Life is an adventure.
Some parts are difficult. Some parts are enjoyable. Your experience of life depends on the interactions between you (what’s inside of you) and the external world of people, things and events.
To get the most out of your life, you must be proactive, not reactive. You must decide what you want from life and pursue it with energy and determination. If you do not make proactive decisions, you will give up control to external people, events and forces.
Being proactive is not natural. Our minds, conscious and unconscious, were shaped by evolution to react quickly to threats in the environment – “Look, in the tall grass, see the tiger’s ears heading this way! Run!” This natural reactive mode may prolong your physical life but undermine your emotional life, your well-being and prosperity.
Think of life as a journey. If you have a clear destination in mind, you are much more likely to get there, in spite of the obstacles and challenges you face, than if you have no chosen destination. As the saying goes, “When you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”
So our first piece of life advice is, decide where you want to go in life. Choose your destination. As Stephen Covey and others have said, “Begin with the end in mind.”
If you are young, choose a career that seems to be a good fit for your talents and abilities. You may change your career goals in college or after graduation, but with no career destination, you may end up taking the path of least resistance, majoring in a field that is easy for you to make good grades, and not really being proactive.
If you are past college, you may want to think more broadly in terms of life goals, the quality of life you want to achieve, marriage and children if any, saving money for the future including a comfortable retirement, and more.
In your later years you may want to have a clear plan for what you will do, where and how you will live in retirement. This should include a detailed financial plan so that your savings support your desired lifestyle for the rest of your life, and does not run out before you die.
If you’re a person of faith, your desired future may include service to others in need, making the world a better place, and preparing to spend eternity with your God.
The important thing is for you to choose your life destinations, your goals or your vision for the desired future. This way your life adventure will be much more positive, enjoyable and rewarding than if you just react to what happens to you and to other people.
For some people choosing what they want to accomplish in life is easy and natural, but for most of us, it is difficult. There are so many possibilities – how do you decide? And what if you don’t have a good paying job or enough money to make your dreams come true? What if you majored in physical education and now want to be an investment advisor? What if you deeply want to find a spouse and have children but have no significant other and no prospects for finding one?
So this gets back to, Life is an adventure. Nobody said it would be easy. Make the right choices, make the smart moves, and you will accomplish much more. Be reactive or passive and you will accomplish much less. The choice is yours. Every moment of every day you have choices. Let’s take a look at how to make better choices for you as a unique person.