Before you can do wonders in the outside world, you must first raise your standards about what you can do in your inner world. The essence of effective personal management is effective mind management. And the essence of effective mind management is mental discipline which is nothing more that controlling each and every thought to ensure that it is a useful and good one. Every thought concentrated in the direction of your dreams is like a little nugget of gold, advancing you confidently in the direction of lasting life wealth.
When your every thought is in the direction of where you want to go in your life that is in the direction written clearly in your personal mission statement, your actions follow and become productive ones. Everything is created twice: once as a blueprint in the mind’s eye and later in your reality. The process is very similar to the work of an architect who first draws a sketch and plan of the way things will look in the new building and then methodically follows this blueprint to create the structure.
The guiding principle of effective personal management is a simple one: put your life goals first. The things which truly matter to you should never take a backseat to those which matter very little. By your mission statement, you know very precisely what matters most to you. It may be becoming the very best family man that you can be or the kindest mother ever to walk the face of this earth. Your life’s goals may be to become wildly rich or famous. Perhaps you have determined that you want to be a doctor or a professional athlete. Part of your mission may be to develop your character to the fullest or get into super shape by creating a winner’s mindset. Your mission might also include the goal of achieving peace of mind and inner serenity. Any of these dreams are attainable, you have learned that. The key now is to see that every thought and action taken in the direction of these goals will get you closer to them.
Remember the 80/20 Rule: 80% of the results come from 20% of your activities. Recognize which activities will make the difference in your life and get you to where you want to go. Then focus your energy and attention on these. This is one of the best Secrets of Successful Living. Robin Sharma puts it aptly: “The real secret in getting things done is knowing what things need to be left undone. Once you start spending the hours of your days only on those high-leverage activities and priorities that will advance your life’s mission and legacy, everything will change.” Most of history’s greatest thinkers have arrived at the same conclusion. The sage Confucius puts it this way, “the person who chases two rabbits catches neither,” while the Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius said, “Let thine occupations be few if thou would lead a tranquil life.” Management guru Peter Drucker made the point of wisdom in yet another way when he wrote, “There is nothing as useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Focus on the worthy.
Every step in another direction, no matter how pleasant it might be, will keep you that much farther from what you have already determined means most to you in your life. Therefore, the overriding principle is to never let what matters most to you be sacrificed to those things that matter the least.
THE TRIANGLE OF PERSONAL MANAGEMENT
Your time and daily activities all exist within the three points of the Triangle of Personal Management. As you will see in the diagram which follows, your actions fall somewhere within Segments 1, 2 or 3 (S1, S2 or S3) and the Heart of the Triangle.
S1 reflects activities which you might be doing which are pleasurable but of no value (i.e., television often falls into this segment of the triangle; you enjoy watching it but recognize it really gets you nowhere). S2 reflects those activities which appear productive and important but which really have little “Big Picture” value because they do not advance your mission and life goals. S3 reflects those crisis activities that always require our attention whether we like it or not. These are the little “bush fires” and urgent matters which often appear as we journey through life and take up an undue amount of our energy.
In the center of the Triangle of Personal Management is the Heart of the Triangle. When you have thought deeply about what you truly want out of your life, when you know what your life’s mission and meaning is, this place will be your home. When every thought is in the direction of your goals and dreams, almost every second of your time will be spent in the Heart of the Triangle. And when it is, your life will take on enormous power. You will become the strong master of your mind, body and character.
You will realize that nothing is impossible and that your dreams are not beyond your grasp. You will reach this level of thinking and you will visit this place very soon if you stay committed, enthusiastic and concentrated on the limitless possibilities of your life. This is not a place for a select few people. This is a place where you belong with all others who raise their lives beyond the mundane to the infinite. This is a place where hopes and desires all come true.
Study the Triangle of Personal Management and commit yourself to living your life within the Heart of the Triangle. This will not be a restricting way to live but a very freeing way of organizing your life according to your dreams and guiding principles. You start to develop unshakable confidence and security as well as an appreciation for the value of time and the limitless achievement which is your potential.
Living your life according to the Triangle of Personal Management is not just one way to live; it is the only way to organize your life. If you study every great superachiever, if you study anyone who has arrived at their Perfect Life, you will see that they live by the Triangle. This is not just a time management matrix; this is a life management matrix. A golden rule for effective and productive living is a strikingly simple one: “time mastery is life mastery.” Guard your time, it is your most valuable commodity. Once it passes through your hands, it is gone forever. Time is the great leveler. We all start off every day with a twenty-four hour gift. What separates the peak performers from the weak performers is how this gift is used.
Balance is another key ingredient of the highly-developed achiever. It is essential to live a life of balance. Every person must strive for a balance between moderation and the burning desire to fulfill one’s potential. By living with both eyes firmly planted in the direction of your goals, you do not lose the balance and fun that this world has to offer. First, there is nothing more fun than attaining your goals. Second, your life goals (your mission) must be sufficiently thought out to maintain the essential balance in life. For example, your mission statement should include life goals such as being the most adventurous person you know or the most balanced, relaxed person anywhere. A good mission will keep you on track but also well-rounded. But keep in mind that we all travel different roads to our ultimate destination. For some of us, the path is rockier than others. But no one reaches the end without facing some form of adversity.
BY CAPT. SAM ADDAIH (RTD)