Every activity or action you do in life leads to some sort of a final outcome. There are two ways of looking at this. The first approach is doing as you feel in a certain moment and letting the final outcome be a surprise. It’s a very spontaneous strategy, but one thing is for sure: you’ll probably end up in a totally different situation than you imagined.
Most people go for this strategy. It’s much easier to go with the flow. It’s much easier to surrender yourself to your inherited behavioral patterns, environmental forces and outside stimulations. The problem is that a spontaneous strategy rarely leads to what you really want in life. If it were that easy, everyone would be happy and successful. The sad truth is that only dead fish go with the flow. Life wants you to struggle and fight for yourself.
That leads us to the second strategy. The second strategy is having the final outcome in mind, the endgame you really want. After you have the final outcome in mind, you work on your personal development, you don’t react to environmental forces but are instead proactive and so on. You take initiative and control of your life. You become aware of your personal power and never let it go.
Here, friction comes into play. The more your endgame and final outcome are different from your current situation and your path in the past, the more effort it will take to turn the ship the other way. You know the saying that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. A different desired outcome simply requires a different type of thinking and action. Thus if you want to attract different situations and final outcome in your life, you first have to change yourself.
Of course this path isn’t easy, but it’s definitely worth it. This is how you develop your character, this is how you level up your game. You go for something that’s different from what was given or meant for you. You decide for a different, better direction. That means friction. That means struggling and fighting. But that also means reaping all the internal (character development) and external (goals you have) rewards.
Always start with an endgame in mind
Okay, so there are two possible strategies. One is that you let life kick you wherever it wants. It may be an easygoing strategy, but sooner or later, life will kick you somewhere you don’t want. The second strategy is to start with the endgame in mind and then work on yourself and actions that will lead you to the final outcome you want. The second strategy demands much greater efforts, but then the rewards are great as well.
The second strategy will definitely bring you a better life in the long-term, but the question is why most people decide for the easier path. The real reason for that is that most people don’t even know what they really want in life. People have a really big problem answering the simple question of what they really want out of life. There isn’t much besides wanting a big stack of money. And if you ask them “What for?” the answer is: “You know, to not struggle and to enjoy more”. That’s definitely not a winning character.
Thus the first step is always knowing what you want out of life. That’s why you start planning your life with a life vision. Your life vision is the list of everything you want to experience in this life. At the end, you’ll be very happy if you realize about half of the things on the list. Life is much shorter than we think. After having your vision and prioritizing things you want to experience, you also need to have an endgame in mind.
The final game or endgame for every single thing you choose from your life vision list is your very detailed description of what you really want from life. Because the more exactly and clearly you know what you want, the easier it is to get it, the easier it is to build an adequate strategy. Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say that your vision list contains being super fit at least once in your life, maybe especially when you’re young. In that case, this part of your life vision should be a really high priority, since you’re never going to be any younger than you are today.
But what does being fit really mean to you? Here, having the final outcome or endgame in mind is important. Does it mean having a muscular body or running a marathon? Does it mean being able to climb the highest mountains or being really good at basketball?
The idea is to have a really clear outcome in your mind. Try to visualize (imagine) your final outcome. You can also help yourself with making personas. Try to see yourself having a muscular body or finishing a marathon. Ask yourself which image sparks the most intense positive feelings in your body. Which image is the one that motivates you the most? That is your endgame. You need to have a really clear picture of what you want out of life. The more details you have about your final outcome, the better.
Connect your every single activity with a final outcome
You’ve probably heard of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow's hierarchy of needs is portrayed as a pyramid with the largest, most fundamental levels of needs at the bottom and the need for self-actualization at the top. The pyramid has six different types of needs. The most basic ones are physiological needs like air, water and sex. Then we have safety needs like personal and financial security. The next ones are needs of love and belonging to family, friends and spouse. Then self-esteem needs come into play, giving a sense of contribution and value. The final ones are self-actualization needs.
The lower you are on the pyramid, the clearer it is why you’re doing things. You need to breathe air with the final outcome to survive. Same goes for your shelter. But the higher you go on that pyramid, the less clear the outcome is defined. The higher you go on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the more it is up to you to define the final outcome you really want and then fight for it. The higher you are on the pyramid, the more life is a blank canvas and your job is to create as beautiful a picture as possible.
Thus everything you do, every activity, action, connection or investment is connected to your final outcome. If it’s not on your vision list, if it doesn’t lead to the final outcome you desire, stop doing it. I know it’s hard and somehow scary to take control of your life, but it’s the only way to really live life to the full. Don’t do things just because you’re used to doing them or because the society expects you to do them or because you’re scared of trying something new. Do things that lead you to the outcome you want.
- Are you having a fight with your friend or business partner? What is your most probable final outcome? Is that something you want?
- Have you read a lot about a specific topic? What is your final outcome?
- Do you watch TV a lot? What is your final outcome?
- You don’t spend much time with your kids? What will be your final outcome?
Ask yourself about the final outcome you want, especially when starting any new activity. Even if you don't have a final outcome in mind, ask yourself where will your actions lead you. Don’t start something just because it sounds good or your friend asked you to. Think about the possible outcomes, think about the outcome you want the most. If there is no outcome you really want, save your energy for something that’s more important to you.
An exception is the beginning
The more you have control over your life, the easier and quicker you can decide if something is for you or not. The more you are mastering your life, the easier it is to connect activities with final outcomes. But beginnings are quite hard, especially the first step.
Thus when starting to take control of your life, there’s nothing wrong if you try and experiment and decide for some activities that don’t yet lead to a clear outcome. What’s important in the beginning is that you kick yourself out of the comfort zone and just start doing something. It’s why you first need to be in the search mode and not put any pressure on yourself. With time, what you want becomes clearer and clearer, and you can so easily switch from the search to the execution mode.
As I’ve mentioned, changing your life route is not a linear process. It takes a lot of trying, experimenting and failing. It’s not like: “okay, I’m going to change the course of my life”, then you struggle a little bit, and a miracle happens. Especially in the beginning, you have to stay open-minded, be prepared to fail and learn. Choosing yourself means that things never get easier, only you get better.
But even after going from the search to the execution mode, you still have to stay flexible. There come times when you need to go back into the search mode. Life always throws you off the tracks from time to time, you do things based on wrong assumptions, you fall and things don’t go according to plans and so on.
Your final outcome may be delayed, or may even have to change, but that’s a part of life. Because it’s not only about the final outcome, but also about the journey. That’s why you need the Agile and Lean Life approach. You have to stay flexible, you have to adjust your path to the final outcome or maybe even adjust the final outcome itself based on the feedback you’re getting from life.