My Best Visual of 2024

3 Principles for a Purposeful Life

I have created over 300 visuals.

In fact, it might be 400 by now - I’ve lost count.

But I can say with some certainty that today’s visual is my favourite creation of 2024.

Yep! Mrs Wisdom Made Easy and I are expecting our first child.

I couldn’t be more excited!

But I’m also absolutely terrified.

As a lover of journaling, I’ve spent some weeks reflecting on how my life might change over the coming months, and what I can do to make the most of this exciting new season.

These scribbles have led me to 3 principles that will enable me to reach my potential in parenthood.

And it’s dawned on me that these aren’t just appropriate for people becoming parents - these are principles for everyone to reflect on!

So allow me to share 3 Principles for Life:

🪦 The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying

I’m conscious that it seems odd to reflect on death as my wife and I look to bring new life into this world, but bear with me - all will become clear.

For those of you that haven’t heard of The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying, it’s a book written by Bronnie Ware.

She was a palliative care nurse who supported dozens of individuals who were in their final stages of life.

As she did, she got to know them all intimately, hearing stories from their lives and ultimately coming to understand what were their biggest regrets.

I’ve been really wrestling with the second regret mentioned in the book.

It was the second most common, and recited by every male patient that she supported.

The regret was:

“I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”

The second most common regret of those faced with their mortality was that they wish they hadn’t worked so hard.

Even though I think working smart and hard is important for a life of fulfilment, I can see why this one came up.

It’s less about the work that you do, and perhaps more about the sacrifices that you make to do that work.

Bronnie’s male patients shared that they missed out on their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship, all because they felt like they had to earn more and more.

Here’s an excerpt from Bronnie Ware’s website:

All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.

By simplifying your lifestyle and making conscious choices along the way, it is possible to not need the income that you think you do. And by creating more space in your life, you become happier and more open to new opportunities, ones more suited to your new lifestyle.

I’m conscious that I am taking on a huge financial responsibility, so I have no intention to leave my day job.

But tell me if this sounds familiar:

You’re paid a salary for 40 hours a week, but you want to work hard and do a good job, so you work 50+ hours per week, even though you’re not paid for those 10+ hours overtime.

A great work ethic will get you far in life, but is the destination where you’ll want to end up?

I’ll be making sure that I’m working hard during my work hours, but as soon as it hits 5:00pm, I’ll be closing my work laptop to spend those precious moments with my wife and child.

I don’t want to be the person that regrets working too much when I inevitably reach the end of life.

📝 Do you?

🎯 The ABC Goal System

I often wrestle with how useful goals are.

It’s great to have something to aim for, but as someone who has had challenges with his mental health, I find failing to reach my goals absolutely devastating.

This is where Sahil Bloom’s The ABC Goal System comes in.

Whenever you set a goal, set 3 instead:

  • A Goal: An aggressive, ambitious goal

  • B Goal: A realistic, achievable goal

  • C Goal: A minimum-requirement goal

The idea behind having 3 goals is to allow you to achieve your goal even in the days where you don’t feel good.

When you’re having a great day, aspire to achieve your A Goal.

On the days where you feel average, aspire to achieve your B Goal.

And when you’re not feeling good at all, you have your C Goal to fall back on.

This approach allows you to push yourself to achieve big when you’re capable, but also give yourself grace when life gets busy.

Sahil shared this example in his newsletter when trying to completing marathon.

  • A Goal: 2:55:00

  • B Goal: 2:59:59

  • C Goal: Finish the race

He set off with the aspiration with achieving his A Goal.

But as he reached mile 22 with immense cramp forming in the 90% humidity he was running it, he realised he was unlikely to reach his A Goal.

Instead of spending the rest of the race beating himself up, he reset his mind and focussed on achieving the B Goal.

Because of this, he was pleased with his B Goal achieving time of 2:57:31.

But Michael - what has this got to do with parenting?

Well, The ABC Goal System is the thing Sahil shared with me when I asked him for parenting advice when we met in London in January.

He shared that it’s a season where you will have to settle for your C Goals more often than not.

I might not have the energy to achieve my A Goals in business.

I probably won’t have slept enough to achieve even my B Goals in fitness.

I will need my C Goals.

So I’ve already begun exploring what my ABC Goals are and will be in the coming months.

📝 Consider reflecting on this for yourself - what are your ABC Goals?

🪦 The Gravestone Technique

This reflection is not dissimilar to the first principle shared today, but it’s less about avoiding regrets and more about going after what you want.

The Gravestone Technique is simple:

Consider what you would like to see written on your gravestone, then reflect whether the way you live your life would result in those things.

I’m adding “supportive father” to what I’d love to see on my gravestone, and I’m reflecting on what activities I could be doing to ensure that I am a supportive father.

📝 Do you know what you’d like to see on your gravestone?

📝 Do your actions reflect that person that you want to be remembered for?

Another thing that I’d like to see on my gravestone is “helped people get wiser.”

And with that in mind, I want to ask you to help me to help you.

I want to make sure that I’m spending my time wisely, and part of that is understanding how Wisdom Made Easy can help you with the challenges that your facing.

Consider completing this little survey to let me know how I can help you live your wisest life:

📝 Journal Prompts

• Do you work too much?
• In what areas could you use The ABC Goal System?
• What would you like to be remembered for?

Consider journaling through the above questions yourself.

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