I think the secret to a happy life is living one that you’ve chosen, as opposed to living one that you feel 'happened to you'. A way to choose your life is to reverse engineer it. This is where you think about the outcome you want first, then put in place the steps to make that outcome happen. You build your life from the future backwards.
The hardest part of reverse engineering is imagining the future, but it’s the most important part, as how can you work toward what you want if you don’t know what that is? Do you know what you want? Do you know how you want your life to be? It’s like that really boring question you get in an interview ‘Where do you see yourself in ten years time?’ - this always seems such a ridiculous question, when actually it’s a really important one.
What’s another way it could be asked? Danielle Laporte offers this framed as ‘What feelings do you want to feel?’, the idea being that you don’t think about the material things you want, you just focus on the way you want to feel, then you go about creating experiences to bring about the feelings. One of the questions we ask in coaching is ‘Imagine yourself at the end of your life, you have your favourite people around you, they’re sharing stories about the life you’ve lived and the legacy you’re leaving behind - what do you hear them saying?'. This gets you to focus on the impact you want to have on the world.
Whatever method you use, if you want to live with purpose, creating the life you want and living it, you need to first build a picture of the circumstances you imagine will make you happy.
The rest of the process is pretty simple - you have the picture of the future you want, now work out what you need to do to get there.
In other words, reverse engineer your life in 3 steps:
Step 1 - Define your dream
Step 2 - Turn it into a plan
Step 3 - Make work fit
Photo by Erda Estremera via Unsplash