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What Do You Really Want Out of Life?

3/3/2012 8:37:00 AM

Tags: self help, creating love, loving life, finding happiness, creating goals, reaching goals, creating success, success, Dan Chiras

It is your decision to choose the path you want 

The longest journey begins with a single step, to paraphrase Lao-Tzu, founder of Taoism. 

Of course, that's one of the secrets of living a happy, fulfilling and highly successful life. Get out of your Lazy Boy rocker-recliner and get going.   

Start your journey now.  

Take one step today. Then take another tomorrow and another the next day. Before you know it, you’ve achieved your goals. 

This advice pertains to all goals, from personal improvements like being more patient or more loving, two of my life-long aspirations, to professional goals. If, for instance, you want to write a book, sit down and start working on it a little each day and sooner than you think, you’ll have the first draft. 

The key to success is to never, ever give up. Ever!  

Although forward movement is vital to creating what you want in life, all journeys, long and short, require direction.  

If you want to visit a friend who lives in a city east of your home, but set out on a westerly trajectory, you’ll get there eventually (the world is, after all, round). However, be sure to pack your bags. You’re in for a very long journey. 

My book and blog are about personal and professional growth, lessons I’ve learned along the way that have helped me achieve success.

So, let’s start this series of conversations not with a single step, but by selecting the direction of travel. 

To do so, start with two questions: “What do you want out of life?”  In other words, when it’s all over, what do you hope you have achieved, personally and professionally? 

If these question are too general, you may find it useful to ask yourself, “What do I want more of? What do I want less of?”  

Most of us can answer them pretty quickly.  

Personally, I want to spend more time on rivers paddling my kayak in peace and quiet with my partner, Linda. I want life to slow down, so each day doesn’t feel like a blur. 

Take a moment now to think about these questions.  

Take a few moments to jot down your answer before you read on. 

Once you have completed this little exercise, you can stop. Mull over these questions in the next few days. More ideas will very likely come to you as you ask yourself: 

(1) What do you really want out of life?  

(2) When it’s all over, what do you hope you have achieved, personally and professionally? 

If you want more to think about, I’ve included some related questions that have helped me, over the past few decades, chart my path:  

(1)  What’s working in my life?  

(2)  What causes me aggravation?  

(3)  What creates joy for me?  

(4) Am I finding time to pursue my interests? Or, is life just a big struggle?  

(5)  Am I constantly stressed out?   

(6)  Do I get the exercise I need or want? 

(7)  Do I eat well? 

(8)  Do I truly enjoy what I’m doing? 

(9)  What would I be doing differently if I could? 

(10)  Are my relationships fulfilling? 

(11)  Do I have thoughtful, considerate, kind, and close friends or am I surrounded by people who are a pain in the keister?   

(12)  Am I treated with respect and kindness? 

(14)  Do I treat others the way I’d like to be treated? 

 

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Contributing editor Dan Chiras is a renewable energy and green homes expert who has spent a lifetime learning life’s lessons, which he shares in his popular blog, Dan Chiras on Loving Life. He’s the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute and president of Sustainable Systems Design. Contact him by visiting his website or finding him on .



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Post a comment below.

 

DAN CHIRAS
3/11/2012 3:33:45 AM
Hi Jody...For a long time, I've held the belief that through self-transformation, we help trasform the world, which is precisely what you are saying. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Dan

DAN CHIRAS
3/7/2012 2:59:24 PM
Hi John, I think we're actually making the same point. If you want to change something about yourself, know what direction you want to go, then start taking action. Take one step today, and another tomorrow, and so on and so on. It's amazing, though, some people, people I know are really stuck. They can't seem to move forward. They might have an inkling of the direction they want to take, but they can't seem to get out of their Lazy Boys to move... And thanks for correcting the source of my quote. I fixed it immediately. Take care, Dan

BARUCH ATTA
3/6/2012 6:22:15 PM
Ok - a little research might help. Scientists implant electrodes in brains of mice, then have them run the maze. Sure enough, when running in a new maze, their little brains are wizzing away. But in a familiar maze, their brains are mostly asleep, and they can run the maze without thinking, just by rote. How much of our lives are done by rote! How much more interesting it would be if we could WAKE UP and think? Get our little brains a wizzing too! Think! Be aware. Ask "why". The little child asks "why" and asks again with each answer. Maybe the child knows more how to live than we adult do. Ask "why" to everything - that you hear, that you read, that you see. What is my purpose in life? My purpose is to ask "what is my purpose..." Yes, it's recursive.

