In proper order
There can be some debate about what is ultimately most important to each person. I believe it is vital that each person take a minute to consider what order the four corners of life should be placed in.
Also please note that things like “country”, and City, or giving, etc... All are sub parts of one of these four corners and should be considered as such. The reason for creating four corners is to have the ability to visualize yourself as a complete person acting and living the life you want to live. If the sub parts become “parts” and we have 10, or 20 things on our list it is impossible to keep and hold a simple vision of ourselves. So the technique which is very powerful is to take each part, and detail all the sub parts to it, and then visualize each subpart as part of the part. Example; physically fit, includes your mind, and learning or classes, as well as eating and working out. And spiritually includes service, so service to country, and community fit nicely here.
It isn’t important to spend any time thinking about where the sub part of the goal fits.
Rather almost like word association if I say community service, and you only have four choices where would that fit for you?
I have found that importance of the order “priority” of your goals changes as your life progresses. But the changes I have noticed are not what we might typically think of. In most cases the priority (what you spend your time focusing on) is based on lack of sufficiency in a particular area, rather than any conscious decision or consideration. Seldom does the true order or our priorities change on their own. Typically an unbalanced life causes the order or our priorities to change as we attempt to rebalance our lives.
So if any one item, or items is lacking in our lives then the order becomes distorted by stress and strain, and the unbalance created by the lacking area of our lives. This however is a natural state of growth, stress, strain; resistance is a needed part of growth. Don’t feel bad because you want your spirituality to be your number one priority but seem to spend all day trying to get your finances in order! All that means is you have progressed further in your spiritual growth than you have financially, so you are unbalanced, not greedy, or superficial, just unbalanced. It is really important to make this distinction, between living in a manner that violates your personal priorities for life, and living in a manner that is just trying to balance your life.
Most people have a predetermined set of priorities, or feel that their priorities must match their idealism about what and how life should be lived. If you have noticed this tends to lead to despair as we realize we are not living our lives focusing on the order of our ideal life.
But again I want to refocus on the concept that our focus will be on the areas we are lacking in more than those were we are already blessed with abundance.
I watched a strong man demonstration the other night on TV. The person held onto a chain attached to the back of a Ford Cobra as it pealed out. There was a device to monitor how much pressure in terms of pounds this strong man was holding back as the car spun its wheels and didn’t move. It was an in human 1,500 pounds of pressure. The show went on to explain how this could have happened. Based on the attached electrodes it was revealed that each area of this strong man’s body parts were firing in exact order to generate enough strength to hold on to 1,500 pounds. As it was broken down it was easy to understand, if his legs could squat 400 pounds, and his biceps could curl 150 pounds and his back could hold another 150, etc..
As we consider being able to bench pressing 300 pounds that is pretty strong. But like our key life objectives, in the case of the strong man, if the rest of his body is weak, then he couldn’t hold back the 1,500 pounds of pressure he held onto. Rather his muscles had been developed on purpose, following a plan over time to become strong in each muscle group, and well balanced so his muscles could work in order assisting each body part by combining each individual muscle group into one super human powerful force.
Let’s think about our life objectives in much this same way. This is sometimes referred to as Goal Setting. I like to talk in terms of Goal Attainment. Setting goals is fun, and we can spend a lot of fun time writing down our dreams, and fantasies for our lives. But goal attainment is a completely different concept all together.
There are of course many books written on this subject, as well as many lectures and meetings, as well as seminars all focusing on detailed goal setting programs. I have read about them all, taken the classes, listened to the tapes, then Cd’s, and now the MP3’s all sharing the secretes to setting goals. But let me ask you this. Have you ever set a goal that you didn’t achieve? Yep so have I before I made the simple distinction between setting goals, and achieving them. Achieving goals is much easier than you might think.
It starts with self awareness. You must understand two things. You must understand your ideal order, and next you must become aware of your actual order. Remember the ideal order is how you want to live, while the actual order you are living is based on strengthening your weak area, or areas. Those areas are the ones that you find yourself focusing on.
This doesn’t mean your ideal order is not correct, or you should feel bad about not focusing on the items you want to be the most important parts of your life. If you step back and look chances are pretty good that you are spending a lot of your focus on the areas that are not as important to you as the ones that are. But let’s take a look at our strong man again. If your first priority is your spiritual life, and as a strong man you had focused on your bench press you would find that what you focused on first became strong first. But as you become self aware, as the strong man decided to he wanted to be able to hold back a car from taking off, some 1,500 pounds of pressure he would have to hold onto to achieve his goal, he had to begin focusing on more than his bench pressing ability, and focus on developing his other muscle groups.
That doesn’t mean that his primary focus or importance has changed from being able to bench press a certain amount, or yours has changed from your spirituality being the most important part of your life. If just means that you have become aware that to live the life you want to live you need to develop the other areas of your life also.
So then self awareness is the beginning of all change! With self awareness comes a very important key to goal attainment. I personally have no desire to develop myself into a man strong enough to hold back a car from taking off. But the strong man I watched on TV did, and hence now can. Our dreams and goals are not some random set of things firing off in our minds. Rather our dreams are very much specific to us. By this I mean I am pretty sure my body couldn’t be developed to the point I could hold back a car from taking off. This might be a key as to why I have no desire to develop that strength.
The reason I break down goals into just 4 categories is a belief that to achieve a goal you have to be able to see it and believe it. Defining dozens of goals again is a lot of fun, as most blue sky thinking is, but it is nearly impossible to stay focused on dozen of areas at one time, yet it is your ability to stay focused on a goal that allows it to be achieved!
What should be done? First create a list of everything you can think of you want in your life, and what you want your life to stand for. “who are you?” Then type a one paragraph statement for each category thing you wrote down you wanted to achieve. Now place all items as members of your 4 corners. Then create a vision of yourself.
This may have to be done in two steps. The first vision must be for each corner of your life, taking all the items you placed in that corner and seeing them as one part of your life as we discussed before. Then the second vision is the four corners combining to create the person you want to become.
There is a lot about visualizing I can share with you, but for now let me say two things.
1. Thoughts are real, real is not. Over time we naturally become what and who we think we are.
2. Once you have the vision of who you want to become you want to hold that picture of yourself up and to the right. So when you think about the person you want to become you look up and to the right.
3. Ok, I know I said two things… but this is key to goal attainment. As you notice the differences between how you act today, and what the person you want to be would have done you are not failing, rather you are succeeding. You must notice the small differences in who you are today, and how you act, and compare that to what the ideal version of yourself would have done. Don’t get down on yourself, rather realize that big changes are created by a series of small changes. So as you notice the little things, make the little changes and soon you will achieve your goals!