Towards the end of last year (2019), I decided I was tired. Tired of what exactly? I wasn't sure. All I knew was that I couldn't keep living the way that I had been living thus far. So I stopped going to work and started dwelling on this idea that something needed to change... and days past, and weeks past, and I had no idea what I needed to change or how.
This went on until one day, my mom came looking for me. She was worried about my retraction from the world, concerned that I might've entered a depression (as I sometimes do). When I told her what was up, we immediately decided to setup a time to discuss my future - and not just discuss, but strategize about my next moves. I knew that being the business development guru that she is, my mom would be able to help me (but to be honest, initially I had wanted to know what I wanted before talking to her).
So, over the next few weekends, we got together for some strategy sessions. We talked about my strengths and my weaknesses, my education thus far, my career thus far, my goals, aims, and everything relevant in between. This all took a couple of months (until the end of February), but by the end of it all, we had documented my personal vision, mission, and core values - as well as a 4-year strategic plan and a 1-year action plan.
Of course, this was all before COVID...
Then COVID came and I noticed something:- I noticed that it didn't matter.
- I noticed that my goals did not have to change because COVID had changed the world
- I noticed that my vision did not have to change either
- and most of all, I noticed that my days were now full of purpose and drive.
Now everyday, I have some idea of what I want to do with my time. I know all the things I have an interest in doing, so all I have to do is figure out which of them I want to do, and when. This creates a situation where I constantly feel motivated, because I'm constantly plugging away at my self-defined interests. Even when I'm taking a break, I'm taking a break reading or watching anime or playing games as I've already identified I like to do...and I have set limits on how long I'm willing to while away my time this way.
So, in a sense, my whole life feels streamlined towards accomplishing my self-defined goals. I keep repeating the term self-defined because I believe that's a big part of the whole system. My mom didn't tell me what I should do, she just facilitated my discovery of what I wanted to do - and because of this, I own all the decisions made during our strategy sessions.
I am the one who decided that I like to read because it sharpens my mind, so, when I find myself reading a book, it no longer seems like procrastination of some other task, rather, I now know that it is a worthwhile love of mine. Or, when I'm looking ahead and trying to plan my time, I already know that I like analytics, and I like coding, so maybe I should invest my time in doing these things.
It is amazing how much freedom and direction I now feel, when really what we've accomplished through our exercise, is limited my choices. By defining all the things I want to do, we opened the door to purposeful and meaningful choices.
When I choose to spend my time watching anime, I conciously sacrifice the opportunity to work on something else I'm interested in. Knowing this, makes every choice (even the choice to watch anime), weighty.
So when I do make a choice to do X or Y or Z, it is more likely to be a deliberate choice. Because at the very least, I chose this interest over another interest; and that is what I'm calling "Living Intentionally."