Despite turbulence and other conditions keeping airplanes off-course 90 percent of flight time, most flights arrive in the correct destination at the intended time.
The reason for this phenomenon is quite simple — through air traffic control and the inertial guidance system, pilots are constantly course correcting. When immediately addressed, these course corrections are not hard to manage. When these course corrections don’t regularly happen, catastrophe can result.
For example, in 1979, a passenger jet with 257 people on board left New Zealand for a sightseeing flight to Antarctica and back. However, the pilots were unaware that someone had altered the flight coordinates by a measly two degrees, putting them 28 miles east of where they assumed to be.
Approaching Antarctica, the pilots descended to give the passengers a view of the brilliant landscapes. Sadly, the incorrect coordinates had placed them directly in the path of the active volcano, Mount Erebus.
The snow on the volcano blended with the clouds above, deceiving the pilots into thinking they were flying above flat ground. When the instruments sounded a warning of the quickly rising ground, it was too late. The plane crashed into the volcano killing everyone on board.
An error of only a few degrees brought about an enormous tragedy.
Small things — if not corrected — become big things, always.
This flight is an analogy of our lives. Even seemingly inconsequential aspects of our lives can create ripples and waves of consequence — for better or worse.
How are you piloting your life?
What feedback are you receiving to correct your course?
How often do you check your guidance system? Do you even have a guidance system?
Where is your destination?
When are you going to get there?
Are you currently off-course? How long have you been off-course?
How would you know if you are on the right course?
How can you minimize the turbulence and other conditions distracting your path?
Organizing Your Life
I don’t think I’m alone in being slightly scattered and sloppy about certain areas of my life.
Life is busy.
It’s hard to keep everything organized and tidy. And maybe you don’t want to have an organized life. But moving forward will require far less energy if you remove the excess baggage and tension. Everything in your life is energy. If you’re carrying too much — physical or emotional — your progress will be hampered.
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey explains that some things are important, and some things are urgent. Most people spend their life prioritizing urgent and “shallow” activity (e.g., answering emails, putting out proverbial fires, and just day-to-day stuff).
Very few people have organized their lives to prioritize almost exclusively important and “deep” activity (e.g., learning, health, relationships, travel, and goals).
No one cares about your success more than you do. If you’re not a meticulous accountant about the important details of your life than you aren’t responsible enough to have what you say you want.
So how do you organize your life?
1. Organize Your Environment
Is your living space cluttered and messy or simple and neat?
Do you keep stuff (like clothes) you no longer use?
If you have a car, is it clean or just another place to keep your clutter and garbage?
Does your environment facilitate the emotions you consistently want to experience?
Does your environment drain or improve your energy?
Call to Action:
- Clean your physical environments (home, car, office).
- Purge everything that no longer brings you joy (clothes you don’t wear, people who bring you down, etc).
- Invest in art and other ways to beautify your environment.
- Focus on simplicity and energy.
2. Organize Your Money (and become wealthy)
Do you have unnecessary debt?
Do you know how many dollars you spend each month?
Do you know how many dollars you make each month?
Are you making as much money as you’d like to be?
What’s holding you back from creating more value in other people’s lives?
Most people don’t track their expenses. But if they did, they’d be shocked how much money they waste on stuff like eating out.
I wasn’t able to become financially successful until I made finances a priority in my life. If something isn’t happening in your life, it’s because you haven’t made it a priority.
So how do you make finances a priority?
- You set extremely clear and high financial goals
- You have powerful reasons (“WHY”) for achieving those goals
- You begin studying how to become financially successful (reading books, getting mentors, learning from other people’s mistakes)
- You learn how to sell something (as Joe Polish says, being “good” and “getting paid” are not correlated) — you need to learn how to sell and market or you’ll always be a starving artist or working for someone else
- You need to start investing money in 1) yourself and your own personal/professional development, 2) your future via retirement or some other investment tools, and 3) your key relationships — if you’re not investing in your relationships, then they probably aren’t getting better
If you can start to get yourself organized, you can begin making lots of money. You can make many thousands of dollars passively on a monthly basis.
Call to Action:
- Set large financial goals.
- Decide to become a millionaire (As Jim Rohn said, “Become a millionaire not for the million dollars, but for what it will make of you to achieve it”).
- Track your finances.
- Decide what you’re willing to spend money on and what you’re not.
- Invest big in your future (at least 10% of your income).
