How To Start Living The Life You’ve Always Wanted
“…he was indeed admirable. He might be gone. But at least he left the world pursuing his passion, truly living his life the way he wanted it to be.”
As I typed those words into a mobile text message to my friend, a tinge of sadness swept over me. I sighed heavily.
About a month ago, a national disaster happened to the peaceful tropical island that I live in. 5 passionate paddlers of the national dragon boat team were drowned when their boat capsized in an unfortunate accident. They were participating in a regional tournament in Cambodia. And one of them was my good friend’s ex-boyfriend.
When death happens to someone you know personally, the feeling is very surreal. The former nonchalance is replaced by a deep sense of regret. Which lingers no matter how hard you try to shake it aside. At the same time, your fundamental values and philosophies get challenged. You start wondering “What if it happens to me, can I steadfastly say the same thing of myself? That I also lived the life I wanted it to be? Or at least tried doing so?”.
I’m not sure if I would say that in the past. But now, my answer is a astounding “yes!”
What about you? Did you try living the life you wanted it to be too?
The Law of Cause & Effect
Trust me. If you try hard enough, keeping your sight firmly on the outcome you want to achieve, the power of the Law of Cause and Effect will help you along the way.
In his book, 21 Secrets of Self Made Millionaires, Brian Tracy tries to put this into context. He explains that in life, for every action, there is a reaction. That means, if you’ve consciously made a decision to live the life you wanted to, this action of saying “Yes” will trigger off a wave of reactions that will bring you closer to the result you so desire.
When I first graduated from college for example, I started off as an auditor in a local public accounting firm and would’ve continued where I was. If I didn’t make the conscious choice to switch into something that I was more fascinated with – financial systems. And if it wasn’t for my next job in the IT sector, I wouldn’t have got to know that business associate who introduced me to a popular book on personal financial management. Without reading that book, I don’t think I would have been inspired to learn more about personal development nor be inclined to start my own business. If not for all this, I wouldn’t be here writing professionally on Goal Setting College.
You see the connection?
It just took one small bold step of going after a job I’ve more interest in to spark off that domino sequence of events. That is the power of the law of Cause & Effect. Without the first step, there can never been a second. Without the second, there can never be the third. Indeed, I’m very grateful for that.
And if you’ve been contemplating to live the life you’ve always wanted but don’t know how you should go about doing so, here are 5 steps you can consider. I truly attest to these because they’re the same concepts which made my previous dream a current reality.
(1) Make a Conscious Decision & Say Yes
Before taking that first bold step, you’ll have consciously agree to live the life you wanted. Because if you don’t, you’re simply deluding yourself and wasting precious time drafting goal plans, creating vision boards only to find yourself scramming back where you started from when the situation calls for a confident jump.
It happened to a friend of mine. She was always telling me that she wanted to go into real estate and be a high flying property agent. She had even taken courses and signed up for related memberships. But when she couldn’t find time to take client’s calls during her full time job’s office hours, she decided to just quit the part-time jig. Well, it seemed that I was the only one convinced that she had made the decision. The more important person didn’t.
(2) Think of The Final Effect
What is it that you’ve wanted so badly that you’ll do anything to achieve it? Yes, anything. Including giving your precious time and energy to learning it, fine tuning it and eventually mastering it?
Many people will go for wealth. And they usually end up spending half of their lifetimes slogging hard for the money. Sticking to a job they didn’t like but paid well. Dabbling in all kinds of money making schemes only to give up when they realize they actually require a lot of work.
But ask yourself, would you regret not spending enough time earning another extra dollar on your death bed? Or would you relive not pursuing your dreams, treasuring the wonderful times with your partner, family and friends? You’ll probably go for the latter, won’t you? But if these things are so important that we’ll regret not doing it at the last moment before we die, why is it that we don’t pay them due attention now?
Well, it could be that we’ve taken them for granted after all. My good friend told me that after her ex boyfriend’s death, she would cry every time she heard a particular song. The lyrics reminded her of the fact that she didn’t treasure him when they were together. Don’t let that happen to you.
