How to Create Your Life Principles
December 17, 2020 at 8:00 AM
by Jonah Larkin
Grouse Vista Trailhead

As the end of the year approaches it's a great time to look back, reflect and draw lessons from what's happened.

There really is no substitute for life experience as long as you are willing to learn.  

The question I like to ask is "how do I really understand what happened to me and what lessons can I gather?"

Because our stories about what happened often overrule the facts.

The mind is a pattern recognition device and loves to connect things which can lead to big mistakes in cause and effect.  

But what I know is that you, me and every human has a well of true knowing deep inside, it's simply a matter of accessing that deep knowing.

Obviously that can be easier said than done.

But if you're willing to give yourself just a little bit of uninterrupted time (which is rare nowadays) you can draw some fantastic lessons and insights from your life.

I've designed a simple exercise that I use to draw out the most important lessons from your life.

The good news is that it if you focus it might only take you a few minutes, even though I suggest dedicating an hour to it.

Ready?  Here goes.

1. Make a list of what you are most proud of this year. 

They can be big things like losing 10 pounds, putting conscious work into your relationship or a promotion.  Or they can be things that might appear small but are no less important like spending a great day with someone important in your life or making an amazing paleo pumpkin pie!  

My example: I'm super proud of massively turning around my financial situation this year.  I've been wanting to do it for the last 5 years but always had an excuse.

2. List the REASONS why you're proud.

Within each of the things that you're proud of is a REASON why you are proud. 

Often those reasons are because you did something that is a little out of  your comfort zone.

My example: I'm proud because I made a decision in March to hire a financial coach, even though in my mind I didn't REALLY need the help.  Now I'm $60K ahead of where I was in April.

3. Now distill the REASON into a principle.

My example: I asked for help when I didn't think I needed it.

Principle: Ask for help, even when you don't think you really need it.

4. Repeat the exercise with anything that you are NOT proud of.

My example: I injured my shoulder earlier this year.  I couldn't do a pushup and did nothing for 6 months, hoping it would heal.  Then I gave myself acupuncture 3 days in a row and the injury healed.  Duh!

The REASON I'm not proud is that I let a nagging injury go far too long when there was a really simple fix.

The principle I can distill is: When I'm facing what seems like a complex obstacle, take the next obvious step.  It might in fact be easier than I think. 

5. Take those principles, write them on a piece of paper and post them somewhere you will see them. 

You could also put them in the front pages of a journal, put them on your phone screen or make a computer screen saver.

Here's mine:

BTW, I'd love to hear some of  your principles you've distilled from 2020. 

P.S.  If you'd like to do more of this work you may be interested in one of my alignment and accountability circles where you work on doing the things you say you want to do. 

If this interests you schedule a short call with me to see if it's a fit.