- Invest big into your self-improvement, relationships, and business (at least 10% of your income).
- Begin donating to causes or organizations you believe in (at least 10% of your income).
- Develop a strong relationship with an accountant and get your taxes organized.
- Get a financial advisor or something similar where you begin investing in your future.
3. Organize And Invest Big In Your Relationships
Are your relationships the most meaningful and enjoyable part of your life?
Do you spend enough time nurturing the relationships that really matter?
Do you maintain toxic relationships that no longer serve you?
Are you authentic and honest in your relationships?
Like money, most people’s relationships are not organized in a conscious manner. But with something so critical, we should take better stock of our relationships.
When it comes to our romantic partner, we should be incredibly thoughtful about this relationship. Yet, as with most relationships, the moment the “honeymoon phase” is over, then we get lazy. We take the relationship for granted. We stop investing in it.
We stop imagining how incredible it could be.
We get sloppy.
We stop creating magical moments and memories.
We stop playing by our own rules and we start slowly becoming average.
Don’t do this with your relationships.
An amazing quote from Thomas Monson is, “Choose your love, then love your choice.” Find the person that magnetically pulls you in. Do everything you can to serve and create a deeply beautiful relationship and vision with that person. Then never stop investing in that person’s joy and never stop creating a bigger and more powerful vision.
Don’t get disorganized in your key relationships. Track them.
Know where they are. Know where they’re going. Know exactly how you’re improving and investing in those relationships this week. Have a vision that is driving your daily behavior, mindset, and service you’re giving.
If it’s not on your calendar, it’s not a priority. If you don’t have goals for it, you’re probably not thinking about it. If you’re not thinking about it, then it’s probably falling apart.
Call To Action:
- Make a list of the top 10 relationships in your life.
- Write down why these relationships are so important to you.
- Where are these relationships at right now?
- Are you taking 100% responsibility for the quality, collaboration, and future creation of this relationship?
- How have you invested in this relationship in the past 7–30 days?
- Set specific goals about how you are going to improve this relationship.
- Have a vision for this relationship and what could ideally come out of it.
- Go out of your way to do something incredibly thoughtful and creative for these people in the very near future.
- Never stop investing in these relationships.
- Always treat them like you did when you were first trying to establish them.
The last bullet above is of particular importance. I’ve been able to develop several amazing relationships in my life, including mind-blowing mentorships. I’ve been able to turn my mentors into friends and now even people who I spend lots of time with and create businesses with.
Last week, an opportunity came up to see one of those mentors. He had a full-day layover in Miami. I live 3.5 hours away in Orlando.
2 years ago, I would have driven across the country just to have lunch with this man. But now, at this point, our relationship is very established. Also, I just had twins less than three weeks ago, and our lives are hectic and busy. Not to mention the holidays and end of year busyness.
It would have been very easy for me to just say, “I’m going to be seeing him next month anyways” (which I am for a business meeting).
But instead, the idea came to me: I need to invest in the relationship. I need to treat it like I would 2 years ago when I only knew this person through their books and podcasts. Back when I was humbler and hungrier.
So I immediately jumped in my car and made the drive.
I made the decision and shot him a text message: I’m coming down man! Super excited to see you.
I then called my wife and told her I needed to have a beginner’s mind. And that I needed to nurture and serve this relationship. She totally got it and supported my decision.
It was a no-brainer.
But it’s crazy what happens when you begin investing in your relationships. It’s crazy when you make the relationship about THEM and their success. It’s crazy when you “transformational” and not “transactional.”
Beautiful and rare opportunities come up. Deep connections are created.
In both romance and business, invest in your relationships. Be a creator and not a consumer. Have a vision and goals. Be thoughtful and helpful. Invest. Be transformed.
4. Become Extremely Healthy And Fit (and have compelling reasons for doing so)
Do you eat with the end in mind?
Are you conscious of and in control of the foods you put in your body?
Does the food you eat improve or worsen the other areas of your life?
Does your body reflect your highest ideals?
Is your body as strong and fit as you want it to be?
Are you healthier now than you were three months ago?
Are you excitedly getting in better and better shape, not only for yourself but primarily to please your lover?
Does your health motivate and inspire those around you, or does it cause them to question how you’re handling the other fundamental areas of your life?
How you do anything is how you do everything. If your health isn’t a priority, then what the heck is?
If your health doesn’t translate to more creative and powerful work in your business, then your business is doing enormously less than it could be.
