Habit 2, Begin with the End in Mind, means developing a clear picture of where you want to go with your life. It means deciding what your values are and setting goals. Habit 1 says you are the driver of your life, not the passenger. Habit 2 says, since youíre the driver, decide where you want to go and draw up a map to get there.
You may not realize it, but you begin with the end in mind all the time. You draw up a blueprint before you build a house. You read a recipe before you bake a cake. Itís part of life.
Letís have a begin-with-the-end-in-mind experience right now using your tool of imagination. Find a place where you can be alone without interruption.
There. Now, clear your mind of everything. Just focus, breathe deeply, and open your mind.
In your mindís eye, visualize someone walking toward you about a half a block away. At first you canít see who it is. As this person gets closer and closer, you suddenly realize, believe it or not, that itís you. But itís not you today, itís you as you would like to be one year from now.
††††††††††† Now think deeply.
††††††††††† What have you done with your life over the past year?
††††††††††† How do you feel inside?
††††††††††† What do you look like?
††††††††††† What characteristics do you possess? (Remember, this is you as you would like to be one year from now.)
You can float back to reality now. If you were a good sport and actually tried this experiment, you probably got in touch with your deeper self. You got a feel for whatís important to you and what youíd like to accomplish this next year. Thatís called beginning with the end in mind. And it doesnít even hurt.
Why is it so important to have an end in mind? Iíll give you two good reasons. The first is that you are at a critical crossroads in life, and the paths you choose now can affect you forever. The second is that if you donít decide your own future, someone else will do it for you.
If you find it difficult to visualize find a staff member to discuss this exercise.
∑ The Crossroads of Life
Letís take a look at the first important reason. So here you are. You have your whole life before you. Youíre standing at the crossroads of life and you have to choose which paths to take:
††††††††††† What will your attitude toward life be?
††††††††††† What type of friends do you want to have?
††††††††††† What values will you choose?
††††††††††† What kind of relationships do you want with your family?
††††††††††† What will you stand for?
††††††††††† How will you contribute toward your society?
The paths you choose today can shape you forever. Itís both frightening and exciting that we have to make so many vital decisions when weíre young and full of hormones, but such is life. Imagine an eighty-foot rope stretched out before you. Each foot represents one year of your life. Teenagehood is only seven years, such a short span of rope, but those seven affect the remaining sixty-one, for good or bad, in such a powerful way.
The best way to begin with the end in mind is to write a personal mission statement. A personal mission statement is like a personal credo or motto that states what your life is about. It is the blueprint to your life. Previous to this Habit you were asked to fill out a worksheet called the Great Discovery. That assignment will help you create your mission statement along with some upcoming exercises. Here are some examples of some mission statements:
∑ Have confidence in yourself and everyone around you
∑ Ask Questions
∑ Set reachable goals
∑ Speak with your actions, not your words
∑ Be kind, courteous, and respectful to all people
∑ Never lose sight of these goals
∑ Never take the simple things in life for granted.
Remember your mission statement can be several things, or one thing. Mission statements come in many formsóa poem, a song, a quote, a picture, many words, a single word, a collage of magazine pictures. There is no single right way to do it. Youíre not writing it for anyone else but you.† The most important thing a mission statement will do for you is open your eyes to whatís really important to you and help you make decisions accordingly. A personal mission statement is like a tree with deep roots. It is stable and isnít going anywhere, but it is also alive and continually growing. You need a tree with deep roots to help you survive all of the storms of life that beat you up. As youíve probably noticed already, life is anything but stable.
An important part of developing a personal mission statement is discovering what youíre good at. The Great Discovery you completed prior to this habit was designed to help you get in touch with your deeper self. You should have a much better idea of what inspires you, what you enjoy doing, whom you admire, and where you want to take your life. Before writing your mission statement, here are some suggestions to help you create your own.
Method #1: The Quote Collection. Collect one to five of your very favorite quotes onto one sheet of paper. The sum of these quotes then becomes your mission statement. For some, great quotes are very inspiring, and this method works well for them.
Method #2: The Brain Dump. Speed write about your mission for fifteen minutes. Donít worry about whatís coming out. Donít edit what youíre writing. Just keep writing and donít stop writing. Get all of your ideas out on paper.
Method #3: The Retreat. Plan a large chunk of time, like an entire afternoon, and go to a place you adore and where you can be alone. Think deeply about your life and what you want to make of it. Take your time and construct your own mission statement using any method you see fit.
A big mistake a teen makes when writing a mission statement is that they spend so much time thinking about making it perfect they never get started. You are much better writing an imperfect rough draft and then improving it later.
Another big mistake is that teens try to make their mission statements look like everyone elseís. That doesnít work. As you do this remember, life is a mission, not a career. A career is a profession. A mission is a cause. A career asks, ďWhatís in it for me?Ē A mission asks, ďHow can I make a difference?Ē
In the module you were asked to do an exercise where you imagined what you would like to be one year from now. Answer these questions related to that exercise:
1. What have you done with your life over the last year? ______________________________________________________________________________________
2. How do you feel inside? ______________________________________________________________________________________
3. What do you look like? ______________________________________________________________________________________
4. What characteristics do you possess? ______________________________________________________________________________________
5. Determine the three most important skills youíll need to succeed in your program. Do you need to be more organized, be able to get up on time, resist negative peers, and improve family relationships? The three most important skills I need for my program:††††††††††††††
6. Find three of your very favorite quotes and share them here: If you cannot find any quotes see a staff member.
7. Create a personal mission statement.
8. What is the key crossroad you are facing in your life right now? In the long run, what is the best path to take?
Key crossroad I am facing: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
9.The best path to take: __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
10. Create a list of goals