Many people that I know seem to just go through life without much thought about the direction they are heading. They think about immediate things such as problems that come up or challenges, but they don’t take the time really determine what it is they want.
Sometimes this is because we just know. We have a solid foundation of what we want out of life and it is easy to stick to it.
I know quite a few mothers and fathers who put their family first so it is easy to go through life with their family as their main focus. It isn’t that they sat down and planned out how they will treat their family, but they just naturally feel the drive to always put the welfare of their family above anything else.
I know a few ambitious individuals who value money and career success above everything else and work hard to reach the heights that come with that success. They are always looking for ways to earn more money and take on new, powerful roles at work.
In either situation, knowing what is important is the key. They know what they value in life and work hard to pursue it.
But too often I come across a friend or family member who seemed to be doing great, following what is important to them, but then suddenly they realize they are on the wrong path.
They have achieved great success at work but feel emptiness. They sacrificed everything for the benefit of their family, but as they family ages and their children gain more freedom, they are left feeling as though something is missing now.
In these instances, it seems as though they were working through their life but he or she wasn’t an active participant, they simply went through the motions.
I was lucky in that I came across this difficult crossroad early in life. In my twenties I felt completely lost and alone and had to figure out what it was that I wanted out of life and then work hard to get there. Since then, I make sure to regularly evaluate my life and the direction I am heading to make sure it aligns with what is important to me.
But it doesn’t matter when someone reaches this point in his or her life. It just matters how they respond. Do they keep going through the motions because they don’t know any other way? Or do they become an active participant in their life, charting their own course and doing the work to realize their dreams and ambitions.
The best way to make sure you keep to what is important to you and not fall into a routine that doesn’t bring you what is important, is to develop a good idea of what is important to you and then take active steps to make sure you are doing the right things.
The systems and habits approach to improvement can be a great way to align what you do regularly with what is important to you.
We start to define those routines. We take the going through the motions and align that with what is ultimately important to us. This way we don’t move too far in one direction without it being a deliberate action by us.
This can help us become an active participant in our own lives. We can determine what is important and then align our daily thoughts and actions around those areas. This can help us stay on track and keep working with our head down but not get to a point where we suddenly look up and realize we went in the wrong direction.