If your health doesn’t translate to more passionate, pleasure, and love in your romantic relationship, then your romantic relationship is probably not as inspiring as it could be.
Health is wealth. If you’re bedridden, who cares how organized the other areas of your life are? It’s so easy to put our health on the side, such as foregoing sleep, over consuming stimulants and making poor eating habits.
Little things become big things. And eventually, everything catches up. But when you get your health right, you’ll not only have greater confidence and clarity. You’ll also be more motivated and inspired in all areas of your life.
Making your health about yourself AND others is key. Becoming completely refined sugar-free was impossible for me until I had a compelling reason to do so — to get into the best shape I could as a way of deepening my relationship with my wife.
That WHY made all the difference. Now, avoiding stupid decisions is far easier. Every time I say no to something bad, I know my body and brain are improving — as is my clarity and motivation for the future.
Call To Action:
- Take an honest look at your health and don’t sugar-coat it.
- Think 20–30 years out — focusing on longevity will help you make better and more informed decisions in the here-and-now.
- Make a commitment about how you can improve your health over the next 3–12 months.
- Have a compelling reason (that goes beyond your own happiness) for getting into the best shape of your life.
- Every time you get triggered to self-sabotage, remind yourself of your purpose.
- Say “no” to crap food moving forward and proclaim your purpose.
- Change your health, change your life.
- Stop eating reactively based on the situations you are in.
- Stop eating filler foods right before bed.
- Go on more walks.
- Drink tons of water.
- Excitedly watch as your abs start showing up and getting more refined.
- Excitedly watch as your confidence levels surge.
5. Connect Deeply With Your Spiritual Side And Develop A Clear Purpose For Your Life
Do you have a sense of purpose in life?
Have you come to terms with life and death in a way you resonate with?
How much power do you have in designing your future?
In reality, people are far more afraid of not having lived than they are by dying. Death isn’t scary for people who have a sense of peace and purpose in their lives. Death isn’t scary when you are living your daily life in alignment with what you feel your purpose and priorities are.
When you organize your spiritual life, you become clear on what your life is about. You become clear on what you stand for, and how you want to spend each day. You develop a conviction for what really matters to you, and what is a “distraction.”
Until you’ve developed a sense of spirituality and purpose, then you simply following the norms of your culture and society. Your checking boxes and trying to develop status and “success” in the world — but without a clear and deep reason as to why.
Mark Twain said, “The first half of my life I went to school, the second half of my life I got an education.”
The “second” half of life is when you stop trying to impress and please other people. It’s when you’ve begun asking bigger and deeper questions. It’s when you’ve committed fully to an inner journey of creation, discovery, and serving.
In the book, Finding Meaning In The Second Half Of Life, Dr. James Hollis states:
“If the agenda of the first half of life is social — meeting the demands and expectations our [social environment] asks of us, then the questions of the second half of life are spiritual — addressing the larger issue of meaning. The psychology of the first half of life is driven by the fantasy of acquisition — acquiring a standing in the world, whether it be through property, relationship, or social function. But then the second half of life asks of us and ultimately demands relinquishment — relinquishment of property, roles, status, provisional identities and then to embrace inwardly confirmed values.”
It truly is fascinating watching this play out in the highly successful. As Andrew Carnegie, considered one of the richest people in history, said, “I spent the first half of my life making money and the second half of my life giving it away to do the most good and the least harm.”
The sooner you can make the shift from the first to the second half of life — where you focus goes from getting to giving — the sooner you’ll find joy (and success) in your life.
Call To Action:
- Get out of your routine environment and out into nature.
- Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the big questions — Why am I here? Where did I come from? Where am I going?
- Begin writing down what you believe your purpose in life to be.
- Begin meditating and praying more.
- Spend more of your time helping other people.
6. Become A Master Of Your Time (as well as each 24 hour period)
How much of your time do you feel in complete control of?
Is your time being wasted on things you don’t intrinsically enjoy?
Are the activities you spend your time doing moving you toward your ideal future?
Are you spending most of your time furthering your own agenda or someone else’s?
What activities should you remove from your life?
How much time do you waste each day?
What would your ideal day look like?
What activities could you outsource or automate that take up your time?
Until you organize your time, it will disappear and move quickly. Before you know it, you’ll wonder where all the time went.
Once you organize your time, it will slow down. You’ll be able to live more presently. You’ll be able to experience time as you want to. You’ll control your time rather than the other way around.
