The Practical Part of Life Authoring
Thoroughly to know oneself is above all art, for it is the highest art.
— Theologia Germanica
One of the goals of Life Authoring is to provide you with ways to creatively break out of impasses so that your learning process about life and yourself shall be smooth and without hurt. If you develop a positive attitude to life, you will become aware of options that formerly you could not see.
I am talking about life. Well, there is about no bigger subject than that, I suppose. How can one dare to take such vast a topic and come up with ideas? Let me specify then. What I want to tell you about is your life, and more precisely, the kind of life you live — and the kind of life you may not want to live.
Right now you may lead the kind of life you may not want to live. We are going to talk about certain things in your life that you control and certain things you do not control because you think that you cannot control them.
You have been made believe that we are all limited. You have been made believe that you in particular are still more limited than the rest of humans! As a result, you tend to look what others do before you engage doing anything yourself.
I went through the same trauma. It took me forty years to get free from the entanglement with my own self-defeating beliefs.
Authoring your life is a method that assists you in building identity; not a group identity, not a belonging-to; not a family addiction, not a pedigree, but an original or first-hand identity. If you are identified with your family, or with your car, or with your job, or with your country — you do not have an identity. You may have a derived identity such as Owner of Cadillac Seville 4.2 or Owner of One Son and One Daughter or Owner of Office Suite #4233. Apart from the fact that we do not own our children, you are lacking a personal and individual identity.
I am going to talk about building genuine identity, the true thing, not the fake. With an individual identity you lead a first-hand life. With derived identities you lead a second-hand life. So I will be trying to help you getting started to lead a first hand life. In order to do that you need to author your life, as a first step. As a second and final step, then, you need to publish your life.
My conviction is that our life needs authoring as a book needs authoring. A book that is published without proper authoring would be an incomplete book — a mere draft. Your life may right now be this, a draft, not an authored piece of life that you can publish. That may be the reason that you want to hide behind your family, your group, or your nation. That may be the reason that you do not want to reveal who you are. In fact, you cannot reveal an identity that you do not have. So, when we see that, let us ask what is necessary to build an identity?
If you ask a psychologist they will tell you that you need to have come out alive from your primary symbiosis and have mastered your Oedipus Complex. That means that you must have been in love with your parent of the opposite sex without actually having made love with him or her.
Don’t ask me if this is true or not. I have some indications that there is truth in this, but I do not know if in all cases and invariably this is so. It seems that it has some validity for Western culture, and much less for non-Western cultures.
In other books of mine you find more about this subject. I am not going to teach you psychiatry nor do we try to overcome our primary symbiosis or early emotional deprivation complexes.
The Personal Vision Statement (PVS)
I begin with vision instead. What is vision? Vision is a forward train. It pulls you. First you project into the future a picture, a perfect image of something you would like to see happen in your life.
Then, this picture, once it is created and nourished with positive emotional energy, will attract all the events it needs to become visible reality. Thus it will pull you into the future, the future you would like to see realized for yourself, or other people you love or care about.
This is not magic though it is kind of magic. It is magic in the sense that it looks a bit like a circus joke, but is not. It is a serious method that is used in corporate training all over the world. It’s called vision building. I have successfully taught it for years in seminars for hotel managers, middle and top level. And this method works not only on the individual level, but also for groups, which is why it can be customized for an organization as a whole.
Here we deal only with the part that serves as an identity builder. This is perhaps something new for you. As far as I know, vision building has not yet been combined with identity building. The idea came to me by monitoring the people I was training. I found that the ones who had already done some vision building were much more assertive and dared to present themselves using the ‘I’ form instead of using ‘one should’ formulas, so typical for the stuck pseudo-identity. Furthermore, they were more easily ready to admit mistakes, more stable in group interactions and generally at ease with taking on responsibility.
This observation triggered in me the idea that there must be some link between personal vision and personal identity in that vision builds identity or beholds identity. Perhaps the opposite is equally true, that identity builds vision? But the latter is not important because this will be kind of automatic. We do not need to worry about people who have built vision. They surely will make their way!
For those of you who do not find this obvious, I wish to recall a survey that was made in 1954 at Yale University, in the United States. Career consultant Laurence G. Boldt, in his book Zen and the Art of Making a Living (1993), reports the event:
For example, in 1954 a survey was made of individuals graduating from Yale university. It was found that only three percent had definite written financial goals; ten percent had a clear idea, but had not written it down; eighty-seven percent had no idea of their goals. Twenty years later, these Yale graduates were again interviewed. The three percent who had written goals had made more money than all the rest combined.
I wonder why, after this study, vision training is not yet introduced in school curricula? It is in my opinion more important than all other subjects. And it pays more!
My point, then, is to build identity through building vision!
How to build vision? There is a little procedure to follow. It is a bit mechanical or technical, but this is only the outer framework. The content is your own production, and you can become very creative in doing this!
