I, like many people, think that the New Year (whichever one you prefer) is a great time to examine the gap between who you are in the present and who you’d like to be in the future. For some, it’s an easy exercise. There are those lucky people who have an action plan and are moving towards their dreams and goals step by step. For them, a minor adjustment may be required but overall they are content with their plan and can continue on their journey knowing that they are, indeed, on the right path.
For others, though, this self-examination can be quite difficult, even painful. They either don’t have a plan and just aimlessly live their life with no direction, or they got so far away from their plan that they don’t know how to get back to where they need to be. In any event, this situation can be daunting but it also can be rectified.
Mary Morrissey, my mentor and founder of the Life Mastery Institute, wrote an essay on this very topic, using the lessons taught by the philosopher, Seneca, as her guide. In it, she explains why having a clear vision of the life you want to live is a necessity.
As she writes, “I’ve found that if you don’t have a clear vision for what you would really love to have, to be, and to do, then you have no clear destination. You end up living by default instead of by design – just accepting and reacting to what comes to you, instead of choosing to do and create the things you love.”
If it’s time for a tune-up to your action plan or, for that matter, time to create an action plan, then this essay is for you!
Here’s Advice from Ancient Roman Philosopher, Seneca, on How to Create a Life You Love
By Mary Morrissey
“Do you feel adrift like you don’t know which way your life is going? Wouldn’t you love to know how to find your direction but are not sure which course you should take?
One of the ancient Roman philosophers, Seneca, delivered some sage advice in his day that we can apply to our lives today. He once said, ‘If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable.’ What did he mean, and why is it important when it comes to you creating a life you love living?
Many of us feel dissatisfied with our lives. We know what we don’t want and we tend to often speak about the things we dislike. But if you ask someone what they do want, many people will say, ‘Well, I don’t know. I’ve never really thought so much about what I want. I just know what I don’t want.’ …
It’s vital to have a clear and specific vision for your life. I’ve found that if you don’t have a clear vision for what you would really love to have, to be, and to do, then you have no clear destination. You end up living by default instead of by design – just accepting and reacting to what comes to you, instead of choosing to do and create the things you love.
Seneca’s quote says that not knowing your destination will lead to unfavorable winds. In this state of unknowing, it doesn’t really matter where you go or what comes to you because none of it will get you closer to where you want to go. You’re just being tossed and turned by everything that’s coming at you, and in today’s world, there’s a lot coming at you.
You have a short, precious span of time called life. What will you do with it?
The question is, what kind of results would you truly love? … In your health, your relationships, your vocation, and your time and money freedom, you can measure your results right now, and you will have measurable results one year from now. But if you’re unclear on where you want to end up in a year, two years, or three years from now, then you’ll find yourself drifting around in the sea of possibility.
You won’t be creating the results you desire – not because you don’t have the capability and potential – but because you didn’t have a goal in mind. You couldn’t harness your potential, your abilities, and the laws of success in order to reach your chosen destination.
How do you determine what you’d really love?
If you don’t know what it is that you would really love, start looking at the areas in your life where you notice some longing or discontent. What are you longing for? What do you wish could be another way? What are you frustrated with or tired of? Notice those feelings and thoughts. They’re actually signals from the power breathing in you, from life itself, designed to wake you up and say, “Hey, you were meant for more than this. Don’t settle here, but get a clear picture of what you want. I gave you an intelligence that empowers you to do that.’
Where would you love to end up? What results do you want to create and experience?
Start with the ‘what.’ The important question is, ‘What would I love in my life?’ When you know what you would love, this helps you design an end point. You’ll no longer be the sailor without a destination, to whom no wind is favorable. Instead, you’ll be on your way to realizing your dream, and a life that you will truly love living.”
As I wrote in Blog # 59, Do You Know YOUR Destination, which builds on Mary’s salient advice:
Yes, your destination does need clarity — something that you can visualize and describe to anyone who asks, like an “elevator” speech. It’s up to you, and only you, to have that visual image, that picture in your mind.
Now, this doesn’t mean that the destination is static. Far from it. You need to hold that dream, that vision, that big goal with an open hand. Meaning, that as you take each step forward, you may realize that the destination has shifted, or morphed, or gotten even bigger than you could have ever imagined, and that’s okay.
So, give your mind a picture that will need to evolve as you move towards it. It’s a living concept, a living dream of the life that you want to create. You do not need to know all the steps required to achieve this dream. But, you have to have some idea of where you want to be in the full spectrum of your life.
With a clear direction, your dreams and big goals will be much easier to accomplish.
Cooking for Joan
Last week, I mentioned that I was going to Atlanta to celebrate my sister’s birthday. My brother Matt and sister-in-law Erin hosted the entire family for a fun-filled weekend of eating, drinking, playing games and just enjoying each other’s company. My siblings and I are all avid cooks, a trait passed down from our mother, Joan (hence Cooking for Joan). But as my sister pointed out, it wasn’t necessarily a love of cooking that led her to the kitchen, in fact, for her, it wasn’t all that enjoyable. She cooked for the love of feeding others and making them happy. That too is a trait passed down to each of us.
Unlike Lisa, I do enjoy cooking. I find that it centers me and brings focus to my day. There’s nothing better than starting a recipe from scratch and layering it ingredient by ingredient until you reach the final product – a complete dish that I pray is satisfying and delicious, especially when I’m feeding a group of people.
It’s at this part of the narrative that I realized that the recipe that I was offering wasn’t even something to cook, but to drink! At first, I thought I should scrap the recipe and go for a cooked dish. But since the theme of this post is about the love of providing for others and my weekend trip, the cocktail stays! I promise next week will be a cooked dish.
Prep Time: 3 mins | Cook Time: 0 mins | Makes: 1 | Difficulty: Easy
- 2 ounces Rye or Bourbon
- 1 oz Ginger Ale (or Ginger Beer)
- 1/2 ounce St Germain
- 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
- Grapefruit bitters (dash)
- Lemon (squeeze and a peel)
Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice (if making an up-drink) or a highball with ice.
Strain into a martini glass or serve in the highball.
Garnish with lemon peel
Serve and enjoy!