There is an old story where a traveler asks Socrates how to get to Mount Olympus and he says if you want to get to Mount Olympus just make sure every step is in that direction. This is such a simple thing, but it is life changing advice. For example, if you want to lose weight then make sure every action you take is in that direction. If you want to get a promotion, then make sure every action is in that direction. I think this is great news which means we can change our direction to change the results. I have expanded the word direction to drive home the point.
Desire – First step is to really know what your destination is or metaphorically what your Mount Olympus is. Taking the time to write where you want to be 1 year from now, 5 years from now actually increases your happiness levels. Psychologists also call this The Better Selves exercise. The very act of imagining a great future promotes your happiness. Setting a clear goal with a strong purpose really puts us firmly in control to move forward towards our ultimate destination.
Inspiration – Once you decide on your destination you then need to ensure you are in spirit or inspired to keep going. You can have a written down plan of where you want to go and how you will get there. You can also come up with all the resources which will keep you inspired for a long journey. This could be specific books, podcasts or blogs. It can also be talking to a mentor. Staying inspired for the long haul is the key.
Responsibility – If something goes awry during your journey you take full responsibility. This is what leaders do and they never blame anything or anyone else for their situation. You can take better action when you take complete responsibility for everything that happens on your journey. You can then make course corrections as needed.
Energy – Any journey requires a lot of energy. You need to maintain elevated levels of physical, mental and emotional journey to remain on the path towards your destination. You can achieve this through good sleep, good exercise, good diet and positive thoughts. It can also come from having a strong purpose to which you are committed to. Here is my article on 11 ways to keep your energy high.11 Ways to have High Energy
Courage – The courage to begin is what is needed on any journey. As Churchill said, “Success is going from failure to failure without any loss of enthusiasm.” He also said, “Courage is the first of the human qualities for upon it all others depend.” You can develop your courage muscles by getting to know exactly what your fears are and then taking purposeful action to reduce those fears. Of course some fears will never go away but we can still deal with a lot of them through a strong purpose.
Talent– The key to reaching your destination is to know what your talents are. It is imperative that you align your life time goals to what your talent is. Each of us has a unique talent and getting to know it is the key. Keep polishing your talent and keep it current. Talent is not something most of us are born with, it is something we develop through thorough soul searching, self-analysis, practice and deep learning. It is a cinch but worth repeating find out what ignites your passion. Passion ignites reservoirs of talent that is hidden within our vast reservoirs. The main obstacles in our path are our self-doubt and lack of patience. So if we overcome self-doubt and combine it with the important quality of patience we can get to our destination.
Imagination – You need to be totally creative to get around obstacles and opportunities as you navigate towards your destination. You can work in a journal to flex your imagination muscles. You can debrief daily on what can be improved and record your thoughts. Ideas come when we start thinking on paper. You can also go for a long walk to spark your creativity.
Optimism – Optimism is the key to enjoying your journey. There is no point in reaching a destination if you have spent or depleted all your resources and you don’t have the energy to enjoy the success you have created. Being optimistic means you look for the good in every situation and you generally have a positive life stance. One of the exercises mentioned in the book “The How of Happiness” is to project into your best self-5 years from now and then 10 years from now. Imagine yourself living your best life in all areas and just keep that picture in your mind. It is also good to always look for the good in every situation. You can also check out my article on optimism here. The Optimist’s Manifesto
Never give up – Science is also showing us that when you have clear goals for all areas of your life you will feel happier. The best cure for a negative attitude is to have some strong goals that we are working towards. So, do take the time to write goals for your business, physical, financial, social and contribution lives. Review the goals on a regular basis and make course corrections. Goals are better than resolutions and have a more long-term perspective. Also, what I mean by never give up is to have grit which is number one quality of success as per Angela Duckworth (Here is my review of her book Grit – The key is Passion and Perseverance). The only way you can have grit is only when you know clearly what your Mount Olympus is. If you have the final picture clearly in mind you will overcome temporary setbacks and keep moving forward. One of the best methods is what Martin Seligman proposes to maintain high levels of optimism is don’t take any event personally, don’t assume that the event will be permanent and never think that event will cause other events to go bad.
There you have it the diverse ways you can make sure you reach your Mount Olympus. The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.