You should become creative, and there is really nothing you could not put in there. All is possible and all is allowed! This is your first principle. The second principle is that you have to get some clarity about priorities. Let’s go step by step. Here are the steps to carry out:
- Write on a blank sheet all what comes to mind that you would like to have, to be, to become, to control, to create and to relate to;
- After having written it, put an order to it by drafting categories such as Me, Possessions, Creative Realizations, Relationships, Intimacy, etc. You can name them as you like;
- Read this list several times and then put it away at a special place where it is safe;
- Sleep one night or three over it and take out the list again; read it once. Note all what comes to mind regarding a long-term global vision of yourself that would encompass all or most of what you have stated in your wish list or that would allow you to realize these wishes;
- Draft your personal vision statement in assigning to it the following categories:
- Global Vision
- Creative Realization
- Relationships and Intimacy
- Fame and Merits
In Global Vision, you try to formulate in a general way the kind of person you would like to be from now on, that you would like to project into the future so that it will become tangible reality.
In Creative Realization, you write about the ideal way to realize yourself, the way of living and creating that really would fill you with happiness, power and satisfaction. Do not think about how this way of life or activity could possibly feed you or your family, and how you could make a living from it. Simply assume that it will. If you doubt it, take a famous representative of such way of life and ask yourself if this person could possibly have become famous if they had doubted their talents or capabilities in much the same way as you do?
Relations and Intimacy
In Relations and Intimacy, you write about the love relationship that is ideal for you, that is your secret dream; what you do is to describe in detail this relationship and the partner you desire. Do the same regarding work relations, collaborators or business partners. It is as simple as that.
Fame and Merits
In Fame and Merits, you write what you would ideally like to represent in the world and for the next generations. Do not be modest! Modesty is certainly a virtue on the outer level, in relationships, in the way you come over to others, in your attitude. But inside, when it comes to vision building, modesty is not appropriate. Look in the personal biographies of our great geniuses, and you will see that they were all but modest! Take an example in Julius Caesar who said Veni, vidi, vici! — and write your wildest dream! Yes, you can be the most famous person in the world for your particular achievement or talent. While the wish alone will not get you there, the wish is the important first step in a process of wish-fulfillment that you are going to learn here.
With clarity about your wishes, your life is already transformed. But drafting your vision statement is not enough. You have to read it aloud at least once a day, and you have to revise it. The vision statement is an expression of your present wishes and desires, your present dreams, your present imagination. However, you change as life constantly moves and changes. You may change in a way you have not foreseen.
It has happened to me often that I stated wishes or dreams in my vision statement and later smiled about my former desires and thought that life must have known better. The interesting thing namely is that life does not deprive us from anything good we desire but it smoothly directs us in ways that are even better, even more prosperous, and even more intelligent than we ourselves could have foreseen or planned it.
That means that at the end of the day all can come out only better. Or it will not come out. And if it does not come out, it was for our best that it did not come out. That sounds simplistic, but it is really so. I have experienced it frequently during the last years. And every time, I later shook my head about my narrow mind or my awkward wishes. Yes, life knew better, and therefore I do not worry!
Now, let us have a look at the details …
Your Global Vision
The first step in drafting your vision statement is what I call your global vision. This is a rather general vision of your future self and life orientation. This vision is value-based. This means that it is not so much the outer forms of life that you should focus upon, not so much the standard of life you’d like to have, but the values you are standing for or you would like to stand for in the future.
Imagine yourself at the moment of death, looking back at your life, and getting a flush of insight what actually was your mission. Presently, you are not at the moment of your death, but in the midst of your life, which makes a big difference, namely the difference that now you can still find out what your life’s mission is, and realize it.
This is easy and difficult at the same time. But it is never too late. First of all, accept that what you are doing now is perhaps not your mission. You may do something for temporary reasons, for financial security, for just having a job. That would mean that your work is not your mission. The difference is one of pleasure, one of deep satisfaction, or the lack of it …
What is pleasure, what is deep satisfaction related to carrying out a mission? If you had asked me fifteen years ago, I would not have been able to tell you. Now I can give you an answer, and one that is not taken from a book.
Pleasure is when you do things not for money or any reward you get for doing them, but for the mere doing of it, for the great inner adventure that warms your heart and fills you with energy. Deep satisfaction is among the most wonderful feelings you can experience in your life. It is a feeling based upon inner and outer freedom. As long as you are not free, but caught in a web of obligations, deep satisfaction is impossible. As to myself, I had to get rid of a traumatic marriage first, and of a profession that I did not like and had not freely chosen. I had to get rid of guilt feelings, and of a self-defeating attitude to always give up when I am getting involved, of a terrible illusion that suggested I was utterly powerless.
As long as you are entangled in self-defeat, you cannot see that feeling powerless is an illusion. Because when you are caught in this illusion, you really are powerless.
Every change is a change of consciousness first of all.
There is no feeling, sexual gratification included, that can even remotely be compared with deep satisfaction. It is the utmost that life can offer. It is love, I think, in its purest form. And it is entirely free! But only for those who risk to do that step into freedom and who accept freedom as the single most natural state of being that is compatible with human dignity!
