If there is any merit or importance attaching to a man’s career, if he lays himself out carefully for some special work, it is all the more necessary and advisable for him to turn his attention now and then to its plan, that is to say, the miniature sketch of its general outlines ... If he maps out important work for himself on great lines, a glance at this miniature plan of his life will, more than anything else, stimulate, rouse, and enable him, urge him on to action, and keep him from false paths. Arthur Schopenhauer
Authorities on success have recommended for decades that we all write down goals for ourselves, and that we frequently review what we’ve written. More recently, personal growth experts have suggested that individuals and families as well as businesses create mission statements to express what they see themselves here in this world to accomplish. The great nineteenth century German philosopher Schopenhauer said something interesting about the importance of laying out a big picture plan for our lives or careers. It serves to focus and refocus us amid the demands and distractions of life. It stimulates us, ennobles us, and motivates us to do what we ought to do, and helps clarify what we ought to avoid. It can act as a useful reminder of our own sense of who we are and what we should be about.
Let's go through the philosopher's list. Do you have a plan for yourself that will:
Stimulate you - Catch your interest, grab your attention, wake you up;
Rouse you - Get you excited, elicit your passion, work you up;
Enable you - Offer you guidance, help, and assistance;
Urge you on to action - Suggest what's next and get you moving;
Keep you from false paths - Help with consistency and focus?
What do you hope to accomplish? How would you like to see it happen? Take the philosopher’s advice today, if you haven’t done this already, and sketch out in miniature a big picture plan for your life or work, or even the next challenge you face. Consider it a first draft. And go back to it tomorrow for expansion or change. Then use it as an adaptable map for moving forward.