Some years ago I read Steven Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. He recommended that the readers create a mission statement — advice I followed. After a few months I came up with this. It’s my personal mission statement.
Ah, this is embarrassing. I don’t always live up to these ideals, even though I strive to continually aspire to live up to them. I’m not the smartest person in the world. I’m often very dumb. I’m just trying to enjoy my life and help other people enjoy theirs.
Without further ado:
Maintain my sense of direction. “You have to have a vision of who you want to be otherwise, as Thomas Burnes said, ‘you are just a leaf being blown around by the leaves of circumstance.’” Hone an honest self-image and start living a life true to myself, not the life others expect of me. Be the kind of person I want to meet. Either hack at the roots of evil, or work to get in position to. Do the first things first. “Seek not to imitate the masters, seek what they sought.” Be a light, not a judge. Be a model, not a critic. Be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. Always try to get better, but maintain realistic expectations. Some is better than none. Introspect often. Nourish self-control. Strive for balance, don’t let anything consume me. Remember that moderation in all things includes moderation in moderation. Differentiate the important from the unimportant. Prioritize my life and health over my career. Continually try to develop new proficiencies and learn new things. Keep trying to build good habits and don’t give up on the habits, keep working until they are fully integrated. Free myself from procrastination, and try to keep a routine. Get rid of excess baggage. Subject my wants to my needs and my means. Exercise wisdom in what I choose to eat, drink, read, watch, and do. Remember:
|You cannot play with the animal in you without becoming wholly animal, play with falsehood without forfeiting your right to truth, play with cruelty without losing your sensitivity of mind. He who wants to keep his garden tidy doesn’t reserve a plot for weeds. — Dag Hammarskjold|
Try to meditate and exercise daily, and get good sleep every night. Hold onto my hobbies. Free myself from swearing, especially inside my head. Regularly save or invest my income. Try to appreciate all things. Plan for things in advance. Plan for what I want to do tomorrow, next week, next year, within five years, before I die. Think about all decisions in terms of the long term goals and long term ramifications. Take one step forward in some direction that matters to me each day. Stay strong, stay focused. Feed opportunity, starve problems. Always question my views and opinions. Be flexible and open minded. Laugh more. Do the right thing or the most right thing. Lie as little as possible. Make commitments and keep them. Accept others so that there is no need to forgive and forgive those I have yet to accept. Let go of grudges. Avoid hurting others and be understanding of their faults. “If you’re going to bow, bow low.” Find happiness in the process of accomplishing my dreams — and remember, happiness is best shared, so work to make life more enjoyable for others, and therefore, for myself. Forge valuable relationships. Do more than I say. Listen to understand, not to reply. So seek first to understand before attempting to be understood. Scrutinize assumptions. Avoid arguments which bring no prize, propound no change, or offer no reward.
It is not what the world can do for me; it is what I can do for the world.
Go all in.
Update: That which I find embarrassing about my mission statement is the quality of the writing, obviously. It is full of clichés, which are what they are only because of the frequency with which they resonate with the masses, myself included. No, it does not embarrass me that these ideals are often aspirational — To the best of my knowledge, I am human; to stumble is to be human. “By our stumbling the world is perfected.” I’m not necessarily sure that these aspirations are correct. Perhaps many of these clichés are platitudes or misinformed. I do believe truth exists, however, even if I might not know it, and even if I might never know it. I don’t have much of a social media presence, and intend to not restart one. I don’t have comments turned on not because I don’t want suggestions, but because I want suggestions only from those whose opinion I value.