When I was still caught in the bondage of the various I should or I ought to, I saw this freedom only in others. I saw deep satisfaction in people that we call creators, artists or famous people. I saw and admired artists like Pablo Picasso, Svjatoslav Richter, Henry Moore, Andrès Segovia or Keith Jarrett, but also great psychiatrists like Carl-Gustav Jung, Alexander Lowen or Françoise Dolto. I felt their power, I was filled with enchantment when I read their books, listened to their art or corresponded with some of them.
Their unique achievements accompanied me over many years of my life and contributed decisively to my personal growth.
At that time, I was not yet ready to really comprehend that the same deep satisfaction I saw in these persons could be a fact, a reality in my own life. As so many, I had a tendency to argue ‘Wow, these people are much greater than I because they are much more capable, and probably also because they got much more support than I got. As a result, their life is glorious whereas mine is unimportant.’
But there was another voice in me saying: ‘No, this is not true! You are great as well, probably in a different way. You have your destiny, too, and it’s only a question of how you handle your power that you get what you need to realize your talents. And you definitely have talents. But you have perhaps an identity problem, and should tackle that first of all.’ I had moments indeed, when I was sitting at the piano, and felt I could play like Richter or Jarrett, or when I contemplated one of my Picasso favorites, and felt I really have a strong inner affinity with Picasso’s art that in some way showed in the sketches I made as a child, when my mother jokingly called me Little Picasso.
And I felt this same affinity when corresponding with Alexander Lowen (1910–2008) in New York or while interviewing Françoise Dolto (1908–1980) in Paris. At that time, I was working as an alternative educator with problem children and the only competent positive feedback I got for this exhausting work was from Dr. Dolto. She was the only person who recognized immediately this inner power I exhibited in my work with children, a power I myself did not dare to admit. She was the only person with whom I could openly discuss my alternative approach in education, and who found my work useful and worthwhile, necessary and valuable for the future of education. This happened after so many frustrations, so many disappointments, so many involvements with children in which I had been extraordinarily successful with healing the children from their various problems, involvements for which I had got almost no remuneration and rarely any positive remark from the side of parents or other educators.
The experience that I had with great people and the way they can mirror you, and the greater You in you has taught me to restrict my personal relations to the ones that are really worthwhile and that bring along an exchange on a level that is beyond personal likes and dislikes, cultural differences, social conditioning and all the rest of the social soup — and that brings out what I would call immediate truth.
Great people indeed emanate something like immediate truth, which is probably the irradiation of their strong and healthy vital energies, the integrated power of their vision and mission. And when meeting them in person, as I met for example Françoise Dolto or Svjatoslav Richter (1915–1997), I could feel their vital force streaming through me even days after I had met them. These few encounters with really powerful, creative and truly intelligent people enriched me more than all those years fooling around with mediocre, negative, petty, powerless and perverse people.
To draft this first paragraph of your vision statement, and to get clarity about your global vision, it is in some way necessary to meditate so as to get attuned to your highest possible vision. Please follow this little cook book if you need help with doing that. Please, for two days, take this diet:
- Stop watching television and reading the news;
- Stop having sex with your partner;
- Take a retreat from work or a small vacation;
- Avoid eating dairy products and, if you can, meat;
- Meditate twice a day for about half an hour.
Recite the following prayer to yourself:
‘I am now and forever completely clear about my life’s mission. I have known this mission before I came here and remember it bit by bit. It brings me extraordinary joy, fulfillment and deep satisfaction to get in touch with my highest inner vision and my life’s mission. I trust that this is all revealed to me now or at any moment I am ready for it.’
Once remembrances, feelings, ideas, insights, intuitions, monitions or dreams come up, write a note. Write all that comes to mind, whatever it is.
Do not judge or evaluate it! It may take a while until you have a real and stable clarity about your life’s mission. In my own case, it took a period of several months! But this does not mean that I have waited all those months until I drafted my first vision statement. I wrote many statements before the one that I eventually accepted as the ultimate and final draft.
In the beginning I namely did not know the difference between a vision statement and a wish list. That came only later. So I first mixed it all up. But it doesn’t matter, as long as you keep going.
Once you have triggered the process, your unconscious will work constantly on refining and redefining your vision. You will get dreams and intuitions and you should by all means note all of this, even though you may not understand much of it yet.
Frequently I do not understand the deeper messages my subconscious mind reveals to me in my dreams. However, I take note, and later usually see that this way of doing is very useful. Notably, I can revise my notes and see connections and intuit associations that help me identify the deeper sense of many of my problems and shortcomings. This is a great support for your understanding the larger scheme of life and it is one of the ways to acquire wisdom.
Now, do the diet, to begin with. Use this moment to write something that looks like a global vision. Don’t say ‘No, it’s too early. I do not have a clear vision yet. I wait!’ Then you may wait until your last supper. Your vision is moving and growing as you move and grow, as life is constantly moving and growing. So it’s never too late and never too early. The present moment is holy. The two days are your time. More is not in!
Your Creative Realization
Let us switch over to a more detailed version of vision building. After stating your global vision, it is natural to go more in detail. But be careful! Keep in mind that your subconscious is very intelligent in realizing your global vision, even though you may not have given any detailed instructions.
