JOURNAL ENTRY

Expand your horizons

Jan 21, 2020

The best is yet to come. There, I said it: no matter how good it may be, today is not the end game, not the final destination, not the pinnacle of all life has in store for you. No, the best is still ahead of you.

But the fact that the best is yet to come does not diminish the role of the present. You see, where you are right now is not to be dismissed as being undeserving of celebration, unworthy of savouring or cherishing. Far from it. Where you are right now very much deserves celebrating. Where you are right now is worth savouring and must be cherished. Because, who you are right now holds the key to who you become tomorrow.

But you have a choice whether or not you use that key. Just like this clip from the movie 'The Express' highlights, you can choose to surrender the key and exist as a version of you - remain in the here and now, and embrace what is as what will be; or, you can choose to stand firm and take hold of all that living as the real you entails - to set your sights on what is still to come, and embrace what is as the springboard for what could be.

But, to take hold of all that lies ahead in the life you were meant to live, and to live as the person you really are, you first need to know what that life, and that person, look like.

So how do you uncover the pieces of that picture that are missing? How do you unlock, and step into, that future that holds so much for you? Well, if you've read the last few journal entries, or signed up for the Live a Big Life Academy [LINK], then chances are that you've already begun uncovering the pieces you need to build that picture. But that's all you've done - begun to uncover those pieces.

Remember, the best is yet to come; and that means that there is still more to discover. Much more. Which means that there is still work to do. A lot of work. So, here are a few ideas for how you can use what you've already uncovered to unlock those pieces of the picture that you are yet to discover - pieces that you may not even realise exist, but that are an essential part of who you really are.

Start by thinking about how you see yourself right now. What do you feel about your physical attributes? What about your emotions? Or your character traits? When you think of the labels you attach to yourself right now, which ones do you want to distance yourself from? Which do you want to hold close and protect? Which do you want to build on to develop more, better, labels?

Spend a few minutes thinking about how you want to see yourself in the future. Then imagine yourself at an awards ceremony. You are receiving the lifetime achievement award, and the host is about to tell the audience the story of your life, beginning the tale at today - where you are right now. What will they say? Those words that they use to describe you are the beginnings of the portrait of the real you. Write them down. Read them often. Add to them as new thoughts come to mind. Keep allowing that picture to develop.

As you read that description of the future you, what needs to change for that person to become a reality? What small changes could you make right now to start that process?

Then turn your attention to things you enjoy - the activities, experiences, people and places that stir up a passion in your soul. Why do you enjoy those things? What is it about doing that thing, or being in that place or with that person, that makes you enjoy the experience? You see, when you know why you enjoy something, you can begin to identify other things you can do, places you could visit, or people you might hang out with, that would share those same characteristics of whatever it was that you had already identified as something you enjoy. And that expands your horizons, often exponentially.

Take my love of going to the gym. My answer to the “Why do you enjoy that?” question is not “to get shredded”, to be the strongest in my family, to run a marathon, or anything else gym-related. Sure, I like that it makes me fitter and healthier, but the real reason is that it is my place of solitude - my place where the world leaves me alone and I can lose myself in my thoughts, hopes and dreams. So, if solitude in order to think clearly and refresh my brain is my primary reason for going to the gym (and it is), then what else could give me that same solitude? Well, a great many things, of course - none of which I would be likely to consider if I never explored why I like going to the gym so much.

So, think of the thing that, right now, you genuinely enjoy most of all. Write it down. Then ask yourself why you enjoy it - not just the obvious things, but the subtle, hidden aspects of it (remember my gym example - solitude would be unlikely to be your first pick if you were asked why someone might enjoy going to the gym, right?). Then think about what else you could do that would give the same answer to the “Why do you enjoy it?” question, pick one of those things and do it.

Finally, think about your strengths. And remember - no matter what you may think, you do have strengths. Plenty of them. Now, if you always do what you always did, you'll always have what you always had, right? But your strengths have so much more to offer you than what they have already given you. And you can unlock what your strengths can offer you by exploring how you can use them in new ways.

Say creativity was one of your strengths - there are so many different ways you might express your creative strength than just the ways you use it now. And each time you apply that strength in a new way, so the possibilities in front of you open up - your horizons expand. So, pick your number one strength and, each day for seven days, apply that strength in a new way - a way you would not typically use it (check out the VIA Institute [INSERT LINK] for ideas on ways you could put a variety of character strengths to work in new ways).

Give those three exercises a try - you will be amazed - and encouraged - by what flows out of them. And, remember, the Live a Big Life Academy is a free resource that's packed with useful tools to help you take hold of, and use, the key that where you are right now has given you to unlock the door to where you want to be tomorrow. Find out more here [INSERT LINK]


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