In fact, you’ll actually become shocked by how much time you actually have. Yes, this life is short. But it’s also ridiculously long.
Let’s just say you live to be 80 years old. That is 29,200 days.
From age 20 to age 80 (60 years of being an “adult”), you have 21,900 days.
That’s a lot of days.
What would happen if you knew how to manage those days?
We all have 24 hours each day. If your days aren’t solid, your life won’t be solid. Once you master your days, success is inevitable.
How was your day, today?
Look back on all the things you did today. Did you act like the person you wish to become?
If you repeated today every day for the next year, realistically, where would you end up?
If you are to really accomplish your goals and dreams, how much differently would your regular day need to be than today was?
In order to achieve your dreams, what does a “normal” day look like?
One of the best ways to consciously design your ideal life is to start with your ideal day. What does that actually look like?
What activities must happen daily for you to live exactly how you want to be living? You may have several things in the way of your ideal day right now, but are you getting closer?
Your ideal day should be based on your own view of “the good life.” You are the only one who can define happiness and success for yourself.
My ideal day includes the following activities:
- 8 hours of deep and healthy sleep.
- Conscious eating, which includes healthy and simple foods. At least one meal each day is eaten with my wife and kids.
- 30–60 minutes of exercise.
- 15–30 minutes of prayer and meditation (no smartphone).
- 1–3 hours of engaged learning (no smartphone).
- 2–3 hours of non-distracted creating or collaborating.
- 2–3 non-distracted hours playing with my kids (no smartphone).
- 1 non-distracted hours one-on-one with my wife (no smartphone).
It doesn’t matter which order these activities occur. No two days are exactly the same. If I did all of these activities, I’d still have over four hours of “in-between” time to check email, eat meals, drive, spontaneous service, be distracted, talk on the phone to a friend, and all the other things that pop-up.
One thing I have learned, from both positive and negative effects, is that how I wake up in the morning determines, in large measure, the remainder of my day. If I wake up with a purpose, and generally before 6AM, the rest of my day go enormously better. If I wake up reactive, it’s very difficult to recover.
I’m honestly not sure why. I could point to several research studies about how confidence is the product of previous performance. For me, it’s holistic. Waking up, priming yourself for success, pushing your body with intense fitness, engaging in self-directed learning, then getting to work simply has a powerful way of getting the day going.
One thing is for certain. We are all in complete control of how we spend our time. If we don’t believe we are, we have an external locus of control (i.e.,victim-mentality) and will remain so until we claim personal responsibility. Until we can honestly look in the mirror and admit we are the cause of everything happening in our lives, we won’t have the power to change our lives.
What does your ideal day look like?
How often do you live your ideal day?
If you were to consistently live your ideal day, where would you be in one year from now? Where would you be in five years?
Call To Action:
- Take a few minutes to imagine what your ideal day would look like.
- Make a list of the activities that would be in your ideal day.
- Start tracking how you currently spend your days. Once you start tracking your time and become conscious, you’ll be stunned how internally-conflicted you are.
This is all easier said than done. But it’s completely possible to live intentionally and congruently. It’s completely possible to replace bad habits with good habits. And it’s completely possible to become the person you want to be.
Stop What You’re Doing and Get Organized
Getting organized and conscious of your present circumstances (e.g., your environment, finances, relationships, purpose, and time) puts you in a position to build toward the future you want.
The fastest way to move forward in life is not doing more. It starts with stopping the behaviors holding you back.
If you want to get in shape, you’ll make more progress by stopping your negative behaviors than starting good ones. So, before you start exercising, purge the junk food from your diet. Until you stop the damage, you’ll always be taking one step forward and one step backward.
Before you focus on making more money, reduce your spending. Detach yourself from needing more and become content with what you have. Until you do this, it doesn’t matter how much money you make. You’ll always spend what you have (or more).
This is a matter of stewardship. Rather than wanting more, more, more, it’s key to take proper care of what you currently have. Organize yourself. Dial it in. Your life is a garden. What good is planting if you don’t prepare the soil and remove the weeds?
Why do most people stay stuck? They never organize. They just keep adding more, or being more productive, or taking a different approach. So before you “hustle,” get organized.
It’s really easy to get off course in life. Like airplanes, we constantly need to make course corrections.
But we can ensure we get where we want in life by organizing ourselves, planning for our future, tracking our progress, heightening our mindset, and hustling.
Do this long enough and you’ll be shocked.
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Originally published on Medium.
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