On the other hand, it will take more time for a global vision to realize if you leave it completely open to your fate to realize it. The way of doing it best is to meditate again — with or without taking another two-days diet. I did it by simply opening the page with the global vision statement and reading it several times. Then, as if a ghost was leading my hands, I typed, very quickly, the complete detailed vision statement.
This was only after having done quite a few things already. Naturally, I am a person who is very spontaneous and intuitive. I generally do things without planning. I just do what feels great in the moment I feel good for doing it.
And I have setup my life in a way that I can live that way! However, I was brought up in the completely opposite approach, and that deprived me of almost all my power. As a result, I could hardly realize my style. It took me years to find back to my original continuum and inborn lifestyle, and to learn trusting my feelings and intuitions on a daily basis.
It took me more than thirty years in fact! Since then, my life has become coordinated, and my work much more effective — and I feel less torn up. I begin every day without any planning, just following my intuition on the great lines of my vision, and with definite work projects, and my pleasure is immense when proceeding with the activity that I am really hot for.
This is actually all a vision statement can and should do: line out a red thread that gives the overall direction while leaving enough creative space, freedom and spontaneity for living our life on a day-to-day basis. Do not force yourself to come up with details of your global statement. The details emerge spontaneously when the moment is right. If they don’t come up, your inner guide probably finds it better that you stay with the general statement. Always keep in mind that later you are anyway going to revise this statement, typically on a monthly basis.
I once wrote in my vision statement that within one year I will own a Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow. At that time I already owned a Jaguar XJ 4.2 Series 2 limousine. I had seen some second hand Rolls with Auto Becker in Düsseldorf, Germany, and thought I could afford to buy one in about one year. What happened the next year was that I had an accident with my Jaguar which resulted in a damage that was so expensive to repair that I had to sell the car.
In the meantime, I had decided to continue my academic career and to graduate in Geneva, Switzerland, as a doctor of law instead of continuing my work as a lawyer in Germany. So I went on a scholarship abroad. My financial situation was so difficult that after having lost my Jaguar I could not own any other car for the next years!
This is perhaps a good example of how life can show you better ways! You may smile at this example or it may confuse you. I will come back to it later. What the example shows is that you may overthrow your initial wishes by setting other priorities — and this is of course within the freedom of our will.
Vision and Time
Should you put a time element in your vision statement?
In the beginning, I did it, following what other coaches said in their books. Experience convinced me however that time elements in vision statements are not functional and even counterproductive.
First of all, we do not master time, as the ancients said. In a way we do but at a level so subtle that it is really difficult for most people to be aware in advance of the time the universe will need to fully incarnate for them a project from the first sketch until final realization.
In addition, when you put yourself under time pressure, you will experience frustration: if for several times your time estimations were wrong, you will invariably begin to doubt the whole thing. And that may be the end of it!
Doubting the usefulness of vision statements more often than not leads to abandoning them. And that is the worst that can happen. And yet your assumption is based on an error. The fact that you mismanaged the time element — which is absolutely human — does not mean that your whole vision was wrong. You may say, well, yeah, that’s obvious. But we fall in this trap all the time, confusing the time element with the content of our visions or plans. Then, when we fall in the water, we throw our visions and missions overboard.
Keeping your fingers off from time is the safest way to keep to your visions!
But as I am here in contradiction with most other coaches, you better get your own position on this delicate question! If you ask me, just work diligently and with some wisdom to keep the middle way. Then fate, using its invisible strings will make sure that all comes out in the right time and place. Such is my experience. What I teach is not taken from books, so much the more as I often contradict the established ways of doing. Most other coaches ask you to write little cook books with neat accurate time frames: ‘I’m going to marry in eight months.’ ‘I’m going to stop eating ice cream within two weeks.’ ‘I’m having relaxed sleep at the end of March.’
Stop fooling yourself; and more so: stop others fooling you! Imagine my frustration when, after about two years of drafting vision statements, I realized that in no case, in no single case, my time estimations had become true! So what is the sense of it? If you want to do it by all means, please follow other instruction books.
If you follow me, leave time to the gods and devils, and keep affirming the essentials of your vision, while staying focused! The other books say that our subconscious mind needed some time frame in order to operate properly. They say that in case you do not put a time frame, your subconscious mind was going to reason that this may well take a life-time to be carried out. This is not true. Our subconscious mind is not programmed to be sluggish or to waste time. In the contrary! Nature is coded to be very economic with time, and with energy. There is no waste in nature besides the waste stupid alienated humans have ejaculated into this world.
Your subconscious mind does not work faster if it is put under pressure. In the contrary! It is more likely to even sabotage your project if you stubbornly base all your efforts on willpower only!
Instead, you may remember your vision statement in moments you are carrying out specific tasks and you may see from a certain moment: ‘Well, this is not going to be on time as I put it in my statement. This is going to be greatly delayed. What a failure! Or perhaps I’m stupid anyway!? Or I simply don’t do this idiotic vision stuff any more.’ This is going to be one possible reaction resulting from this kind of doing. Can you tell me where the positive point is in that? I cannot see it.
What I see is that there is great danger to rush things, to force things, to push yourself and others, and to mess up all at the end. And, worst of all, to lose motivation!
