Love, a breathtaking view, the laughter of a child, the simple wonder of nature and the world around you. These are some things that are truly fulfilling in life and can even provide spiritual moments and growth. They are also things that people like Donald Trump, Warren Buffet and Tiger Woods can not enjoy any more than you can even with all of their money. In fact, I would speculate that they might not enjoy these things very much because they pass them by since they are so intent on getting ahead and making money. Simple things in life are often the most fulfilling but many of us often miss out on these moments because we are too intent on IMPORTANT things. To find out what is really important to you, try this exercise:
- List everything that is important to you, as many as you want and don’t look ahead!
- Got it, good, now, cut that list in half and don’t look ahead!!
- OK, done? good, now cut it in half again.
I think you get the picture by now, keep cutting the list down until you are down to one thing. I know, it is really hard when you get down to just a few! My last two were health and family!! How do I take care of my family if I am not healthy and what does my health mean to me without my family. Tough choices but that last item is what is truly important to you and THAT should be the basis for everything you do in your life. Focusing on that one thing can prune away all of the distraction and noise that is causing you work furiously but feel like you are getting nowhere. This can lead you to a more balanced and fulfilled life. We are not taught these types of exercises in school (at least I wasn’t!). We are taught to “get a good job”, “make money”, “be productive”. Those things can be significant in ones life, but they really are secondary to what is truly important in your life. If my family is so important to me, then getting a good job and making money is important right? Yes, but first of all, to be the person I want to be for my family, I have to lead a fulfilled life. Secondly, when you get down to 4 or 6 items left, there are other items on there that will indicate to you other things you should consider. Maybe friends, maybe travel, maybe helping others, maybe even money! It is your list. But if you look back at those other items it will give you a good indication of what things you need to include in your life to be fulfilled and content. If you went through this exercise when you were 12, 15, 18 maybe you would not have known what was important to you but you would have at least thought about it. If you were basing your career on that thing or those things that are at the top of your list, would your career look different? Would your life look different?