful and not all advice becomes positive. We have to remember that although others have experienced failures, this does not mean you will experience a similar fate. Take into consideration what these naysayers point out and the situation that lead them to failure. Turn their negative attitudes into positive resources; apply what you have learned to your own lives and avoid the pitfalls throughout your journey.
The second type of naysayers are those who inquire you to do good but not be at your best; simply put, they wish to ahead of you in the game. These individuals enjoy eating their young, don’t let them get a piece of you. These naysayers tend to be in bitter situations. It is the classic negative mentality of misery wanting company. Since they could not achieve their goals, they don’t want it for you. Initially, they may attempt to tell you that are goals are impossible, difficult, or whatever BS they conquer up. Use their negativity as your fuel towards success. Listen to them and then feel pity for them. There is no better feeling than success by going against the odds. Hustle and grind until your haters come crawling for employment with you.
“The best revenge is massive success.” -Frank Sinatra
4. Do you feel content as you climb this ladder?
As you progress with each step forward, you should feel contentment not resentment. What happens when you have finally stepped out of your comfort zone only to realize you were working towards a mistaken schedule? Have you been enrolled in the wrong classes these entire times? You begin to notice that all these new experiences were truly where you belonged. The bubble that you once thought was your safe world has burst. When going through stressful encounters, remember to keep in mind that liberating moment when you stepped out of your comfort zone.
5. Are there people at the bottom of your ladder holding the bases for you?
As you are making your way towards the top, remember to cautiously look down. Take a closer look to remind you of the ones holding the bases for you. These are the people that you want into remain in your life. They were there and will continue to be available for you during your success and struggles. Be weary of the new “friends” you encounter at the finish line. These are the characters that are there for you during good times and disappear when you need them the most. Never forget those who have supported your journey; they will continue to steer you in the right direction even when Siri has failed you. In good karma, be there for them, hold their bases, and catch their falls when they start their personal journey. Take care of those who take care of you.
“Fake friends are like shadows: always near you at your brightest moments, but nowhere to be seen at your darkest hour. True friends are like stars, you don’t always see them but they are always there.”― Habeeb Akande
Your answers to these questions will determine if you are climbing a ladder placed against the correct wall. If you find yourself climbing the wrong ladder, do not worry my friend. Safely climb back down and continue to find the right ladder and wall to venture up. There are many individuals who have climbed the wrong ladder to find themselves at the top disappointed and miserable for the rest of their lives.
Remember that you must be effective (meaningful goals and missions) before you can be efficient (paramount amount of work completed within the shortest amount of time). It is never too late to start over and most importantly, starting over towards the right direction if you have found yourself on the wrong ladder. Before you initiate your car down that highway, always remember to begin with the end in mind. No one will care more about you than yourself. It is time to take control of your fate and live your purposeful life the right way, the effective and efficient way, and your way. Seek to live the livelong day with absolute and affirmative focus.
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All the illustrations featured was made by Philee Design.