Relations and Intimacy
Relationships are very important. But still more important is to be at peace. You cannot live at peace with others if you fight yourself at any moment, if you struggle and make war with some or the other part in yourself. You cannot live in harmony with others if you are torn up inside.
This section of your vision statement is destined to envision your personal and professional relationships. We all know intuitively what we need on a personal level. We all share this need for the right distance and the right closeness in relationships, and often have a problem that our relationships are either too close or too distant.
We all share a need for tenderness, for being understood, for being caressed, for waking up in the morning with this wonderful feeling that at our side is somebody we really love.
You can begin this section with stating and describing what you find would be your ideal partner. Please be cautious about your inner dialogue, when doing this, and namely avoid falling in statements like ‘Well, I won’t put this, because anyway I can’t have such a partner. Those great folks are not interested in people like me.’
Please beware. In vision building, there is nothing —
- … that cannot;
- … that ought not;
- … that should not;
- … that is impossible;
- … that cannot be changed;
- … that cannot be improved.
Your ideal partner is simply the outcome of a relationship that fits for both of you. What is for you the ideal love relation? What are for you good relationships, be it business relations, relations with employers or employees, comradeships, partnerships?
The art of vision building consists in making abstraction from anything we have experienced before. This is not easy. Many are impregnated with bad experiences, with failure, with destructive relations, having exploited others or having been exploited by others, having abused others or having been abused by others. We cannot just wipe these traumatic events under the carpet. If I would ask you to do that, I would be simplistic.
We cannot disregard scars, and we cannot make forget things that are still hurting inside. What we can do is to gradually get a distance to those events by working on our present and, doing this, on our future.
While I am aware of the difficulty, I suggest you to simply be attentive to your present conditions yet to see them from a certain distance, as if you were watching somebody else in this same situation. Do not search for a solution, do not search at all! Remember what Picasso said, ‘I do not search, I find!’ In the same way, you find and do not need to search. You find, inside of you, the image of the relationships that sound ideal to you, the relationships that fill you with delight when you only think of them.
Then you transcribe your image with simple words and fix it on paper. Of course, you can also fill in details that describe the character of your ideal partner or business partner and situations how you would like to meet the person. But when doing this, do not write in the future form ‘I shall’ or ‘I will’ meet him or her. For the unconscious, the future does not exist. So if you write in the future tense, there is little chance this is ever going to come true.
For our subconscious mind, only the present exists. So then, write ‘I meet my partner now.’ But please bear in mind that this ‘now’ is subject to realization and that your subconscious must find the moment that is right, that is ideal for this event to happen. Thus, you have to be patient, but in your affirmation you have to put the now option!
More your vision is detailed, more there is chance it will come out within a relatively short time span. If there is chance. The problem is that the partner, the circumstances or anything else that you have stated may not be subject to control. This is always the case when you involve other people in your visions. We can of course not rule other people according to our wishes because this would be black magic!
Thus, visions can only come true as long as the other person equally has the wish to meet and love us. Therefore, it is wiser to remain a little vague about certain details and leave it over to our inner guide to choose the ideal conditions for the realization of our desires.
When you give a greater space to fate regarding the outer circumstances, limiting ourselves to merely fixing the detailed inner content, for example the character of our ideal partner, fate has more possibilities to attract the really ideal person. If not it may attract a less ideal person in order to save time or you have to wait a long time, or you will need to change outer circumstances many times, for example changing residence or profession so that you are closer to the potentially ideal partner so as to meet him or her at the new location.
This is why writing a really good and effective vision statement needs practice and a subtle intuition regarding to how much detail is positive, and how much more detail would be negative..
Fame and Merits
In this part of your vision statement you go beyond the personal level and into more idealistic or ambitious spheres. What are you going to present for humanity at large? Again think of the moment you face death and what, in that moment, you would wish to represent or to have represented for humanity. For what achievements would you like to be commemorated? What is the deeper purpose of your life on the transpersonal level? What is the impact you would like to make on the history or the fate of your nation or of humanity as a whole? There is nothing too high to achieve.
The last part of your vision statement should express gratitude for life and show in some way your giving attitude towards others and the universe. This means you should formulate some concern about people who are less knowledgeable, less gifted, less privileged or less fortunate than you are. I call this the humanitarian part of the vision statement. This is how it looks like in mine:
‘My vision is focused upon helping others to attain the essential freedom needed to grow, both emotionally and intellectually, in accordance with their own uniqueness, within their own continuum and destiny, so as to achieve interdependence and a truly holistic outlook on life. This goal is achieved once people are again able to lead a first hand life, a life that is their own unique creation.’
Revising your Vision
Why is it important to review and revise vision statements?
Life is moving; we are in motion, beings-in-growth, beings-in-change, beings-in-transit to various dimensions of existence. Death, real death, is not the end of life because life never ends, but stagnation, lack of movement, a stand-still. And as such it does exist at a human level when people become stagnant because they identify with their possessions, become self-satisfied, procrastinate, or regress into uncreative, immobile robots in a rosy machinery of consumption.
