Personal Mission Statement

I’ve had the idea of writing a Personal Mission Statement ever since I saw The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty in the theaters in early 2014. I really enjoyed that movie (so much so that I actually saw it twice on the big screen). Not only did I like the uplifting story of a man travelling the world to find something but I was also very attracted to the Mission Statement of Life Magazine presented in the movie:

To see the world, things dangerous to come, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of Life.

I like this statement because it opens with “To see the world” which is something I, in a limited measure, try to accomplish as well. Queue my (old) post about travelling.

But anyways, I’ve been thinking about Personal Mission Statements and, more especially, about writing my own since I’ve been reading The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Most people have at least heard of this book, if not read it themselves. I, of course, have the 1990 “First Fireside Edition” meaning the book is actually older than me but nevermind. My dad was the one to suggest I read this book while I was looking through our bookshelves before I moved to Sweden (I obviously thought I would get around to reading it a little earlier than a year later but hey).

I’m reading it slowly and carefully (as some books should) so I’m only on habit 3 now (of 7 then, for those just joining in) but I’m definitely getting a lot out of my read. It’s probably one of the books I’ve taken the most notes about so far, excluding the Bible.

This book is objectively good (it sold over 25 million copies worldwide, so it must at least resonate with some people). However so far I haven’t felt like I’ve had any “aha” moments with this book. Maybe I am already a very effective person (debatable) or at least I think a certain way that really goes along the same lines as the book. But I guess it’s also somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy: those who end up reading the book are probably the kind of people who already agree with the principles and habits laid out in the book.

For example, Habit 1 is “Be proactive” in opposition to being reactive. So for example by taking initiative and putting yourself in the right situation, not waiting for things to happen and to complain when they don’t. I feel like I’ve always had that mindset, I really dislike it when people are just complaining about a situation they clearly have some influence on. (In the book it’s called working within your “Circle of influence” rather than your “Circle of concern”). I’ve just never understood why people think like that, which brings me to what the main lesson from the book has been for me so far: understanding how some people think through the examples the author gives about how people usually think vs. how people “should” think (to be effective, that is. I mean, if you don’t want to be effective, then definitely don’t read the book).

Habit 2 is “Begin with the End in Mind”, the main idea being that you should think about what kind of legacy you want to leave behind: on the world, within your family, at work, etc. which is also something I think about often, “What’s the goal, where am I going with this?”. These are definitely questions to ask yourself. Habit 2 is also where he lays the idea of your life being centered around a set of principles, which he argues should be written in the form of a Personal Mission Statement. In a sense I already do that by centering my life on God and the principles laid out in the Bible. But nevertheless I’ve now decided to actually condense the principles that I (want to) live by into a Personal Mission Statement.

Full disclosure: I haven’t actually written one yet (I know, disappointing, especially if you’ve read this far) but I did start writing one in 2014 after I heard the one from the movie:

To love God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind, to speak the truth, to love others as I love myself, to serve, to be open, to learn first, teach second and to see the world.

This is definitely a work in progress (I even modified it a little already from the note I took back in 2014) and I’ll definitely come back to it. Wether or not I end up publishing it or not we’ll see (it’s only been what, 10? months since my last post, so be patient).

This post was also made because a friend of mine has reminded me that I have a “a blog you never write in” so this is to prove her wrong. My girlfriend also said that she likes to hear what I think about and how about I think about things so I thought this could be nice. I’ll try to be more consistent in the future, I actually realized I still have a draft saved from 9 months ago so I’ll start by completing that one and going from there.

What I’m listening to at the moment:

2016 — Pierre Le Noan

Here is really cool photo of Stockholm I took the other day as well:

Sunset view from Gamla Stan — iPhone panorama funtion