Note: I recently took a poll on what I should write my next blog about. From the choices I offered the winner by a clear margin was “What you should know about yourself.” the second place winner was “Why you should be sober.” So that’s next in line.
1. Your Myers-Briggs personality type
Personality tests aren’t 100% perfect, but understanding your personality type will give you a whole new level of self-awareness. The first thing it will do for you is give you permission to have all the quirks that make you different from everyone else. It will also help you identify your innate strengths and weaknesses, which will help you understand how to navigate life using your unique mental took kit. There are companies that offer full spectrum personality and aptitude tests that will tell you more about yourself than you ever thought there was to know. If you’ve never taken one of these I strongly recommend it. Unfortunately, they can cost hundreds of dollars, but it’s worth it. If you don’t have that kind of money you can take free tests online and then research your personality type online. Below are a couple of links to free tests.
2. Your mission statement
If you’ve never summed up the purpose of your life in a brief statement then you can’t prove that you know what you’re doing with your life. Even if you have a vague idea, if you’ve never stated it then you don’t have a solid compass to guide your actions when life gets complicated. I’m not saying you have to know the definitive answer to the question of the meaning of life. I’m just saying that you need some kind of direction, and the better you articulate it the better you can follow it and improve it.
3. Your top 5 goals in life
Having an overarching theoretical purpose in life is nice, but there’s not much point unless you have a plan on how to achieve that goal. If you’ve never articulated what exactly you want to accomplish in life then you’re just going to waffle through life like a lost explorer slashing through the jungle with no direction hoping to randomly stumble upon the promised land.
4. Your 5, 10, 20 and 30 year plan
Life takes a long time, and you can accomplish a lot in one year, but some goals take decades to achieve. The more completely you have your life plan mapped out the more likely you are to achieve your goals. This doesn’t mean you can’t be spontaneous or change your plans repeatedly. In fact, as you grow your plans should change, but you should still have a plan. It will help give your life and actions meaning, and having a clear plan will mitigate the hopelessness of floundering through life haphazardly.
5. Your 5 greatest strengths and 5 greatest weaknesses
Taking a professional personality/aptitude test will pretty much answer this question for you. Regardless of whether or not you take one you’re still going to change as you grow. Thus your strengths and weaknesses will change. The better you understand your evolving mental skill sets the better you can adapt your approach to life to them.
6. The 5 biggest turning points in your life
Who you are today and where you’re going in life was shaped by who you were previously and what happened to you in your past. The better you understand your past the better you can make sense of the present and the future. The best way to understand your past is to tell your life story to a professional therapist and get their feedback. If you can’t afford that though, you at least need to understand that your life is like a billiard’s ball. It moves in a set direction until an equal or greater force acts against it and changes its direction. Studying the turning points in your life will help you understand how you got to where you are today. That knowledge will empower you to take control of your destiny instead of getting knocked around by external forces until you fall into a hole.
7. Your 5 worst and 5 best memories
Something relatively traumatic has happened to everyone, and you carry the memory of those events with you to this day. If you never identify those experiences and confront them they will haunt you and cripple you for the rest of your life. Part of growing up and making the most of life is dealing with past traumas. I strongly recommend exploring those experiences with a professional therapist, but if you can’t afford help you’re still responsible for making the most of your life. You can’t fix yourself if you don’t identify what broke you.
On the other side of the coin, life is more majestic than it is tragic. Despite the bad things that have happened to you there is immeasurable beauty in life. Pinpoint the best parts of your life and carry those in your pocket so you can pull them out and bask in their warmth on the bad days.
8. Your top 10 moral guides (5 good and 5 bad)
Most of the human population claims to believe in one of the mythologies invented by our primitive ancestors. So when you ask them what their moral code is they just point to a religious book and say, “That.” But most people don’t follow even half of their religion’s moral code. They cherry pick the rules that conform to their modern cultural values. Even then they still break break those whenever it serves their purposes. Effectively, most people don’t live their lives according to a concrete moral code. They just waffle through life fulfilling their base desires and reverse engineering excuses for their actions along the way. This approach yields chaotic results. This doesn’t mean that everyone should write their own religion or double down and make a more concentrated effort to live according to the primitive values of our blood-thirsty, chauvinistic, uneducated ancestors. But you will find it incredibly useful to articulate (and improve upon) a list of the top rules that define the difference between right and wrong.
9. The 5 pieces of advice you would pass onto the world
When I was 18 I asked every adult I knew what single piece of advice they would pass on to a young person just striking out in to the real world. None of them had a coherent, premeditated answer. None. That’s when I first realized the majority of the adult world has no idea what they’re doing and are just making it all up as they go along. That’s no way to go through life, and it’s not fair to the younger generation. Boil down the lessons you’ve learned in life into at least five pieces of useful advice for yourself and the rest of society so that we can all live wiser, happier lives.
10. 5 things you’re going to teach yourself
Knowledge is like a super power. After you graduate from school nobody is going to be cramming super powers down your throat; it’s up to you to seek out and consume knowledge yourself. If you haven’t identified what you want to learn you’re not going to seek that information out. So put a lot of thought into that and articulate what you want to know. You may want to start by asking yourself what the most important information a human being can know is.
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