How to revise your vision statement? Quite simply, do the work first inside of you. Look at your current vision statement and ask yourself if this is still true? Actually, it happens by itself. While you read it, you feel if this still matches your actual wishes or not.
If it is out of date, ask yourself again what you now desire. You may use the two days diet if you wish, but usually it is much faster to update a vision than to write a new vision from scratch!
Making a Wish List
Your vision statement is only the first step in defining your complete vision. Your second step is your wish list. A wish list is a simple sheet of paper on which you have noted all your wishes.
If you have never done a vision statement, hold on and begin drafting your wish list first. Later you will divide your wish list in the various categories that are going to form part of your vision statement.
In the beginning it is better to let all your wishes just flow on the paper. This ensures that you do not control or interrupt the creative flow by any preemptive judgment. Once you have done a sketch, you have a feeling for the state of mind you should be in to be spontaneous in your writings. This is a good exercise for creative writing: the wish list is the easiest creative writing you can begin with.
There may be strong resistance to just let stream your wishes on paper. I do not blame you. This resistance has been built during our upbringing. It is the result of moralistic conditioning that has transformed our natural wish capacity into a torso of guilt and shame. Go and ask a small child about their wishes and they will happily convey all that comes to mind — and with great joy and intensity!
When you do this work, you can overcome guilt feelings by focusing on your inner child. It is our inner controller that produces this guilt, shame and self-critique. Moralistic education blows this inner controller up to a point to dominate our inner child, inner adult and inner parent.
You should not need to attack your inner controller because if you do, you get into a difficult inner fight which may block your creative flow! The best way is to let the inner controller for the moment just as it is. Do not criticize the criticizer. Just take energy away from it by focusing on the opposite energy: your inner child! Doing this, you feed your inner child by charging it with bioenergy.
The way to reach our inner child is by a particular form of introspection. The technique is called inner dialogue or voice dialogue. Here is a simple session guideline for getting in touch with your inner child; the main work will be left to the next chapter:
- Relax in an arm chair, using soothing music;
- Focus on that energy in you that is light, joyful and positive;
- Perhaps for the first time in your life, take this voice serious;
- Try to receive a message this voice possibly has for you;
- Write down any intuition or insight that comes up.
This list is a short sketch of a session script, however useful for your first trial. Perhaps you have no idea of what it takes to be spontaneous and how to get rid of an inner judge that transforms your life into a graveyard? With the joy you carry along from getting in touch with the innocence of your inner child, take up your sheet and continue your wish list once again. Do not put categories yet, but write down all that comes to mind. There is no wish too big for a wish list, no dream too daring, no desire too extravagant, and no passion too unusual!
With this in mind, write and revise your wish list!
The first step, to repeat it, is the scribbled-down list. All mixed up. Then, one or two days later, you take it up again, then fit your wishes in some categories such as:
- Professional and Career
- Personal Realization and Creativity
- Relationships and Intimacy
Write your wishes now under the appropriate header and edit from now on only this wish list, not the original scribble one — that you may keep for your personal records.
How to update your wish list? And once your inner child is activated, it gets pretty busy! Then you get clear intuitions; of course, you may trace out wishes that have become obsolete and add new wishes. You may also modify wishes so as to adapt them to your present situation.
Setting Your Goals
There is some work to do in order to move from a wish list to a goal set that is flexible and expandable! Many books have been written about goal setting.
It is now widely an established class in management schools. But what has goal setting really to do with management? Is it not much more an essential asset of leadership? I think that goal setting is very important for self-leadership first of all, and then so much the more for leading and directing others.
Let me first define what I understand under the term goals.
Most selfhelp guides do not make such a definition in the beginning because the authors may think that everybody knows what goals are.
In my experience, the matter is much more complex than it appears on first sight. For many people, goals are sorts of deadlines (dead lines), descriptions of facts or intentions that are static, dead, rigid or even tyrannical.
There is a danger to regard goal setting as a tour de force for proving to yourself or others your prowess and willpower. Doing this implies almost a guarantee for failure! It is not our will power that is the dominant force once we begin working with the method I am proposing here.
Of course, there are methods that work with willpower and you may try it out! You are free to do so but I cannot support you in this case. To work with willpower alone will not realize the full potential of your inner powers.
Will is connected with our rational mind and, while it can impregnate our subconscious, it has little value in itself. But used in conjunction with your consciousness work, it can be effective and important!
Goal setting is not a hero game. You do not need to become superman or superwoman. Keep this in mind!
Note that the goals you set should be realistic in some way; forcing yourself to deeds that are completely outside of your potential is silly! The right way of doing requires a good deal of wisdom! This wisdom is first of all flexibility! You may think that flexibility is not really a value, that it has not much to do with straight planning, the way you use to rule your life. You are right!
It has indeed not much to do with the kind of rigid planning most of us are used to. I would argue that, in the contrary, rigid planning has not much practical value, simply because life itself is not rigid, but endlessly flexible and in some ways always unpredictable. Life ridicules us from the moment we are beginning to rigidify and force things or events, or relationships in place because of the rampant misconception life was something like a straight line — which is a thing that does not exist in nature.
