It’s standard advice in the personal development field. You have to set goals. And you have to learn to set them intelligently and skillfully.
You have to make them manageable, measurable, short-term, etc. Many even offer their own colorful acronyms for what standards your goals need to meet.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Setting goals is important. And it’s important to be able to do it well.
But goal-setting is simply not enough.
As we have all experienced during the pandemic, the world sometimes refuses to cooperate with our plans and our goals.
We all need something else. Something more robust that we can use to guide ourselves.
Something to give your activity purpose and keep you on track, making progress while still being flexible. Especially when the world turns upside down.
Otherwise, you may find yourself continuously failing in your goals and getting frustrated because the world is doing things beyond your control.
But we can do better. We can calibrate what I call a Good Life Compass.
With this tool, you can get a clear sense of what your true ethical north is. What is truly important to you in life. And you can use it to guide yourself, to tell whether you’re on or off-track with your own vision of the good life. No matter where you are.
You build/calibrate it by going through a few simple steps.
First, you articulate your Workview, your philosophical view of work.
You do this by writing down (in about 250 words) what role you think work should play in your life. In doing so, contemplate questions like what’s work for? What does it mean to you? What defines worthwhile work? What do money, experience, growth, and fulfillment have to do with work? How does work relate to the individual, others, and society?
Second, you articulate your Lifeview, your philosophical view of life.
You do this by writing down (again, in about 250 words) your view of the world. In doing so, contemplate questions like why are we here? What is the meaning or purpose of life? What is the relationship between the individual and others? Where do family, country, and the rest of the world fit in? What is good and what is evil? What is the role of joy, sorrow, injustice, love, peace, and strife in life?
Finally, you synergistically integrate them into a Life’s Work View, a single harmonic whole that includes both.
You do this by seeing how they relate and revising them to make sure they don’t conflict but rather fit harmonically together and complement one another. Consider where your views on work and life clash, where they complement one another. Does one drive the other? If so, how? Then you write down (in about 300-400 words) your synergistic integration of your Workview and Lifeview.
You see, all too often our Workview and Lifeview don’t fit together or even pull against each other, pulling us apart as they take us in opposing directions.
By taking the time to consciously integrate your Workview and Lifeview, you can make sure this does not happen to you. And by taking the time to do this, you can bring incredible clarity, purpose, and meaning to both your work and your life.
Once you’ve built this Life’s Work View, you can use it as a Good Life Compass. You can consult this View to get a sense of your true north, a sense of what is truly important to you in life. And you can use it to guide yourself, to tell whether you’re on- or off-track according to your own vision of the good life. No matter where you are in life.
Even if the world keeps frustrating your goals, you can always use your Good Life Compass to set new goals that align with your vision of the good life while incorporating the world’s complexities.
Hope you enjoy building your own Good Life Compass and using it to find greater life direction and purpose!