“First say to yourself what would you be; then do what you have to do” Epictetus
What would you be? What do you have to do? What do you have to sacrifice?
June is the month for graduations – and for many the month for commencement. The term “graduation” connotes an accomplishment achieved. “Commencement” instead connotes the beginning of something….a new beginning. For those commencing over the next few weeks I will be sharing a few of the keys to success. With “commencement” in mind Epictetus’ words seem especially appropriate.
When I first read those words, many years ago, I thought along the lines of vocation or career. Sound advice: what career do you want? Then what do you have to do to achieve that career? However, as I read these words again a different meaning comes to mind: character. What kind of person do you and I want to be? Then having made that decision, what do we have to do to become that person?
The advice is the same for both understandings: first decide what you want then do what has to be done to become that.
Here then is the first key to success: decide what you want – establish clear definition of what it is you want. You want to be rich? How rich? When will you know you have earned enough? You want to be healthy? What does that mean? Healthy enough to run a marathon? A triathlon? Play with your grandchildren? Peace of Mind? What do you want? Be very clear, see it in your mind as if it were an accomplished fact. Then determine what you have to do to achieve that accomplishment. Again, be very clear about what it is going to take. What are the sacrifices you will be required to make. Know the sacrifices going into the becoming as much as possible. There will always be the unknown and unexpected, but as much as possible with clear thinking decide: are you willing to make those sacrifices?
What do you value most? If you are interested, I have a Values Clarification process available at no cost. Simply email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send it to you.
In the meantime: what do you want? What will it take to make it happen? Do you want it enough to make the sacrifices necessary?
FYI: Epictetus was born a slave to the secretary of Nero around 50 A.D. He was born in what is now Turkey. He so impressed his owner by his aptitude and attitude that he was set free and a school was established where he could teach.