It is hard to believe that it is already September. The time has flown this year, but it always does, whether we choose to do something or nothing. To me, this is an important time of year to check in with my goals that I set in January. We are entering the final quarter of the year, so its important to make sure that I am dialed in for the remainder of 2014.
As I move through life, one of the things that I notice in the vast majority of the population is that they lack any sort of introspection. This is not a knock on other people, just an observation. We all have struggles, none of us are perfect, but introspection allows us to see what we do well, and what we need to work on. We then take the appropriate action. Serious introspection is necessary to be able to do this and make the right calls. If you run a business that has any sort of inventory then you know the importance of having an accurate account of what you have in inventory and the quality of said product. The same thing goes for our lives. I have a close friend who is in Al Anon and has turned me on to some of their reading materials. The program is based on introspection and awareness of one’s state and then working to make things better. The program is completely about personal accountability, there is no blaming others. This is right where we want to be.
This is a good time of year to do this inventory. I take a daily inventory in the morning and evening before bed, but I like to do a more in depth review quarterly. I review my goals and plans in the light of some of these questions: What worked? What didn’t? Why? What did I learn from it? How can I take this lesson and apply it to my life? What things can I use now to take the ball over the finish line in December? Am I where I need to be? Are there any things distracting me from my purpose, my goals? In what ways did I apply lessons that I may have learned from my reading? Did they work? I gain so much knowledge about myself and where I want to be by doing this. I also use this information as a foundation to build my goals and plans for the coming year so that when the calendar rolls over to 1 January I am already solid, I’m good to go.
Of course, the first assumption here is that a man has goals, focus and a drive to see these goals through. Just writing down your goals and dreams will do nothing. Action is the only thing that will make them come true. It is a lesson in discipline, fortitude and commitment. Finding your goals and purpose is not a haphazard process. It takes reflection, desire and clarity. I suggest taking a weekend trip away from the normal distractions of life, this helps to be able to think more clearly, although it is not necessary. The other important aspect is that the goals must be your goals, they must be your desires. It may sound strange but for many of us it is difficult to come to a decision about what we want out of life. Most of the time you will find that your goals come up very differently from what society tells you that you should want. This is good. When a man dials in his goals he finds that he wants less and less of what society has to offer. Having set goals and a code to live by also gives us the freedom to focus. We know the things that are not important, and the things that are. We can measure every question we have by our own question; “Is this action or thought in line with my goals and my vision of who I am?” This will boil things down to their essence which is exactly what we want. If you think of your favourite historical figure, action hero, or someone whom you look up to, my guess is that there is one thing that they all have in common: they live by a code that they do not violate for anything or anyone. To me this is all summed up by the Duke in “The Shootist”; “I won’t be wronged. I won’t be insulted. I won’t be laid a hand-on. I don’t do these things to other people and I require the same from them.” In fact, all of the great legends, myth and folklore have one common thread; the hero, a man steeped in valor, honor and grit, takes on a journey from which he never wavers, despite a myriad of distractions. He often winds up engaged in combat as his values are tested and he must stand and fight for those things that he believes in. Life is full of distractions. A clear, definite sense of purpose as well as clear, defined goals will help us to focus on what we need to do to get where we want to be.
One must choose his goals and “code” wisely; once he chooses he must stand up for these things. Once chosen and internalized it becomes a mater of a man’s hounour and integrity; things which cannot be lost, only surrendered.