Jody Miles
3/6/2012 4:19:25 PM
I feel one key phrase here was spoken by John, " When we try to change the world we lose, when we learn to change ourselves we win." Our most powerful ripple in the world comes from our own action....if we exude peace, that ripple effect moves outward...if we exude haustility...the same occurs. Which one will we claim for ourselves? And in a book I'm currently reading constantly claims "to be simple" to the process but now neccessarily easy. Most likely, and this is just my opinion, cause we run our minds like crazy with judgements and accusations....building complexities where there needs not to be.

JOHN SEALANDER
3/6/2012 5:20:45 AM
Hmm Charlie, seems I found a sore spot. No healing can occur until the 'dis-ease' is found. Poking is required. Bandages on cancers don't work. Therefore, 'poking' becomes compassionate. You admit yourself that “things aren't so easy” for you. Is it possible that you've been looking for solutions in the wrong direction? Do you still think 'trying harder' will make it work better? Has it occurred to you that it may not be your failure at all, but the approach you've selected that is the problem? We are all the products of a deeply sick and distorted culture, it's victims really. I would like to suggest that your apparent anger and rage and habit of defining it in political terms of Left and Right will only exacerbate your pain. When any of us buy that lie of Left vs Right we become their tools. ALL politicians use polarization to control us...”Divide and conquer”. Obviously, I completely disagree with the efficacy of Dan's approach. I also respect his effort to attempt to help people or I wouldn't have bothered taking the time to respond to his article. That's why I began with, "Gee Dan I don't know. Seems to me..." merely my response to his thoughts.The bulk of my response was a quote of Lao tzu's verse, not my words. Disregard mine if you like, but I urge you to give his some serious thought. Many have found his words fruitful in their lives over the last 25 centuries. And I never said it was easy. I said it was simple. (And Lao-tsu only uses 'easy' as in 'when things are small'). The day I gained charge of my life was the day I gave up looking for 'easy'...there is no easy way. Buddha said it first and best, “Life is Suffering”. He also explained it's source or cause and it's solution and spent the rest of his life teaching others to heal that pain. It included poking sore spots sometimes. Candy coating it does not work. He was called The Compassionate One because he healed the 'dis-ease', not because he deluded people into thinking everything was just dandy. When we try to change the world we lose, when we learn to change ourselves we win. If your going to bet your paycheck, bet that Dan and I can at least agree on that one. May your life be filled with blessings and joy as you find your way. Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

charlie muller
3/5/2012 3:30:49 PM
Wow John! That patronizing, condescending, narcissistic, reply to Dan's blog was quite interesting! Simply "taking the journey" isn't that simple except for you of course! I would bet my teacher's paycheck that you are so religious right wing and a daily Rush Limbaugh listener. Maybe not though... because you're not quoting the bible! You make some good points with your message of: quit thinking about it and do it. It's not that easy for all of us and that's the problem with you uncompassionate "why can't everyone be like me" people. Walk a mile in their shoes John and then you might see things a little differently. The hypocrisy and lack of compassion of the religious right never ceases to amaze me!

JOHN SEALANDER
3/4/2012 12:46:30 PM
Gee Dan, I don't know. Seems to me your way simply turns everything into a 1,000 mile journey. If 'patience' and 'loving' are 'a life-long aspiration', why don't you simply starting patiently loving? Now, today? OK, sure, maybe it won't be perfect, but then practice makes perfect. THAT'S the first step, not making a 'goal' out of it. If you want to take Linda for a paddle in your canoe ( a lovely idea), get your gear and go. Just do it. Now. What ever you do now means that you're not doing everything or anything else. But, since we're to do lots of 'thinking about...' how about thinking on this? Confucius didn't say it, Lao-tzu did and here's what he reportedly said (about 2500 years ago), "That which is at rest is easy to grasp. That which has not yet come about is easy to plan for. That which is fragile is easily broken. That which is minute is easily scattered. Handle things before they arise. Manage affairs before they are in a mess. A thick tree grows from a tiny seed. A tall building arises from a mound of earth. A journey of a thousand miles starts with one step. Contriving, you are defeated; Grasping, you lose." Everyone always drops those last two lines. Perhaps they don't understand. I think I'll take three deep breathes and just think about that....then just take a simple step....and another...and another...if I start in peace I'll end in peace; if I start in stressful fretting I'll carry it with me on the whole journey. If I may belabor the point, the quote is to 'drop' the destination or goal ('contriving', 'grasping') and simply take the journey. Much simpler, eh? And our regards to Linda for patiently loving you.










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