I’m halfway through reading Grit, written by Angela Duckworth.
The book gives tremendous insight into the difference between talent and effort, and analyses which of these traits is more responsible for driving individual achievement.
I recommend you read it.
One of the ideas that has stuck out to me so far is the idea of “creating a life philosophy.”
In the book, the author quotes NFL quarterback Pete Carol. Pete went through ups and downs in his journey to be an NFL hall of fame coach, but along the way he created a life philosophy.
This way of looking at your life will help you accomplish your goals and help you develop purpose for your life.
What is a Life Philosophy?
A life philosophy is a “north star” in the map of your life. It is the desired ultimate outcome that can act as a mechanism to help you make better decisions.
You can determine your life philosophy by asking yourself a simple question…
What is the impact you want to have on the world?
- Is there anything you would like to be remembered for?
- What is the legacy you wish to leave behind?
- How do you wish to serve the world?
Not everything in life has to be altruistic and I am a firm believer that personal ambition is as important as the willingness to help others when thinking about leaving an impact. With that said, there is no question that being of service and reducing suffering is a great way to achieve individual success as well as contributing to the lives of others. That’s why the questions above are such a great starting point.
Once you have developed your life philosophy, you now have a lens through which to view the world and a gauge to help you determine whether you are on the right path or not.
Your life philosophy will assist you in knowing what TO DO, but perhaps more importantly, it will assist you in deciding what NOT TO DO.
You have a finite amount of time and resources in our life, and focusing your efforts into a specific outcome will help you stay passionate and persistent in achieving your goals and having the impact we wish to have.
How to Put Your Life Philosophy to Use
The best way to show this in action is for me to give you an example on my own life philosophy.
I want to help others achieve financial freedom, freedom from addiction, and freedom from mental health challenges by creating remarkable online media brands that teach others how to achieve these milestones on their own.– Me. I said this.
Now that I have a north star, how do I use it?
Your life philosophy is a lens through which to view the world. Now you can look at everything in your life and measure it against whether it will get you closer to or further away from your desired outcome.
For example, I get emails almost every day from startup companies who want to raise investment capital. I love investing in companies, but most of the time these deals can be distractions. Every time one of these opportunities comes my way, I always ask myself whether investing in this company is in line with my life philosophy. If it isn’t, then I pass on the deal.
This is clearly an oversimplified example, but I hope you can see how your life philosophy acts as a filter to guide your choices in life.
What Does This Have to Do With Grit?
I wrote an article a few weeks back on how you can develop grit. At the time, I didn’t take into account the value of a life philosophy, and how it enhances the ability to stick with problems long enough to solve them.
A life philosophy helps you maintain grittiness because it eliminates the need for instant gratification. If you filter your life through the lens of your life philosophy, then every choice you make is looking further down the timeline of your life. Your choices are investments in your future self.
Grit is not necessarily about working hard or even about being disciplined. Grit is about having “stick-to-it-ness.”
It’s much easier to stick with a problem when the reward for solving the problem is in line with where you envision your life to be in the future. You remove the impulse of instant gratification.
This helps you keep your eye on the prize.
This is the Trick to Solving Laziness
I don’t actually believe in laziness. Here’s why…
I have never met a guy who was not willing to drop everything he was doing, get a shower, and jump in his car if it meant that a girl he liked was waiting for him.
In that particular instance, every guy I’ve ever met is perfectly willing to put in the work if it meant the incentive was meaningful enough.
Laziness therefore is not a lack of potential or even a lack of motivation, rather it is a lack of incentive.
Establishing a life philosophy for yourself is the best way to develop an incentive that will help you stick with problems long enough to achieve your desired outcome.
The only question is, what will your life philosophy be?
Are you brave enough to define what it is you are working toward? Do you have the courage to make yourself vulnerable enough to truly articulate what it is you want?
No one can force you to do it, but I promise you it will be worth it.