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How To Win At Life

January 14th, 2009

treadmill

Last week a reader of this blog  made a comment that got to me. I wasn’t sure if he was criticizing me, misunderstanding me, or both. The comment was in reference to my 2009 goals, and said ‘just remember that life isn’t a treadmill’

My interpretation of that was that he thought I was too list-focused, or goal-focused, or maybe just too focused. That it wasn’t relevant whether this approach to life makes me feel happy or good about myself. That I was just run, run, running without getting anywh – hang on –

If life were a treadmill, that would imply continual exertion without progression. But that’s not what goal-setting is about, is it? At least, I don’t think it is for me –  my goals are about reaching new milestones; going places I haven’t yet been, both personally and professionally.

If we’re applying running metaphors I guess I’d like to think of my goals as more of a race around-the world. There are times when I’ll be going flat out, when things may not even be in balance, and other times when I’ll be taking it easy and enjoying the benefits of my hard work. Along the way I plan to meet some new people, try some different things, and see a whole lot of the big, bad world. (Actually, that sounds like a pretty nice reality as well as a metaphor!)

race

That’s my vision for my 2009, but it may not do it for you. Maybe you see life as a sprint to the finish, with a great deal of adrenaline along the way. Or perhaps it’s a marathon – constant hard slog. Or maybe you haven’t ever thought about it in these sort of terms and you’re enjoying life day-by-day, wondering why life has to ‘be’ anything so pigeon-holed as a run of some kind!

Or maybe you do see life as a treadmill. After all, working hard to stay right where you are doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

I guess it depends on whether it’s by choice or not. If you’re anything like me, you probably have parts of your life that do feel as though they take huge amounts of energy with no progression and other aspects of your life that you’re more than happy with. Where regular exertion just to stay in the same place is actually exactly what you want.

Maybe it’s saving a certain amount each week for your annual holiday, or hitting the gym regularly in order to maintain your current level of fitness. Maybe it just plain makes you feel good about yourself to keep doing whatever you’re doing in these or other areas.

Cher made the following comment in a recent article I read:

“Nothing lifts me out of a bad mood better than a hard workout on my treadmill. It never fails”

Sure, she’s talking a real treadmill, and I’m talking metaphors, but you know what I’m saying. My point? Your life cannot be said to be or not be anything. Certainly not by anyone else. In my mind, life is whatever you want it to be. Whatever you make of it. It’s not a race, or a game, or a treadmill, or a movie – unless that’s what you’ve chosen. I believe that grasping this concept; the idea that life is what you choose it to be, really is the key to ‘winning’ at life. Not winning in the sense of beating someone or something, but winning in the sense of feeling proud, excited, passionate, and confident within yourself.

You know my opinion – life is ‘now’, and I really do think that holds true, but I guess some people would even disagree with that. I’ve chosen that as my catch-cry because it means something to me and it’s a daily reminder to make the most of whatever I’m doing. To always be present, and to never forget that everything will eventually pass.

I use this to get me through the tougher parts of my exercise, to reassure myself when I’m stuck in a situation I’m not enjoying, but also to remind myself to continually think, dream, explore and discover. And to always strive toward my idea of happiness and success – not just for the end goal but for the fun and the learning of the journey.

For me, Life really is Now. And I’m doing my darn best to Pres Play every day. How do you see life – either your current life or the one you’re dreaming of? What concepts or catch-phrases do you use to inspire yourself?

Kat

Great Quote – thanks Jo!

PEACE – ‘it does not mean to be in a place where there if no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart’

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4 people have commented
  1. Dr. J says:

    Love your goal!! You are a Marathon Monk! If you are not familiar with the sect, google it and you will be AMAZED by their actualization of your stated goal!

  2. Kerrie says:

    My catch cry for the past 2 years has been: ‘Alive With Purpose’ – it reminds me I am alive as opposed to existing and it spurs me to purposefully make the most of my life and to do the things that are good for me (physically, emotionally/socially, intellectually and spiritually). These include doing things I enjoy and am passionate about, the things that also impact others positively, and things that will leave a legacy. ‘Alive With Purpose’ also reminds me that I am a created being and that GOD designed me with a purpose and a plan for my life.

  3. Fish Eyed Dave says:

    Hi Kat
    I think you may have been referring to me…!

    What I meant was that qualitative aspects of life like “happiness”, “health”, “success”. “joy”, “love”, “fulfillment” are also all-important. In fact, what could be more important as a goal than being HAPPY? If you place too much importance in achieving quantitative goals, then life can become like running on a treadmill, as in you’re always achievement-orientated, and not enjoyment-orientated.

    Setting time aside to relax, rejuvenate and rest is essential to living a balanced life. I have friends who never seem to just STOP and RELAX until they get sick, which reminds them that rest is the time when you gain the energy and insight to achieve what you want to achieve. That’s why having “spiritual/religious” goals and “family” goals should be in the mix. When making life-goals it’s really important to look at the big picture – so whilst making $1million may be your goal – if its your only goal, you may end up single, overweight, miserable, and lonely.

    Tony Robbins promotes life goals that fit into the following categories: 1. Career 2. Emotional 3. Family 4. Financial 5. Physical 6. Spiritual

    So all in all, goals are wonderful and important, and making them S.M.A.R.T works great (see below) – but what we’re really after is happiness (is this measurable?) – I guess what I am saying is – make sure your goals will also make you HAPPY!

    S – specific
    M – measurable, meaningful
    A – achievable, action-oriented
    R – realistic
    T – time-based, timely, tangible, trackable

    Wishing you lots of success…xxx