Fast forward to the day that you’re lying in your coffin and your best friend’s reading your eulogy to the congregation attending your funeral. What will you like it to contain? That is the final effect you want to achieve. That is the life you want to lead. And the legacy you want to leave behind.
To help you with this exercise, take a look at how mine would be :
You heard the howling wind? It must be her, Ellesse. It was just like her to stay around you and create a racket when everything seemed so solemn and dull. Yesterday, she was just around us, sharing her years of accomplished dreams and achievements. And today, she’s gone. Not literally. Because we know she lives in our hearts. Always encouraging us. Always inspiring us.
Yes, that’s the Ellesse we know.
Back in year 2007, when everyone’s chasing what others have set for them, Ellesse chose to defy convention and left the corporate world doing what she loved. We were shocked. But we gave her our blessings, knowing right from the start that Ellesse wouldn’t act without careful deliberation. Indeed, we were proven correct.
Over the years in which she had followed her heart, she was very successful in her chosen career, helping many more others achieve their dreams and lead the life they’ve wanted, than she had ever imagined. She also made many astute investment calls, owning one of the best managed investment portfolio among our peers. Despite her ailing age, Ellesse never lost her youth at heart. She traveled around the world, brought cheer to people around her and contributed back to her community as much as, if not more than what she had benefited from.
Thank you. We thank you on behalf of Ellesse for coming. Because we know she would say the same.
Yeah, that’s Ellesse alright. Always so grateful for whatever little she had. We will always remember her. Her cheerful personality, her vibrant smile and her wonderful legacy.
(3) Hold That Intention & Develop It
Rome is not built in one day. Dreams aren’t too. Keeping in mind the type of life you’ll like to lead after you’re identified your “Final Effect”, expand it in the form of a working movie. The more intricate it is, the closer to reality it gets.
Conjure images relating to different aspects of the physical scene you’re looking at and slowly add sounds, fragrances, colours and as many people as you like. Think of how you’ll fare in different dimensions of your life by then :
- Health & Fitness – Do you work out on a regular basis? Are you physically fit?
- Mental Wellbeing – Are you satisfied with your overall self image & your life?
- Emotional Condition – Do you in control of your emotions?
- Physical Attractiveness – How do you look? Suave? Elegant?
- Human Relationships – Are you spending quality time with your family? How’s your relationship with your spouse?
- Living Environment – Where are you staying then?
- Social Activeness – Do you have time for your friends? Do you participate in fun activities?
- Spiritual Happiness – Do you seek nourishment from your divine spiritual self?
- Career Development – Are you doing what you love?
- Financial Wealth – How’s your retirement planning coming along?
Hold that intention and let the images settle. Close your eyes and breathe in deeply.
(4) Determine What You Can Do Now
It’s easy to be caught up dreaming too much that you forget about action. That’s where goal setting comes in. Once you have a clearer picture of your destination, dive in straight to constructing your goals. If you need some help with this, feel free to download my free exclusive tutorial and start working towards your 1 year goals.
Goal setting helps you to put a seemingly distant dream into a concrete blueprint. And as you’re working through the goal plan, you’ll start seeing the law of the cause & effect in action, gradually evolving to impact the various dimensions you’ve intended the changes in and move you closer to the life you’ve always wanted to lead.
(5) Be Scared, Be Terrified But Do It Anyway
While working through your goal plan, it’s very likely you’ll experience periods of fear and anguish. Instead of questioning and bashing yourself for being such a weakling, bear in mind that it’s perfectly normal to feel scared and terrified. Rant to a friend about it. Go for a spin. Drink some booze. But once you’re done, keep your sight focused on what you should do. And do it anyway.
When I told my last boss – who was based overseas – I was resigning for example, I actually incubated the courage for almost a month before I astutely told him over the phone. A seemingly simple act of saying “I’m quitting” can actually ignite such fear in me. Silly, isn’t it?
Luckily, my fear of missing out on my dream was much greater than that. I did it. And here I am, writing and signing off this article now.
Phew, what a close shave!
** Photo by *Zara