Foundations – What I’m Building
In my last article, I explained WHY I’m building, and that reason, in a nutshell, is love. What I mean by love, as I clarified, is not simply a feeling, but a desire so strong for God, the principles, and the people dear to me that develop myself to be as best an offering to them as possible. For example, because I love my wife so much, the questions I ask myself are “How can I be more faithful?” or “How do I make sure my wife has the fittest possible husband?” or “How do I make sure my wife has a wise and intelligent husband?” Or when I think about having future kids, I ask myself, “How do I become a great dad?” or “What is a great dad?” or “How do I balance the need for discipline and the need for acceptance?” For work, which I love a lot, I ask, “How do I make sure my teams have a great leader in me?” or “How do I make sure our leaders are growing spirit, soul, and body, and how do we empower them with the opportunities and resources to grow in these areas?”
I guess you can say I’m thinking of a lot of things. I think we should all be thinking of a lot of things. The ability to reason and think logically and not just instinctively is one of the main things that separates humans and animals.
I’d like to get more specific about how I’m going about the structuring of WHAT I’m Building, not so much to say that these are superior categories or a superior process, but more to give you ideas for how you can approach your own planning. There are many different methods to planning, and I’m always optimizing my own processes. Like an operating system updating to a newer version, I think it’s important that a person is constantly updating their own operating systems, an improvement from David 2.0 to 3.0, and so on.
I. The first thing I start with is a mind map of my major roles, including future roles. I give an example in the photo bellow:
Every role we play in life is both a privilege and a responsibility, which means they are meaningful and can be lost. Many times we take these roles for granted and think we won’t lose them. We can. And we will if we don’t take care of them. No matter how far-reaching God’s love is, He will honor the free-will He gave us if we choose to live independently of Him. No matter how beautiful our weddings were, our marriages will fail if we don’t take our roles seriously and fulfill the responsibilities of the role. It doesn’t matter how much we pray for our health, our bodies will suffer if we do not take care of that dimension of our person. The point is, we need to take account of the different roles we play.
Taking into account future roles is also very important. Someday, if I’m going to be a dad, I’ll need to grow into a certain kind of person. If I don’t, if I wing it, then my child will get a dad who wings it. If I don’t prepare now, my child will have an unprepared father. If I don’t save now, I’ll stress about bills later. In the same way, too many people are living just for the moment and sacrificing future roles. Before they know it the future is upon them and they have nothing to show and no preparation for the opportunities and challenges now facing them. If you’re in college, start preparing for life after college, which is a working, independent, productive life. If you’re single, start preparing for a lifetime of commitment. Start saving, start learning to control impulses, and most importantly, start learning to walk humbly before God. I wish I did more of those things.
II. The next thing I do is I break these roles down into more specific categories. In the photo bellow, you’ll see that I divided my role as a Person, which I believe is to be maximized, into Body, Soul, and Spirit.
I believe that every person has the privilege and responsibility to grow their body, soul, and spirit towards maximum value. Especially if you say you’re motivated by love, you should be motivated to offer a great person to the world. I’ve never met a truly loving person who didn’t want to give their best to the person they love. Who I am is ultimately what I’m offering God and the world, by growing spirit, soul, and body, I offer God and the world a more purposeful, a more loving, a more rested, a wiser, a healthier, stronger, and more energetic person.
I further break these down into the even more specific areas of Diet, Hydration, Exercise, and so on for body, as well as Devotions, Church, and Bible Study for Spirit. This helps me identify what activities I need to do to succeed in these areas.
III. I identify specific activities I will practice to succeed in the category. As David, I have a personal dimension, and that person is made up of a Body, Soul, and Spirit. In the Body category of my person, I need to exercise if I’m going to succeed in my body. The exercises I’m focusing on this year, considering my goals (such as 8% body fat), constraints (time and money limitations), and preferences (I’m easily bored!) I chose HIIT or high intensity interval training (which I can do at home or outside), swimming (my apartment has a pool so no extra cost), and running (which allows me to listen to audiobooks while working out). To these I add specific goals, such as swim 2k straight (which I used to be able to do, but haven’t done in a while) and a 24 minute 5k (which I also used to be able to do when I was much younger).
Having specific goals like these help me plan my approach. For example, to swim 2k, I need about 1 hour at the moment. I don’t have 1 hour a day to swim, so I do this on weekends. For the 24 minute 5k, I currently run 27 minute 5ks, which isn’t too bad, but it’s not good enough for me, so I’ve prepared interval training and running programs to improve. Because time is a limitation, I try to keep my daily workout to 30 minutes or less and my weekends for longer ones. So I spend less than 5 hours a week on my body (not including sleep of course), which isn’t a lot at all, so I have no excuses.
IV. Finally, I identify the details of the activities and schedule them into one time events or recurring events on my schedule.
Thinking of goals and dreams is fun, planning for success, which means planning in detail, scheduling, budgeting, and saying NO to a million things is tedious and difficult – but it’s what gets results. I did this planning exercise with Yasmin, and while she was very excited for this year, she was also incredibly tired after. So was I. For everything we say “yes” to, we need to remember that we’re saying “no” to others. This is where maturity comes in. When I say “yes” to a “renovation” fund, I say “no” to a “David’s New Car” fund (which works for me because I prefer Uber anyway). When I say “yes” to being healthy, I say “no” to many of my favorite food and drinks, and I say “no” to certain expenses to say “yes” to certain investments in health.
In the example above, I show a general view of my role as a Steward (which is someone who manages the resources God has entrusted to him). For me, I have found that I have opportunities and talents in business, social work, and with my art, specifically, writing, music (I have compositions that need to be re-recorded), and painting. For the business areas of my life, I articulate my goals here as the Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) of the company, aligning my goals with the companies’ goals. For art, particularly for writing, I’m in the process of launching my first book. This means I need to identify things like “October Book Launch” or “sign publisher” or “submit manuscript”. These things happen in order. I won’t be able to launch in October if I don’t submit my manuscript at least 3 months before. And these things don’t happen in a vacuum. I have other roles and responsibilities. So I need to plan ahead and plan well.
It is possible to do a lot of things. Like I wrote in an old blog about Magellan, people of today can do what took the world’s #1 explorer a year to do in less than a day. By planning and harnessing technology and best practices, I’ve found that I am able to live a prolific life despite the challenges of every day.
Hope this helps you plan your own awesome year. May God bless us our plans.
Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.