‘The Three Resolutions’ describe how making three commitments can make quantum improvements in an individual’s life, specifically in three areas. The areas are the physical self in terms of the wellbeing of the body; the ‘mental’ self in terms of character and competence; and the spiritual self in terms of contribution and service to others. The commitments to be made are to overcome appetites and passions through the application of self-discipline and self-denial; to overcome pretentions and pride through becoming a person of good character, and of great professional competence; and to overcome unbridled ambition and aspiration through a focus outside oneself.
When I started this site I publicly committed to a set of rules, values and a personal mission statement that reflected those headings. In many ways I succeeded in executing to a degree, but I felt that I wasn’t as compliant with my intentions as I could or should have been. Asking myself why, and considering the self-generated feedback that resulted, I concluded that there were four reasons why I, and many others, don’t feel as though our level of compliance with our mission statements is as high as we would like.
This realisation led me to consider the reasons for this, and how we could go about addressing the gap between desire and execution in living our personal mission statement; or, for the purposes of this article, living The Way©.
One day, while listening to Stephen Covey’s “How to Develop and Use a Personal Mission Statement” audio, I was struck by ‘the glaringly obvious’. As he spoke about how creation and execution of a personal mission statement can direct us towards what we ultimately want, but towards getting what we want in the way it should be ‘got’ rather than through false or foul means, I concluded that there is only one true route to personal success. It’s a straightforward formula of four phrases. They are:
- Find the Way
- Learn the Way
- Live the Way
- Teach the Way
These four phrases systematically summarise a strategy for living. The system reflects the identification, learning and application process, that process which we all undertake when learning to live, to work, to earn, to relate to others, to manage – everything. They embody all the skills we need to have and to demonstrate in our efforts to live ‘properly’. They also reflect those areas where, if we are not careful, we will act badly.
This system parallels any development process undertaken anywhere, by anyone, for any purpose. It is how a professional learns; it is how a religion becomes ingrained into an adherent to that religion; it is how a family member learns to become a contributor to that family. The reason that such a system works is because it is neutral. It is a principle in action. It is the principle of progression, of starting out as a novice with the aim of becoming a master – if mastery is sought.
I believe that the route to living your Way is taken through these four steps. The steps are progressive and they involve properly and fully identifying the Way, studying in greater detail about how the Way can be executed, then living in such a fashion as to clearly be in congruence with the Way, and finally to reinforce your Way be teaching it.
In brief, the four elements of The Way are expanded thus:
Find the Way. To quote Covey, the first challenges we face when deciding The Way is that we are not sure who we are, and where we want to go. The first task is therefore to decide what values you have or want to have, the associated behaviours you believe will help you comply with those values, and writing them down so that you, yourself, clearly understand them.
Learn the Way. The second challenge, once we have put our fingers on who we want to be and where we want to go, is to learn how to do so. It is about studying and committing to the behaviours that serve execution of The Way.
Live the Way. Having overcome the first two challenges, there remain still further challenges to living the Way.
The first is that we do not realise that we are compliant because we don’t feel as though we are ‘doing’ our mission all of the time. Life gets in our way in the sense that it is hard to consider yourself carrying out your mission when you are filling the dishwasher. Life is full of little routines that have to be done but aren’t, well, exciting.
The second reason for ineffective application of The Way that we have identified is inextricably linked to the first. As our lives are littered with unexciting, routine, non-mission projects, tasks and other activities, we fail to properly and routinely recognise opportunities to execute on our missions. For example, part of my own mission is to be patient with others. Imagine a day cluttered with runs to the shops, commuting in traffic jams, banking and managing money – then something jumps at you and interrupts you and in that second you react impatiently, because you haven’t seen, in the clutter, that opportunity to be what you want to be. The third step is to identify and overcome the challenges and live The Way – the way that you want to.
Teach the Way. And one way of living The Way is to spend a lot of time teaching it. Stephen Covey counselled participants at his many events that the best way to learn something is to teach it to others. He would ‘volunteer’ random attendees and tell them he was about to teach something that they would have to repeat to other participants. Then he would point out to those others that his ‘volunteers’ had just pricked up their ears and picked up their pens – they were now listening because they knew they had to understand what they were about to teach.
That, therefore, is what this site is about. Providing articles and suggestions to help you get what you want, to the level you want, in a principled way. To help you find your Way.
Go to it.