Now you need to prioritize the list. There are a number of ways to do this. One way is to imagine that you have only 30 days left to live. How do you want to spend those last 30 days? If your response is to lie in a drunken stupor on a Hawaiian beach then we may have a problem. However, if there are activities you seriously would love to spend your last 30 days doing these are likely among the most important activities to you – they may even be what you are passionate about.
Another thought experiment that you can use is to imagine, really imagine, that you do not have to work your current job anymore. Imagine that you have inherited a million dollars and you are free to do whatever you wish. First, let’s get past the Hawaiian beach – you’ve taken your dream vacation, you are back at home, and now what are you going to do? You can do whatever you wish – what would it be?
This is hard isn’t it? It is for most people. Some people know what their passion is – it burns in them like an unquenchable fire – and frankly they have a significant advantage if they have that gift. The good news is that you can have that too if you take the time and make the effort to find your burning desire – your passion in life.
Do not discount things that you may think seem silly to others. People have made significant amounts of money collecting and selling Barbie Dolls, designing surf boards, making yard decorations like those pink birds, and just about any other silly thing you can think of.
Continue with this exercise until you have arrived at a list of at least 4 – 6 ideas that really make your blood run. (See cold blood section below if none of them capture your passion).
Now refine further. Consider each of your ideas and write them down on a new list. Write them across the top of a page like this:
Gardening Fly Fishing Muscle Building Knitting Kite Flying
Now below each list the pros and the cons as you see them for you. Do not try to decide now whether or not they would be commercially viable. Just consider the reasons you might be excited about them or that you might not.
For instance, under gardening you might list the pros that you love to garden, that you have done it for a long time and have some experience, that you intend to continue to garden and that you would love to write about it. Under your cons you might include that you are not a Master Gardener and may not know as much about gardening as many of your readers would or that you live in an apartment and cannot really garden, although you could specialize in container gardening on your patio.
Now review all the pros and cons for all your chief ideas here, the 4 to 6 ideas you first identified in Step 2. After evaluating them put the paper away and do something else for a number of hours or even a day or two. Get away from it. The question will re-enter your mind from time to time and you may notice one particular idea coming into your mind more often than the others. You may even feel obsessed with following up on that idea. It won’t leave you alone.
Listen to that! Your subconscious is speaking to you. Your inner voice is important. Now go back to your list and re-evaluate again.
As this process continues you will find yourself narrowing it down to one or two subjects at most that truly move you. Once you find those few that seem highest on your list it is simply a matter of reflecting upon them and choosing the one that moves you the most – the one you most intently want to achieve. That is your purpose and once you declare it and work toward it, and it alone, it is your definite and certain purpose.
Immediately write it down. We will talk more in the next post about how to do that, but for now just write it down – do not trust your memory. This is too important. This is, after all, your definite purpose. Write it down.
–next post in this series–
Daniel R. Murphy
Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.