If I can’t possibly know what life will throw at me, and possess zero foresight into the future with 100% certainty, what can I do to prepare myself for the inevitable adversity that will stand in my way as I begin on this journey?

The Dream Map is the biggest project I’ll ever take on. Its scope is my life, after all. It is at once all consuming, yet depends on razor sharp focus for me to get where I want to go. It is as much a minefield as it is a maze that I must carefully navigate. While I can’t predict every pitfall I will encounter, I can anticipate that there will be pitfalls (this isn’t quicksand that we’re all taught to avoid as children. Unlike quicksand, life is plagued with pitfalls). Here are my core beliefs about this journey as I begin, core beliefs that will carry me through the journey.

Pitfall! (Video Game) - TV Tropes
Pitfall!

โš ๏ธ A lot of this sounds like your Dad’s advice, but stick with me. Although a lot of good advice has been reduced to these generic sayings that we hear everywhere, there’s a reason the advice exists and persists. โš ๏ธ

On Starting

It doesn’t matter how good my plan is if I don’t start. I’ve made it to the starting line. What beliefs got me here?

Belief #1 – ๐Ÿ Start then Plan; not Plan then start

Since I figured out I want to improve my life I’ve been making moves left and right. I will make mistakes, but as long as I avoid ruinous mistakes, I have the opportunity to learn from them. I will learn what moves me towards my Dream Map โคด๏ธ and what moves me away โคต๏ธ . If I wait for the plan to age to perfection before I start, I may find that I have aged to imperfection in the meantime.

Life happens wherever you are whether you make it or not

The extremely quotable Uncle Iroh, Avatar: The Last Airbender

Belief #2 – ๐ŸŽš I Have Control Over my Life

I have agency over my life. I control my destiny. I believe in cause and effect. Statistics remove cause and effect from the equation and are therefore irrelevant. If someone tells me I don’t control my situation, it’s just not true.

On Continuing

Once I start, It is necessary that I do not ever quit, no matter what. It all falls apart if I step up to the finish line only to leave the race unfinished. The question becomes, if I can’t possibly know what life will throw at me, and possess zero foresight into the future with 100% certainty, what can I do to prepare myself for the inevitable adversity that will stand in my way as I begin on this journey? How can I set myself to succeed and thrive when adversity comes along?

Belief #3 – ๐Ÿ•น๏ธ I Cannot Dictate the Future, Only Influence it

Things will happen that are outside of my control. Things will happen that get into the way. It’s up to me how I respond to those challenges and use them as opportunities to move towards my Dream Map.

Belief #4 – ๐ŸŽฅ Doing > Everything Else (e.g. Waiting, Planning, Hoping)

The whole exercise doesn’t matter if I don’t do what it says. Writing this doesn’t matter if I don’t carry on.

Belief #5 – ๐ŸŠโ€โ™‚๏ธ Do Not Rely on Motivation

Discipline can be hard, but it’s important. I find that it’s easier to have discipline if I have conviction about what I’m trying to do.

Belief #6 – ๐Ÿฅœ Distraction is my Most Likely Cause of Failure

A strong vision helps with focus. Be conscious of where I spend my attention because it is a limited commodity. I consider this very similar to the Stoic thinking regarding “Indifferents” (i.e. things that don’t move me closer to the standard). Spend as little time as possible on indifferents.

Belief #7 – ๐Ÿ”บ Change is Inevitable

I can’t possibly know everything I need to know to plan out my whole life as I sit here at 31. My “plan” must adapt as I advance through life and learn new information. If my “plan” is brittle it will fall apart.

Belief #8 – ๐Ÿคจ Trust the process; Everything in its own time (Alternately: Progress is more important than outcomes)

I want to go fast and I continually feel that I’m not going fast enough. Beat this feeling by emphasizing slow progress everyday. Life progress is a combination of steady progress and big swings. Steady progress and big swings both have a role to play.

Xander Hastings - Survivor Season 41 Episode 1 - TV Fanatic
Xander from Survivor 41 knows about big moves.

Steering life is like steering the Titanic, 1 degree time makes a huge difference. Sure there are icebergs, but because the journey is long I can see many of the icebergs a ways off before they come into play.

Belief #9 – ๐Ÿ™… Don’t Quit. Ever.

It’s not about unhealthy positivity. It’s about the relentless pursuit of my dreams. Do I know for sure that everything will work out? No. However, I can do everything in my power to move towards my goal with a relentless reserved for those creatures in horror movies that just won’t go away ๐Ÿ‘น.. Those with the steady march of progress

Belief #10 – ๐ŸŒท The Journey is Beautiful BECAUSE it Never Ends

Joy in the pursuit. I’m grateful to be alive and to have this opportunity to progress. I will stay humble and prevent my ego from convincing me to opt out of the game.

Closing Thoughts

The answer is not a 10 year plan, a plan brittle and likely to fall apart at the sight of change. No, the answer for me begins with a series of beliefs that make up the bed rock of why I am doing this and why I can ( and will) sustain this effort into the future. Rain, sleet, snow, or hail I’ll…get it done (hmm) ๐Ÿ”ฐ .

This is part of my Drawing My Dream Map series. For more, follow along here as I work towards my dreams publicly and in real-time.

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