Welcome to Day 3 of the 5-day Focus Challenge. If you haven’t yet, make sure to complete Day 2 before attempting today’s challenge. Today’s challenge is all about creating momentum towards your ideal future by making sure that you are living your life in alignment with your values.
Let’s get started.
Many people have a misguided idea of passion. They think that passion means doing what you love, but that’s not quite right. The truth is if you are looking for a job where you enjoy it 100% of the time, you’ll never find it. There will always be things that you have to do that aren’t necessarily fun or enjoyable, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them or that you can’t gain satisfaction from them.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is a Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Management at Claremont Graduate University. He literally wrote the book on flow. His research shows that people are happier not when their life is easy, but when they feel fulfilled. So passion is not about doing what’s fun, but that satisfaction and flow actually comes from being able to click in and do the things that are important and have meaning to you.
That satisfaction comes from being in alignment with your vision and values. So if you understand how what you are doing is helping you achieve your ideal future (identified in yesterday’s lesson), motivation and passion come naturally.
Where people get frustrated is when what they are spending their time on is not in line with the future they want to create. Even if you are doing the right things but have lost your “why,” it’s not likely you’ll stick with it long enough to see the results you’re looking for. But when you are in that sweet spot where what you are doing is in alignment with your dream, it’s exciting. You can’t wait to get to work because you know that every minute invested is moving you one step closer to making your dream a reality.
The Three Bricklayers
There’s a famous parable about three bricklayers that illustrates perfectly what it’s like to work in alignment.
While walking down the street one day, a man saw three bricklayers working in the heat of the noonday sun. The man approached the first bricklayer, and asked the man, “what are you doing?”
“What does it look like I’m doing?” the worker replied sarcastically. “I’m laying bricks!”
The man then walked up to the second bricklayer and again asked, “what are you doing?”
“I’m building a wall,” the worker replied matter-of-factly, not even bothering to look up from what he as doing.
The man then walked up to the third bricklayer and again asked, “what are you doing?”
“I’m building a great cathedral to honor my God!” the worker replied excitedly. “It will be the most beautiful cathedral the world has ever seen!”
All three workers were doing the same task, but only the third was really living in alignment. When you are living in alignment, it brings passion and energy to everything that you do. This results in higher quality work, which obviously then translates into higher wages, better jobs, etc. So if your idea future requires an upgrade in pay, there’s no better way to get there than to start working in alignment and bringing passion and joy into what you do!
So in today’s exercise, we’re going to identify what living in alignment looks like for you.
First, take a full sheet of paper and fold it in half. On one side, write the five things that you value most in life. On the other side, write down the five activities you currently spend the most time on. Spend 5 minutes doing this.
Now compare them and answer the questions for yourself: “Am I spending time on the things that are most important to me?”
Next, take a look at your ideal future description from Day 2. Are the things that you are currently doing (the five activities you spend the most time on) moving you towards accomplishing this ideal future? If not, list the 5 things you could do right now that would make the biggest impact in moving you towards your ideal future.
Once you’re done, let us know in the comments!
Update: Day 4 is live.
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