TAKING INVENTORY by James Mapes
I’ve edited this from Chapter 16 “Taking Inventory” of my book – Quantum Leap Thinking: An Owner’s Guide for the Mind.
This is not for the faint of heart but introspection is the key to growth.
QUANTUM LEAP THINKERS ACCEPT THEIR WEAKNESSES AND FOCUS ON THEIR STRENGTHS.
Set your modesty aside. Take that list of all your good points and put them where you can see them. Write them in your journal, tape them on the front of the refrigerator, or write them on the wall of the garage with a crayon. Acknowledge the goodness, wisdom, and specialness of yourself. Celebrate who you are. Appreciate yourself.
THE ‘‘I AM . . .’’ EXERCISE
Write ‘‘I am . . .’’ at the top of a page in your journal or a notebook and complete the sentence as many times as you can with whatever comes to your mind. Write for ten minutes. Keep your pencil moving. Cover every aspect of your life from your superficial feelings to your deepest emotions, from your self-image to your love of nature. Include talents, characteristics, and personality traits. If you get stuck, invent some.
EXERCISES IN MORTALITY
1. Draw a spiral. Imagine the beginning of the spiral is birth. At the end of the spiral, write the number of years you think you will live and place a dot at the point in the spiral that represents your present age. Draw a horizontal line through the dot.
Look at the length of time you have left in this life. How do you want the rest of your life to look?
2. Write your own epitaph, one sentence that represents the essence of who you are and what people will read about you forever. It’s not fair to write, ‘‘I told you I was sick.’’ Make it heartfelt. How would you like to be remembered?
3. Write your own eulogy. Include what you think people will say about you, your outstanding characteristics, and your contributions to your family and to the community. Write the eulogy exactly as you would like to hear it delivered.
4. What contributions have you made in your life time? What have you always dreamed of contributing? Looking at the spiral of your life, ask yourself what you want to contribute in the time remaining, and write it down.
5. What do you want most from life? Keep your response short and simple.
Over the years I have had some fantastic dreams, things I wanted to do and be in the future. They weren’t goals; they were dreams.
I dreamed of owning a second home in the Virgin Islands. The dream certainly wasn’t practical: I had no money, and my family had no money to lend me. But I wouldn’t let it go.
I managed to save enough money to make a small down payment on a condominium. It took me five years, but I made my dream come true.
Since then I’ve created four separate careers, worked on a world cruise, earned my hot-air ballooning license, and acted in films and on television. I’ve struggled for years to finally write a best-seller, traveled all over the world speaking to audiences, and I’ve raced cars on a professional racetrack.
These were all dreams, but none of them would have come true had I not dreamed them in the first place.
There is nothing to stop you from making your dreams come true. Set aside all sense of being practical. Don’t concern yourself with how you’re going to do it. Making dreams come true has no rules.
EXERCISE IN DREAMING
If your life could be any way you wanted it, how would you choose it to be? If you could do, be, or own anything you wanted, what would you do, what would you be, what would you have? Consider the following categories as you think about that:
• Personal Improvement
• Family and Relationships
• Contribution and Charity
Take at least ten minutes and list all the dreams you can imagine. Do your best to come up with a minimum of seventy, and when you are done, you will have done what most of us never dare to do: acknowledged your dreams. This is the first step to making them come true.
Edited from: Quantum Leap Thinking: An Owner’s Guide to the Mind. Sourcebooks, 2003, pgs. 218-220