Flexibility means to think from the perspective of a line drawn free hand. It is a line, but it is not straight. If you take a magnifier and look at it, it resembles more a path in the forest than a line, but all is a matter of how much you zoom in!
Setting your goals requires the wisdom to know about how much you need to zoom in — and how much distance you should keep for getting the whole picture. To give an example. I can restrict my wishes to objects only. If I do that, there is much chance that I get what I wish. It means I will get objects.
And the question at the end is if we really want objects in order to be happy? What we really want in most cases are the good, positive feelings connected to having and using those nicely designed, useful and perhaps necessary objects. So why not wishing those feelings instead of wishing the objects we derive them from?
The funny thing in life is that if you wish the feelings, you are likely to have them very soon. It would take longer to get the objects and thus having the feelings would be delayed. Now the real gag is that once you have the positive feelings, they themselves create the energy to get all the objects you need, but only those that are really necessary and for our best! What I want to convey is that once I have the happiness I thought I will derive from having a Rolls-Royce without needing the object, I will also attract the object that I need if I need it. So I will attract a nice and useful car, perhaps not a Rolls, but a car that is much more within my actual budget. This again means that I have saved time to get what I need without getting what I thought I needed.
This method is quite original. I have never seen it in any guide book on goal setting or on drafting wish lists. I myself could not have invented it if life itself had not taught it to me. Analyzing the lacking success I had with many of my grandiose wish lists was simply that I did not want, at the end, to invest the energy needed to attract those large and expensive objects.
For most of us it would take long to attract the monthly budget that would allow us to easily manage owning and running a Rolls-Royce.
Once you observe what happens when you have energized a wish, and you are putting energy in it really every day, you feel that things are beginning to move. There will be a moment that you attract some opportunity or you are attracted by some opportunity and then all is a matter of sensitivity to realize what would be involved in your new way. I have seen it, and fortunately was sensitive enough to anticipate all the consequences.
The problem is that we are most of the time not aware of the deeper implications of our decisions when taking them; later we may complain that our wishes were overridden by the course of life. But this is only because we wanted life to go that way, or our inner guide or higher self showed us a way that provided us more chances to grow — and not just to own and enjoy things.
You should always avoid rigidity in goal setting, keeping your mind open for the better way that life may have for you. Practically, this is done in the following way. Instead of writing as a goal ‘I want a Rolls-Royce Phantom built in 2010’, you can write ‘I want to own the ideal car that fills me with feelings of power and joy and that is reliable, fast and robust over the year’.
Such a formulation gives life the necessary space to attract you the car that you really need but which at the same time has some ideal and aesthetical value for you!
This brings me to detailing what I mentioned already, the important point of updating your wish list! Updating a wish list is essential to avoid investing psychic energy in wishes that are anyway not bringing the once intended result, simply because life circumstances have changed. I said already that in most cases, such a change was the result of a decision you have taken, consciously or at a subconscious level. However, often we are not aware of the consequences of our decisions. Therefore, when we focus on vision statements or wish lists, we may remember all those implications and see the new threads we have woven.
The next point I would like to stress is the difference between a wish list and a set of goals. What is the essential difference between these two lists, and why should we move from a wish list to a goal set — and not the other way ‘round? First of all, from a language point of view, goals implies something more, more precise and more focused than wishes.
Generally, in guide books on the matter, authors discriminate goals from mere wishful thinking. While wish lists as I propose them here are stronger than mere wishful thinking, we can go a step ahead and acknowledge that in hindsight, goals are still closer to the final end than wishes expressed in a wish list. However, it is hard to see the difference between them.
In my experience, the essential difference between wishes and goals is not one of outside appearance or the wording used but the inner determination or, in energy terms, the emotional investment when affirming, drafting and updating them. More we invest emotional energy in our wishes our goals, more likely they are to become true. It is this psychic or emotional energy which does the whole work, which at the end brings realization. This is the hidden reason why so many wish lists or goal sets fail to reach their purpose: it’s because the wisher is sluggish about their wishes. In energy terms, wishful thinking is at the lowest end while goals are at the highest.
There surely is virtue in having specific goals in life, in all cultures of the world. People who have well-defined goals are considered as ambitious, and more than that, as being well-adjusted, tough and ready to go after what they want. On the other hand, people who carry no dream and have no goals are considered as being wishy-washy, vague, mediocre or weak.
However, I do not expect you to be tough. Toughness is not necessary and can even block you. But to never reflect about one’s deeper wishes and goals definitely is one of the biggest mistakes one can commit in life! And yet, no school hitherto tells us about this important virtue, at least not in practical terms.
Let as look at some examples showing how we can transform wishes into goals, and a wish list into a goal set. But please keep in mind, before we go on, that you first should write your wish list and by no means directly point out a goal set. Why? Because when you begin with goals, you may be reductionist and left-brained, discarding out important and seemingly childish wishes that will at the end reveal to be the more creative ones of the whole list. We need the spontaneity, simplicity and the excitement about the wish-list experience in order to dig deep in our hidden wish potential! These are examples of a wish list:
- I want to realize my dream to be a writer and live in Paris.
