One of my chief pet peeves is people who complain about their situation, but take no action to change it. Having a purpose that is actionable increases what you can accomplish and allows you to accomplish more because there is something driving you, allowing you to move faster. I walk at a relatively brisk pace, but it boggles my mind how people who move at 1 mile per hour ever get anything accomplished at work or in their daily lives. I have tried to move that speed and it is damn near painful to do so. If you move with a purpose you will accomplish much more, and be in better health too!
What is a Purpose?
When I finished college we had a capstone course which happened to be taught by the same instructor I had for my first college class 8 years prior. One of the key take aways I had from it was his viewpoint of having a personal mission statement. In prior courses the teachers and textbooks explained that you need something like 8 different items for a mission statement that need to be covered, and this instructor strongly disagreed. He believed that broad and simple was the way to go. His personal mission statement was something along the lines of “To be a lifelong learner and teach what I Learn“. simple, straight forward, and Actionable. Every day he goes to work as a high school teacher, and then in the evening as a college instructor. This simple mission statement helps to define what his action steps are.
The other day a friend of mine was giving his resume’ to someone to seal the deal on a job he was looking to get and his objective started with “To work and be useful…” Once again, simple, straight forward, and actionable.
Your purpose doesn’t need to be anything super detailed or grand, it just needs to exist. If you have something to do, you will move faster, accomplish more, feel better, and in the long run win.
The Action List
Set yourself up each morning by writing an action list for what needs to be done. On my action list I try to throw in expected duration times as well and try to meet those goals. Not sure what action steps to start with? Check out this post on 30 30 minute actions to win with money. Not all action steps need to be finance related, in fact most won’t be. Finance is just one facet of life. Set some long term goals and every day give yourself small goals to get there. knocking off items each day shows that you can get there, provides extra motivation and helps you stay focused and do what needs to be done.
I started giving myself these actions steps after reading this passage from The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE by Tom Peters a few years ago.
A man approached J.P. Morgan, held up an envelope and said ‘ Sir, in my hand I hold a guaranteed formula for success, which I will gladly sell you for $25,000.’
” ‘Sir,’ J.P. Morgan replied, ‘ I do not know what is in the envelope; however, if you show it to me, and I like it, I give you my word as a gentleman that I will pay you what you ask.’
“The man agreed to the terms, and handed over the the envelope. J.P. Morgan opened it, and extracted a single sheet of paper. He gave it one look, a mere glance, then handed the piece of paper back to the gent. And paid him the agreed-upon $25,000.
“The contents of the note:
1. Every morning, write a list of the things that need to be done that day.
2. DO THEM.“
Start your list today. Make something happen. Take control of your life, give yourself a mission, and using the list method and you will be amazed to find out that you are capable of completing in one day far more than you previously imagined.