No one likes rules and being told what to do. So when society imposes how things should be in life, we resist. One expected life path is to get a good education, get a good job, buy a house, have a family and live happily ever after.
You don’t have to subscribe to this. Instead, you can make your own choices, take responsibility for your life and design it as you wish.
You can make your own choices, take responsibility for your life and design it as you wish.
If you were to design your life and future, how would you do it? What would your ideal life look like? What things would you include? What would you exclude?
This is an overwhelming decision and you can get stuck here. When you have all the choices in the world, it is harder to make one. For example, there is little to debate about when you have one shirt in your closet but when you have fifteen to choose from, the process is more complicated. When presented with too many choices, instead of making one and following through with the relevant actions, you make no choice and remain stagnant. This is frustrating.
How can you overcome this?
One approach I’ve learned is Be-Do-Have.
You may think that you need to first “have” certain things (money, love, experience, time, etc.) in order to “do” something meaningful (pursue your dreams, start a business, travel the world, foster a relationship etc.) which will then allow you to “be” what you want to be in life (happy, fulfilled, successful, in love, etc.). However, the Be-Do-Have approach tells us this works the other way around.
And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it. — Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
Why does this work?
Think of someone you know who wants more money, time, flexibility, love, etc. to be happy. On the other hand, someone who is happy right now has all the money, time, flexibility and love to last a lifetime. You can discover that you have everything you need to “be happy” by “being happy” right now. Deciding what you choose to be in advance creates that in your experiences. Start by acting like you are what you want to be and you will become that. However your actions need to be aligned so what you “do” is important.
Remember that you have the power to experience any state of being at any time, not just when things to work out perfectly or after you achieve certain things. Attaching your fulfillment or other desired state of being to a specific goal, dream or achievement can set you up for disappointment, failure and pain.
Who you are and how you’re “being” creates the context for how you feel, think and act, which are key components of how you create your reality. The process to living the life you want doesn’t have to be that of suffering and struggle. Instead, you can focus your efforts to get abundant results. Remember that happiness is a choice. It isn’t a chase.
Happiness is a state of mind. And like all states of mind, it reproduces itself in physical form. — Neale Donald Walsch
- Think of what you want to “have” in life. What are your key goals or dreams? What do you want to achieve?
- How would you “be” if you had those things? Happy? Joyful? Fulfilled? Free?
- Start to embody that state of being that you imagine will come from obtaining these goals, dreams and achievements. Start “being” happy as if you’ve already accomplished your goals.
- From this state of being, think and talk about the actions you need to take. Take these actions.
“Begin with the end in mind. Start with the end outcome and work backwards to make your dream possible.” — Wayne W. Dyer
Do you spend a lot of time thinking about your current circumstance? Do you think back on the decisions you made and how they led to where you are today? Do you have a hard time thinking about next steps to make changes and end up taking no action? I’d love for you to try the Be-Do-Have approach and hear how it works for you!
Dasanj Aberdeen is an entrepreneurial spirit who embodies the combination of left-brain logic and right-brain creativity. She is a consultant and proponent of multidisciplinary education, approaches and pursuits. She writes about their benefits in modern times and integrating multiple interests into a sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle. She’s a graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University with a concentration in Technology & Innovation Management, jointly delivered by the Fox School of Business and College of Engineering.