- I would like to get the right partner and have a fulfilled love life.
- I want to be successful as a child photographer.
The corresponding goal set would be:
- I now set writing and filmmaking as the first priority in my professional life and focus upon living as an artist in Paris where I plan to live as soon as possible.
- I now attract the ideal partner, a young, talented and good-looking girl who shares with me my interests for literature, films, education, music, the new media, philosophy and children.
- I now take a tech school diploma to acquire the professional qualification as a photographer and develop my own style in child photography.
What makes the difference between the two lists? The wishes in the second are more specific, more detailed and crisper as to the will to begin, the intention to set things in motion. These three elements are the essential ingredients of goal sets, as they are more specific and more detailed than mere wishes, and because they bear some call for action.
In my example the magic word is now. This little word is very important. I have already mentioned that our unconscious only knows the present tense, and this is reinforced if we imprint the command ‘now’ on it. The chance that your wishes realize is higher using a motion element such as ‘now,’ ‘right there,’ ‘in this moment,’ ‘from now on,’ ‘from today’ — than not using such a dynamic element. Furthermore, it is of no use to imprint time elements such as ‘I shall,’ ‘later,’ ‘after having done this and that,’ ‘once,’ etc.
That will not only delay the realization of your wishes, but outright annihilate them because our subconscious does not know what means ‘future.’
Please take your wish list again right now and look at every single wish on it. Take a new sheet and entitle it Goal Set. Enumerate your wishes on the wish list, copy the categories of your edited wish list and try to transform every wish into a goal, following the three basic instructions I have given above. Do not forget to insert a dynamic element that reinforces the present tense and puts things in motion!
It is possible that you spend much time on this task, but this time is truly well spent! The task is not easy if you are serious about it. And you may need to do several work sessions. Take your time, do this as if granting a gift to yourself. It is truly something precious for your further life, from today, and can bring you millions, and all you wish else.
Points to Ponder
- In this article, we had a look at Life Authoring, which is a technique I developed for facilitating the process of dealing with your present life issues in a constructive, and creative way. The technique consists in gaining self-knowledge through involving your subconscious in an consciousness journey that leads you to heightened awareness of your thinking habits and behavior patterns.
- The first huge work area is your beliefs. Beliefs are assumptions about life, and resulting patterns of thought and behavior that are standing in the way of perceiving life and experiences objectively. Beliefs thus condition our perception of life, how we see life. They are like glasses that have a certain tint.
- The second work area is vision building, and here, first of all, your Personal Vision Statement (PVS). Why is vision so important for any progress in life? Vision is like a forward train, it pulls you. This sounds like magic but actually is related to the power of intent. We know today through consciousness research that intent is the greatest power in the universe. Your intent is projected into your vision, the image you build about your future, or images, and that is how you actually charge those images with power. It’s as if you charge them electrically, so that they become magnets.
- There are four steps on the way to vision; the first is your wish list, the second your two-days diet, the third your goal set, and the forth is your accomplished vision statement which contains a work-out of the four angular areas, your Global Vision, your Creative Realization, your Relationships and Intimacy, and your Fame and Merits.
- Please take it serious that I do not recommend putting time frames in your vision statement, or, if you follow another approach that tells you there is benefit in doing it, then do it, but do not blame me later if your motivation gets defeated because the time frame you projected was inaccurate. There might be a certain positive value in time frames, especially in the case the time frame works out correctly, for in that case there is a positive feedback — but when it doesn’t, the negative feedback and frustration you experience may throw all your vision building efforts over board for the simple reason that you may give up vision building entirely. And that, then, would be a real defeat! So dispose of time and leave that over to god, the angels, fate or however you call it.
- It is important that you revise your vision, to keep it updated and in keeping with your changed values and objectives. When you grow, you change. When you change, your objectives, goals and intentions change accordingly. In general, they become more focused upon what really has value in life, while at first, when you start doing the work, you tend to focus more on your immediate needs and wishes, which regularly are of a material nature.
- For some people, the most difficult step in the whole process of life authoring is the first one, it is to do the simple task to make a wish list. This sounds rather like a childish activity to many, and they resist because they think it’s not ‘something serious,’ This is a mistaken view that overlooks the fact that all what is creative looks childish for the rigid citizen. All creation has something childlike and innocent about it — it doesn’t have for that reason lesser value and standing that any activity you might consider more serious because it brings you immediate gain. A wish list brings you huge gain but you have to develop latitude so that destiny can operate on the earth plane, and on this plane things realize in slow pace because we are living in a net of dense energies. In other worlds, such as the astral world, that is different. So do your wish list with a deliberate focus upon your inner child, do it with self-abandonment, do it without guilt first of all. All that you wish to have or become, you deserve it in the first place!
- The last step, then, in your life authoring process is to set your goals, and revise them according to your evolution. When you set your goals, always prefer the higher goal over the lower, in case of doubt, for the simple reason that in most cases, we realize about eight percent of our standard when we project our vision, so it’s better to target a bit higher than initially intended. To put it in a catchy formula, go for the Rolls so that you get the Mercedes.