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Posts Tagged ‘chipping away at life’

Success is more than economic gains, titles, and degrees. Planning for success is about mapping out all the aspects of your life. Similar to a map, you need to define the following details: origin, destination, vehicle, backpack, landmarks, and route.

Origin:  Who you are

A map has a starting point. Your origin is who you are right now. Most people when asked to introduce themselves would say, “Hi, I’m Jean and I am a 17-year old, senior highschool student.” It does not tell you about who Jean is; it only tells you her present preoccupation. To gain insights about yourself, you need to look closely at your beliefs, values, and principles aside from your economic, professional, cultural, and civil status. Moreover, you can also reflect on your experiences to give you insights on your good and not-so-good traits, skills, knowledge, strengths, and weaknesses. Upon introspection, Jean realized that she was highly motivated, generous, service-oriented, but impatient. Her inclination was in the biological-medical field. Furthermore, she believed that life must serve a purpose, and that wars were destructive to human dignity.

Destination: A vision of who you want to be

“Who do want to be?” this is your vision. Now it is important that you know yourself so that you would have a clearer idea of who you want to be; and the things you want to change whether they are attitudes, habits, or points of view. If you hardly know yourself, then your vision and targets for the future would also be unclear. Your destination should cover all the aspects of your being: the physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. Continuing Jean’s story, after she defined her beliefs, values, and principles in life, she decided that she wanted to have a life dedicated in serving her fellowmen.

Vehicle: Your Mission

A vehicle is the means by which you can reach your destination. It can be analogized to your mission or vocation in life. To a great extent, your mission would depend on what you know about yourself. Bases on Jean’s self-assessment, she decided that she was suited to become a doctor, and that she wanted to become one. Her chosen vocation was a medical doctor. Describing her vision-mission fully: it was to live a life dedicated to serving her fellowmen as a doctor in conflict-areas.

Travel Bag: Your knowledge, skills, and attitude

Food, drinks, medicines, and other travelling necessities are contained in a bag. Applying this concept to your life map, you also bring with you certain knowledge, skills, and attitudes. These determine your competence and help you in attaining your vision. Given such, there is a need for you to assess what knowledge, skills, and attitudes you have at present and what you need to gain along the way. This two-fold assessment will give you insights on your landmarks or measures of success. Jean realized that she needed to gain professional knowledge and skills on medicine so that she could become a doctor. She knew that she was a bit impatient with people so she realized that this was something she wanted to change.

Landmarks and Route: S.M.A.R.T. objectives

Landmarks confirm if you are on the right track while the route determines the travel time. Thus, in planning out your life, you also need to have landmarks and a route. These landmarks are your measures of success. These measures must be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time bound. Thus you cannot set two major landmarks such as earning a master’s degree and a doctorate degree within a period of three years, since the minimum number of years to complete a master’s degree is two years. Going back to Jean as an example, she identified the following landmarks in her life map: completing a bachelor’s degree in biology by the age of 21; completing medicine by the age of 27; earning her specialization in infectious diseases by the age of 30; getting deployed in local public hospitals of their town by the age of 32; and serving as doctor in war-torn areas by the age of 35.

Anticipate Turns, Detours, and Potholes

The purpose of your life map is to minimize hasty and spur-of-the-moment decisions that can make you lose your way. But oftentimes our plans are modified along the way due to some inconveniences, delays, and other situations beyond our control. Like in any path, there are turns, detours, and potholes thus; we must anticipate them and adjust accordingly.

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“Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).

bird-lizardThere are many things at work to keep us from completing our life-missions. Over the years, I’ve debated whether the worst enemy is procrastination or discouragement. If you put off our life missions then it is Procrastination, however if you work towards you life’s mission you will find obstacles that will get in your way that creates discouragement. For most people the fight for what they want is harder than they expect so they will quit altogether. Which is worst not trying or trying and giving up? I believe not trying; I would rather try and not accomplish what I want than to never ever try at all. I never want to ask the question, “What if i had tried, would I get what  I want?”

The apostle Paul teaches that we need to resist discouragement: “So don’t get tired of doing what is good. Don’t get discouraged and give up” (Galatians 6:9 NLT).

Do you ever get tired of trying? I think we all do. Sometimes it seems easier to nothing thing than try for the things you so desire.

When we’re discouraged, we become ineffective. When we’re discouraged, we work against our own belief, faith and desires. Our mind is so powerful if you think you can’t you can’t, if you think you can you can, either way you are going to be right.

Ask yourself these questions:

• How do I handle failure?
• When things don’t go my way, do I get grumpy?
• When things don’t go my way, do I get frustrated?
• When things don’t go my way, do I start complaining?
• Do I finish what I start?
• How would I rate on persistence?

If you’re discouraged, don’t give up without a fight. Nothing worthwhile ever happens without endurance and energy. If it was easy everyone would have the desires they want. I believe that the reason for the fight is to teach us the value of what we just achieved. Without value there is no appreciation of what it took to accomplish the things you so desire.

When an artist starts to create a sculpture, he has to keep chipping away. He doesn’t hit the chisel with the hammer once, and suddenly all the excess stone falls away revealing a beautiful masterpiece. He keeps hitting it and hitting it, chipping away at the stone.

And that’s true of life; you have to keep chipping away on the things you so desire. Nothing really worthwhile ever comes easy in life. You keep hitting it and going after it, and little-by-little you will master the task.

The fact is, great people are really just ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of determination. Great people don’t know how to quit.

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