The Ideal Life Exercise
Every once in a while I stumble upon a great eye-opening exercise. This one is perfect for anyone wanting to get clarity on their life. If you have 30 minutes, a piece of paper and a pen, you’re good to go. This is a one-time exercise or you can repeat it every couple of months to reinforce and remind yourself where you’re going.
Why is it so important to have a clear vision for your life?
If you don’t, then you could unwittingly live out someone else’s dreams for you instead of your own. Yuck.
Many of us struggle when it comes to clarifying our vision of the perfect life. We may ‘see’ snippets, ‘feel’ bits and pieces, but putting it all together, ugh, that’s hard! If I were to ask you what your perfect life would be like, you’d probably give me a partial picture because it’s not even clear in your own mind.
Well, imagine you’re driving a car, and you have no clear destination. You’re headed generally sort of more or less toward something that you think would be a cool experience, but unless you know exactly where you’re going, you’re not likely to get to that exact spot and have that experience. That’s not to say you won’t stumble upon something awesome, but that’s not guaranteed either. You could aimlessly drive past boring strip malls and greasy burger joints when you’re really looking for that perfect hole-in-the-wall diner with the most amazing fajitas!
You Have to Write It Down: That's Your Map
There is something extraordinarily powerful about writing down your goals. It gives them substance and makes them real. It puts them in front of your eyes, as a declaration of “this is what I want!”
But if you don’t know what to write, you might end up “ordering” the wrong thing from the menu of life. It’s like wanting a specific flavor of soup, but just ordering “soup.” You might get some creamy cheesy disaster when you were really craving a refreshing broth.
(Can you tell, I’m writing this as my stomach is oh so delicately reminding me that it’s lunch time?)
Anyway. I digress. Let’s get to the exercise:
My Ideal Life Exercise
Do this exercise in a positive frame of mind (so that any negativity won’t cloud the results).
Start writing about what you don’t want. Most of us are crystal clear on what we want to get rid of in our lives so start stream-of-consciousness writing about what you don’t want. The beautiful thing is, from that place of “I do not want this” will come “I want this.” Just write, and let things evolve in your mind as you put pen to paper and spill your heart. For example, here’s a real life example that a friend of mine wrote:
“I don’t want to work this stressful mind-numbing job anymore. I don’t want to waste my life doing something that doesn’t fulfill me. Yeah the money is decent but the money isn’t worth feeling that my talents are being wasted. I don’t want to commute for an hour each way anymore for this BS job. I want to to spend more time with my kids and wife! I want to ride my mountain bike more. I want to tinker on my bike and take more trips to Moab. That’s fun. I would love to ride more and work on my bikes all day long. I would enjoy owning my own bicycle repair shop. Then I could spend my time on what I love to do!….”
Do you see how thinking about what isn’t wanted quickly turned to thoughts about what is wanted? Of course this is just the first few sentences. His exercise goes on and on until his perfect life is clearly outlined right there before his eyes.
That magical transformation will happen for you too. As one enticing idea gives rise to another, they will all coalesce into a beautiful vision of the perfect life.
Have some fun with this. You will see that your spontaneous mental ramblings can be profoundly revealing! If you let yourself spill your heart without any “what if I can’t?” or “what if that’s not?” negativity, then you will quickly develop a much clearer picture of what you do want.
And then, you can easily fill in the details.
We all want amazing lives. We all want to achieve great things (I know that you do, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this!).
When you focus on what you want, instead of what you don’t want, you actually PRIME your brain for success. You activate your Reticular Activating System, or RAS, to hunt down anything relevant to creating the life you are focused on. Once it’s “on your radar” you will feel happy and energized and it will be a joy to take action on your goals.
You can use MindPT to clarify your perfect life vision, too, and reinforce it in your mind! Customize any MindPT session with images of yourself and things/experiences/situations you want in your life, along with positive statements. Watch the session every day, for just minutes, to activate its priming effect.
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