This is the biggy. People don’t usually start thinking about this until they’re in their thirties. I wouldn’t say this is too late as often people need that time to work some things out before they ask themselves this, however – it can never hurt to start considering this sooner rather than later.
There’s so much to think about here. It’s probably worth a mind-dump to start. So, what do you want? Well, like most people you might want a wife and kids. You might want a house. You might want a big house! You might want close friends and the admiration of your peers. You might want to feel powerful or to be creative. You might want to feel free or even secure. You might want a lot of things – and that is okay. All things in good time.
But we do need to be clear about one thing first: these things do not come freely. And we would be foolish to think otherwise. Nothing infuriates me more than phrases like “the power of positive thinking”, or “I asked the universe for X”. Believe me, you have no time to waste; your life will go fast if you let it and the universe frankly doesn’t give a damn whether you achieve your goals or not. This really is up to you.
Step 1: Set Your Intentions
Recall my first rant of this blog where I took down the power of positive thinking? We are sticking by this. We are not ‘wishing’ for anything. We’re focusing. You are focusing on your goal with laser-precision. That beam is so focused it’s burning a fucking hole in your dream. The picture of your perfect house and perfect life and perfect wife is catching on fire, you are so damn determined.
Setting your intention means to know why you are doing what you are doing; and it’s to remain perfectly hungry and vigilant towards taking the necessary practical steps in order to achieve it. It’s worth working for. It’s worth getting battered and bruised along the way for. You need to know you’re going to do this and you’re going to accept your challenges with open arms and gritted teeth. They are coming for you.
Step 2: Meet Stress, Your New Best Friend
The purpose of your life is not to avoid stress; it is to develop and grow from a child into a man. Stress is your new best friend; make friends with the enemy. You should feel stressed! This is worth fighting for. This will not materialise out of thin air; you will earn and build this with your own bare hands.
Do not shy from thing which concern you. It is scary and you’re going to take risks. Stress is a necessary part of life and it usually tells us that your doing something which matters greatly to you. Be grateful for the opportunity to contend with something challenging. You will come out the other side a wiser person; possibly stronger. either way – you will be one hurdle further along than you have ever been before.
Stress is no longer your enemy; stress is welcome as your new best friend.
Step 3: You Should Be Scared
Okay great – we have our mission. We know what we want and we are determined to go and get it. However, life isn’t as simple as that. How many plans have failed before? Did you ever work hard enough to get that six pack? Did you ever reach your full potential at work? No – course not. We got lazy! We got way-laid. We got scared and we got lost. We returned to our habitual living patterns. We came passive and before we knew it; we’re back at square one. We are human! We should not feel shame for this. But we should evaluate it. We should learn from it. And we should push forward again with more wisdom and vigour than ever before.
What did we do wrong? Maybe we forgot how fucking awful it would be if we actually just stayed still. Consider those dreams slipping through your fingers and your life slipping away. What if we did not stop and think about how much we might hate our lives and hate ourselves if we became derailed from our goals. It’s worth remembering this pain and using it as your greatest ally for the foreseeable.
You have your goal dangling in front of you like the most delicious carrot; you have anxiety creeping behind you like Pennywise himself. You’re going to fucking move, and I bet I can guess in which direction. Perfect. This is exactly where you want to be. You are motivated by both reward and fear. You are exactly where you need to be. Stay here. Remind yourself constantly. You should be afraid! It is coming for you, and it will steal your soul if you give it half a chance. Move forward.
Step 4: Strategize
A goal without a plan is merely a dream. And dreams simply will not do. We are not here to dawdle. You have a life to lead and children to raise. A wife to impress and a career to progress. You are no exception to the rule “Time waits for no man”. You should spend your time more wisely than your income. 1,000 times more wisely. For you cannot get it back and you have already squandered so much. In the immortal words of Matt Bellamy: “Don’t waste your time or time will waste you”.
So, what’s your plan? What do you need and what are your goals? How are you literally going to get there? Do you have the tools you need to begin? Have you set up the necessary structures? Have you learned all the things you need to learn to get started? You need to do that first. It will make your abstract goal surmountable. It suddenly is no longer: “I want a big house with a beautiful wife and 5 children”, it’s “given I have no savings, my job doesn’t pay well, and I have already exhausted the bank of mm and dad – how did I ever think I was going to get that mortgage? And what do I need to do now to actually step towards it?”.
Pennywise is lurking and that carrot is still no closer than it was yesteryear. Think! Draw it out. Draw a map. Show a friend. Find its holes. Fix them and work on it. Step by step, day by day – come ever closer to the goal you need.
Step 5: Actualise
Finally, a wishy-washy word we can get behind. Actualise does not mean ‘manifest’. We are not manifesting our dreams through the good will of the universe or the charity of the Gods. We are becoming. And we are doing it off of our own backs. Sure, we might be lucky and win big on some game show or lottery win; but I certainly wouldn’t count on it. We’re going to work for ours, because we know damn well what will happen if we don’t try. We have walked that pathway too many times before.
Live it, breathe it, think it, become it. Nietzsche said: “All great men are play actors of their own ideal”. That means you have to become it first, before it will be your reality. You have to embody and present people with it. It needs to be you. You need to practice.