The Art of Strengths Coaching

M is for Making The Time To Do What Really Matters In Life And To Make Magical Memories    

Different people have different philosophies of life. One approach is to keep making the time to do what really matters in life and to make magical memories.

Some people aim to follow this philosophy throughout their lives. Some return to it after a shock. Some put it on hold till they have the time and money to make it happen.

Most people want similar things in life. They want to be hopeful, healthy and happy. Different people choose different ways, however, to get these things. Sometimes these ways work, sometimes they don’t.

Some people may need to go through an epiphany, but that is just the start. As Andre Agassi, the former tennis star, said:

“I got to a point where I realised that just because I didn’t choose my life doesn’t mean I can’t take ownership of it. That was the epiphany.

“But epiphanies don’t change your life. It’s what you do with them that changes your life.”

You can read the full interview with Andre in the Guardian via the following link.

Andre Agassi Guardian Interview

Being aware of our mortality can also help to focus our minds. Zach Sobiech made many people aware of this when he said:

“You don’t have to find out you are dying to start living.”

Zach’s attitude to life inspired people around the world. Here is the introduction to this video about him.

“Every teenager believes they are invincible,” said Zach.

“It’s not the kind of invincible like Superman; it’s the kind of invincible like, ‘I’ll see you in five months.'”

Zach didn’t have five months. He died of cancer on 20 May 2013, shortly after his 18th birthday.

This film gives us a glimpse of Zach’s indomitable spirit, enormous capacity for love, and quiet courage as he approached the end of his life – and the profound impact of his empathy and grace on those he was about to leave behind.

Looking at your own experience, what do you believe really matters in life? You may believe it is important to appreciate life, encourage people and leave a positive legacy. Or you may have other priorities.

At what point did you start to settle on what you believe is important in life? What happened to bring this about? How did you then act to translate your beliefs into action?

Different people take different paths towards focusing on what really matters. Here are three examples of the routes they may take.

Person A

They spent their early years pursuing their interests … They got through school okay despite having some difficulties … They had parents who supported them, however, and who encouraged them to pursue their interests.

They moved on to doing work they found fulfilling … They made enough money to live okay but they did not worry too much about funding … They developed the savvy to get short term successes whilst working towards a long-term picture of success.

They embarked on learning more about life … They explored many different philosophies and spiritual paths … They went to many courses, met many people and tried many different experiences. 

They settled on their values and tried to translate these into action … They learned from successes and setbacks … They now continue to focus on what they believe really matters in life. 

Person B

They were good at school … They were also good at some other activities – such as sport and drama … They resolved to do what it took to pass the exams but they also kept their other activities alive. 

They went on to get a top class education and work with a prestigious company … They recognised what was required to succeed but still kept themselves healthy in other ways … They got promotion and a good salary. 

They looked ahead at the possible career prospects … They chose to pursue the path they found most satisfying, however, rather than commit to a life of endless meetings in claustrophobic rooms.

They moved on to running a business … They organised their life in such a way that they could keep doing the things that gave them positive energy … They continue to enjoy quality times in both their personal and professional life. 

Person C

They chose the path of being an A student … They put in the hours necessary to get the grades … They wanted to do this for themselves but also to meet the family expectations.

They did well at university … They went on to work in a competitive company where the rule was ‘up or out’ … They committed to doing what was required to climb the career ladder … They got married, had children and gathered the trappings associated with being successful.

They then hit the rocks … They had problems in their personal life and this affected them professionally … They got to a point where it did not seem worth the price.

They embarked on a period of self reflection … They then chose to focus on other priorities in life … They took some time to come through this stage … They now feel they are pursuing a more fulfilling route in their life.

Let’s return to what you believe is important. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific things that for you really matter in life.

Describe the specific things you can do to keep focusing on these things that matter in life.

Describe the specific benefits – both for yourself and other people – of taking these steps.

 

People love to create magical memories. Looking back in later years, they feel warm when recalling such times.

They may recall the simple things – such as eating a nourishing meal, spending time with their loved ones or caring for a much-loved pet.

They may recall a special day – such as walking beside the sea, taking part in a sporting event or sitting quietly and marvelling at beautiful things in an exhibition.

They may recall stimulating experiences – such as sweating hard when climbing a mountain, performing in a musical or feeling fulfilled when giving to other people.

Sometimes magical experiences just happen, but sometimes it is possible to increase the chances of such events. How can you create such experiences? One approach is to do the things that give you – and other people – positive energy.

You may get it from deep breathing, walking, gardening, dancing, playing music, caring for animals, creating beauty or tackling certain challenges.

You may get it from encouraging people, being with your loved ones, going to musicals, doing stimulating work projects or sharing certain kinds of adventures with people.

You may enjoy a sense of flow, harmony or completeness. You may feel fully alive, joyful or at peace.

Many philosophies urge us to be positively engaged and live in the moment. This highlights an interesting paradox, however, that one person explained in the following way.

“I feel warm looking back on my memories. We are told to live in the present, but I often fill the moments with recalling the wonderful times in my life. These help me to look towards the future.”

Let’s return to your own life and work. As mentioned earlier, wonderful moments sometimes just happen. But you may be able to create even more by doing the things that give you and other people positive energy.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific activities where you can do your best to make magical memories for other people and yourself. 

Describe the specific things you can do to do your best to make magical memories in these activities. 

Describe the specific benefits – for other people and yourself – of taking these steps.

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