I’ve been speaking recently to a young friend who has just moved to Montana. He’s making some major life changes and trying to determine the man he wants to become. Do you still struggle with those questions? Or is that phase of your life settled and behind you? I hope it’s not.
Now I certainly don’t want to go back to being 25 years old and have nothing settled. I like knowing core beliefs and having a general direction. Yet I’m also glad that every day continues to challenge me to better understand truth. I discard old ideas that no longer pass the smell test and embrace new ones. Life long learning requires us to check our arrogance at the door and examine each experience anew.
As my young friend discussed planning, he expressed his responsibility to control his actions, his choices and ultimately his life. His past hadn’t included too much control in those areas and I loved hearing his desire to tackle the hard task. I know that true joy in life comes from the hard path (the road less followed), not the easy one.
I talked to him about the Steven Covey concept of Begin with the End in Mind. Covey teaches that everything is created twice. Anything that becomes must first be conceived. We humans get to be the conceivers.
As a simple example, a building must first be designed with plans and specs (the first creation). Then it gets built (the second creation).Even if a carpenter builds his own piece of furniture without putting a single pencil mark on paper, he still has the first creation in his mind, then builds the second creation.
We are responsible for this first creation. Learn to live your day, your week, your year first in your mind. Practice the art of considering options, planning, day dreaming and all other manner of first creation. Please don’t live a life just following the script of your parents, bad experiences, early decisions or any other thing. Realize that you have the responsibility to conceive of a future outcome that brings you joy, that maximizes who you could be, that helps others and helps you.
On the other hand, you can just take life as it comes without thinking too much. The mugshot below illustrates how I imagine that might work out for you.