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Deciding fast and slow #2: Finding what's important for you in life

How to find your goals?
Here's a method I propose, based on the work of Ilia, co-founder of INCoaching:
1. Get a white board (See? It's already fun 😀 )
Write down everything that you'd want. Big things and small things. Money, pizza, a girlfriend, a six pack, and so on. Continue until you have 40-80 things. Try getting all areas of life. Don't just list your favorite foods.
2. For each item, ask "Why do I want this? Is this a tool to get something else". For example, if you want a six pack in order to get a girlfriend, and that is the ONLY reason, then make sure you have "girlfriend" written down, and then strikethrough "six pack".
So you are striking through TOOLS and collecting GOALS.
How to make sure "six pack" is only a tool to get "a girlfriend" ?
Ask "If I'd have a girlfriend, would I still want a six pack?". If you ask me, yes, I'd want it. I'd want people to think that I look good. *Write down "people think I look good"*
"If I'd have a girlfriend and people would think I look good, would I still want a six pack?" Yes, only a little, but I'd want it to keep my body healthy. *Write down "healthy body"*
"If I'd have a girlfriend and people would think I look good and my body would be healthy, would I still want a six pack?" – No, I don't think so. strikethrough six pack. All it's goals are on the board.
So we removed one tool and got 3 goals.
But maybe these are just middle-goals? For example, maybe having a girlfriend is a tool for something else? Maybe what I really want is to feel loved, and to look good, and to have sex. And if I'd have all of those, then I wouldn't really want a girlfriend. So strikethrough girlfriend, and keep finding the higher goals.
Are you imagining a tree of goals going up?
Good.
Are you thinking that everything leads to "happiness"?
I hear that a lot.
I'm pretty sure that not all your desires are simply tools for being happy. Values are complex. For example, you probably wouldn't want to "be happy", and at the same time, that your mother will be tortured without you knowing about it (so that it won't make you sad).
But this discussion isn't important. If you believe that everything you want leads to being happy, just don't strike-through the tools that are one-level under "being happy". For example, if you have "having sex" which is ONLY a goal for "being happy", then write down "being happy" (if it's not on the board already) and keep "having sex". This way you'll collect the important tools that lead to you being happy.
You should end up with 4-15 "high goals".
3. Sort your "high goals".
Start by assigning each one an "importance" value of 1-100 SIU (SomeInventedUnit). The value should somewhat express which goal is more important and also by how much. But don't be picky, the number is just a tool 😉
After you finished the initial sorting with the numbers, use bubble sort: "Which is would I prefer, goal[0] or goal[1]? Which would I prefer, goal[2] or goal[3]?", to verify.
4. What are your 2-4 most-important-goals?
YOU LIFE IS ABOUT ACHIEVING THESE GOALS.
You might notice what a bad strategy you are currently taking in some areas. "How didn't I do this earlier?"
People have various realizations at this point, and I rather let you discover your own instead of creating expectations from other's experiences.
ELI5: How does this help
You think about everything that is important for you. So you don't miss anything.
You find what's MOST important (ehh.. how does one ELI5 about critical paths?.. Luckily you're smart and you know how important they are)
Tips for the preprocessing
1. Use a friend.
2. Ask me. This is also the first time I'm writing about this instead of being the friend, so I probably did a horrible job and you have tons of questions 🙂 I'll be happy to reply. If I can mass-produce people who are goal-oriented by having them read my blog, that would be an epic win for me

One thought on “Deciding fast and slow #2: Finding what's important for you in life

  1. Pingback: Deciding fast and slow #1: Deciding slow | Potato Ninja

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