“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.”
– Henry David Thoreau
I’m 43 and I’m training for my first Ironman (as in the triathlon). I was on my bike today putting in some miles. My legs hurt. I was thirsty. I wanted to stop at mile 20. And I felt GREAT. Really great. I was living deliberately and deeply in an area of life that means a great deal to me. I felt fully alive. On shorter sprint rides, I’m working too darn hard to do much thinking, but on today’s longer ride I had some time to think. I thought about the things that I want most in life.
You see, I’ve been reflecting in a serious way on what I want in life for about three years now. I express what I want as “visions” or “goals” for myself. I have more than one goal; I have a goal in each area of my life; spiritual, attitudinal, physical, family, career, finances and recreation. Because I’m talking about biking, I’ll let you in on part my physical goal; it includes completing an Ironman by 2012. Why? It’s hard, requires prolonged discipline, focus and determination, and when I accomplish it I’ll be an Ironman finisher. I reflected on how this would feel as I rode; it felt good just to think about it, and it drove me on. That vision is leading me to force my body to do things I didn’t know it was capable of, and that discipline is carrying over into every area of my life.
When my life coach first asked me the question “what do I want in life” I was surprised to discover that I really didn’t know. I could easily rattle of a long list of what I didn’t want, but I didn’t clearly know what I wanted. He introduced me to an axiom that I’ve found to be almost universally true: “most people get more of what they don’t want than what they do want because they don’t know what they want!”
Putting the hard work (and it is hard work) into deeply understanding what you want is majorly important. Without definite goals, you’re like a boat without a rudder in the middle of the ocean. It doesn’t really matter how much coal you shovel into the engine; you just go nowhere faster. When you don’t know what you want, all your efforts just create busyness or frustration, not the progressive realization of a worthy goal.
Personally, I want everything life has to offer. I want to suck out all the marrow of life. I believe we each have an “assignment” in life, someone we’re supposed to be, and something that we’re designed to do. Being that person and living that life is what it’s all about. My job is to figure out what “fully live” means to me, then go be it and do it. Knowing “what I want” is hard work, but it’s worth everything. It’s worth every penny of the cost to find out.
I’ll close with this – I’m overjoyed to be part of AdjusterPro because we’re a company that lives and breathes the principles of full life and excellence. Every week we look deeply at who we are and the value we offer our Adjuster students and our employees. We look at the value we bring to the industry and we stretch ourselves to give even more.
What does “fully alive” mean to you?