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Identify and Work Toward Your Map Changers
September 10th, 2012 by Robert Moskowitz  Posted in Career Advice

The road to successWhen Columbus discovered America, when President Thomas Jefferson made the Louisiana Purchase, when the U.S. completed construction of the Panama Canal, these events changed the map of the world.

That’s a perspective you can productively maintain when you’re thinking about your own future and how to build yourself a better life.

Missing Advice

There’s lots of advice given about goals, including setting goals, honoring goals, achieving goals, breaking goals down into bite-size tasks, sequencing goals, and celebrating goals.

Those sentiments are all well and good. But we hear nowhere near enough advice about working toward really big goals that - if and when you achieve them - will change the map of your life.

Such large goals should probably not occupy all your time - after all, you have everyday responsibilities and priorities, like eating, maintaining relationships, taking care of mundane business, and so forth. But at least one “map changing” goal ought to be on your “to do” list all the time, because a “map changing” goal deserves to absorb at least some of your time and energy every day.

Map-Changers Defined

Basically, a “map changing” goal is one that will fundamentally change your life for a very long time, if not permanently. There are several important differences between a “map changing” goal and an ordinary goal. For example:
  • An ordinary goal fits into the regular flow of your life. A map-changing goal revises that flow
  • An ordinary goal should be set so you have a reasonable chance of achieving it. Map-changing goals are so large and significant that you need not expect to reach it - ever. It’s like trying to win the lottery: Great if you do; no downside if you don’t.
  • An ordinary goal is generally aimed at down-to-earth interests and objectives.
  • Map-changing goals are aimed at fulfilling your dreams and wishes.
  • An ordinary goal is all about ambition and hard work. Map-changing goals are all about overcoming fears and allowing wonderful things to happen.
The basic idea of adding map-changing goals to your life is to think big, and to take the steps necessary to allow that big thing to happen.

Opening the Door to Map-Changing Goals

Here are some ideas on how to add map-changing goals to your daily life:

  1. Think big and dream for a while. Consider the kinds of changes you’d like in your life, changes that would make you a totally different, better person.
  2. Focus first on one concrete change that would bring you the tools, or at least the opportunity, to be that different, better person. (Nearly everyone thinks first of “becoming wealthy.” Money’s OK, but you can probably do better. Be more specific and creative.)
  3. Translate the concrete change you want into results of some specific actions you can take, and thus invite that change into your life. Maybe you could learn to play an instrument and express your creativity in music. Maybe you could work toward a specialized degree and begin a totally new career. Maybe you could move to a different region where opportunities are more in line with your interests and talents.
  4. Create a plan to take those specific actions toward a map-changing goal, and work that plan at least a little every single day.
You need not scoff when people talk about and ask you about your regular goals. Those are still important. But now you can begin to maintain the larger, deeper perspective that includes map-changers, and can resist distractions from your plan by the hum-drum necessities of everyday life.
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