Welcome back to the Growing Tree of Life, our weekly exploration of personal growth and well-being.
Trees floating in the air with soil carved around the roots to spell the word GROW.

Issue Number: #073
Date: 18 June 2024
Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Right Time for Goals and Growth

Welcome back! In our last newsletter, we explored how time is the most precious resource we have, focusing on relationships and understanding the concept of timing from ancient Greece: Chronos (measured time) and Kairos (the opportune moment). Today, we're continuing this conversation by delving into how we can set realistic goals and foster personal growth by living intentionally.

Living Intentionally: The Art of Living

The Art of Living isn't about merely progressing through life or surviving day to day. It's about leading an intentional life, where our present actions shape our future in meaningful ways.
Think about planting a seed. You can't rush its growth by sheer force of will, but you can provide the right conditions—soil, water, sunlight—to help it flourish in its own time. Similarly, for our dreams to bloom, we need to create the right environment through our daily actions, choices, and habits.

Realistic Goals: Focus on What You Can Control

When setting goals, focus on what you can influence. If your dream is to write a book, you can’t control how many people will read it, but you can control how much time and effort you dedicate to writing each day. Goals grounded in your actions are realistic, while those dependent on external factors remain dreams.
By aligning your daily actions with your long-term goals, you're planting seeds that will eventually lead to fruition, given the right conditions and time.

Understanding the Threat of Regret

I’ve had my share of regrets, such as chasing after what Aziz and Luca told me (more about them later) which led to destroying the things that matter the most, such as my relationships. This was a crucial lesson: inaction, wrong goals and lack of self-awareness lead to future regret.
The only way to avoid regrets and find direction in life is to accept these three crucial truths:
  1. Finite Timeline: Recognize the urgency of time and that life is limited.
  2. Inevitable Compromise: Accept that any life path will include challenges and compromises.
  3. Self-Belief: Cultivate the belief that you can achieve your goals, improve, and succeed.

Exercises to Implement the Three Elements

1. Finite Timeline Exercise

Understanding a finite timeline helps us clarify what truly matters. This exercise was already in the last newsletter but it is so important that I decided to include it again and expand on it a bit.
  • Imagine different scenarios of how much time you have left (5 minutes, 6 months, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, etc.) and consider what actions you would take.
  • Follow up by asking yourself what you would do if you knew you couldn’t fail. (That helps to clarify your truest desires free from fear and distraction.)

2. Inevitable Compromise

Consider the concept of the five different personas—Five Bosses—in your head (this I learned from the book "Your Head Is a Houseboat" by Campbell Walker):
  • Selma the Sensible: Focuses on safety and financial stability.
  • Luca the Liver: Seeks immediate pleasure and lifestyle enjoyment.
  • Freya the Friendly: Values community and social connections.
  • Aziz the Ambitious: Desires success, status, and power.
  • Gilda the Giver: Aims for altruism and helping others.
When deciding on what goals you want to pursue, ask each "boss":

"What would you do with your life?"

and select the answers that satisfy a majority of them. Aim for at least four happy bosses out of five to feel content with your direction.

3. Self-Belief

Recognise limiting beliefs that have been ingrained from childhood or past experiences. Flip these limiting beliefs by asking “Why not me?” and delve deeper into the reasons, often finding them baseless.

Connect The Dots Exercise:

Write down what you wanted five years ago, currently want, and think you’ll want in five years. Draw the direction between them to identify repetitive patterns pointing towards your life path.

Your Best Guide: Your Future Self

Here’s another powerful exercise to help you align your goals with what truly matters:
Imagine scheduling an appointment with yourself 15 years from now. Picture your older, wiser self on a deathbed with the chance to advise your current self. What do you think your older self would say?
Would you continue doing what you are doing now, or would you make significant changes?

Today’s Tip:

There are four different exercises in this newsletter. Try each of them. Their combination will give you insights from four different angles.
The things that pop up repeatedly are most likely the ones you should pursue. By regularly reflecting on your path, you can ensure that your present actions are paving the way for a fulfilling and intentional life.

Time is your most precious resource. Use it intentionally by aligning your actions with your long-term goals and values. Let's make every moment count.

Thank you for reading, and see you next Tuesday

PS: There is a lot to unpack in this newsletter. If you would like me to dive deeper into some parts, let me know and I will do that in one of the future newsletters.

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