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Your Own Script

You Are Responsible For Your Own Script

As we previously observed, proactivity is based on the unique human endowment of self-awareness. The two additional unique human endowments that enable us to expand our proactivity and to exercise personal leadership in our lives are imagination and conscience.

Through imagination, we can visualize the uncreated worlds of potential that lie within us. Through conscience, we can come in contact with universal laws or principles with our own singular talents and avenues of contribution, and with the personal guidelines within which we can most effectively develop them. Combined with self-awareness, these two endowments empower us to write our own script.

Because we already live with many scripts that have been handed to us, the process of writing our own script is actually more a process of “rescripting,” or Paradigm Shifting — of changing some of the basic paradigms that we already have. As we recognize the ineffective scripts, the incorrect or incomplete paradigms within us, we can proactively begin to rescript ourselves.

In developing our own self-awareness, many of us discover ineffective scripts, deeply embedded habits that are totally unworthy of us, totally incongruent with the things we really value in life. Lesson 5 says we don’t have to live with those scripts. We are response-able to use our imagination and creativity to write new ones that are more effective, more congruent with our deepest values, and with the correct principles that give our values meaning.

Because I am self-aware, because I have imagination and conscience, I can examine my deepest values. I can realize that the script I’m living is not in harmony with those values, that my life is not the product of my own proactive design, but the result of the first creation I have deferred to circumstances and other people. And I can change. I can live out of my imagination instead of my memory. I can tie myself to my limitless potential instead of my limiting past. I can become my own first creator.

To begin with, the End in Mind means to approach my role as a parent, as well as my other roles in life, with my values and directions clear. It means to be responsible for my own first creation, to rescript myself so that the paradigms from which my behavior and attitude flow are congruent with my deepest values and in harmony with correct principles.

It also means to begin each day with those values firmly in mind. Then as the vicissitudes, as the challenges come, I can make my decisions based on those values. I can act with integrity. I don’t have to react to the emotion, the circumstance. I can be truly proactive, value-driven because my values are clear.

A Personal Mission Statement

The most effective way I know to Begin with the End in Mind is to develop a personal mission statement or philosophy or creed. It focuses on what you want to be (character) and to do (contributions and achievements) and on the values or principles upon which being and doing are based

Because each individual is unique, a personal mission statement will reflect that uniqueness, both in content and form. Find an example of a personal creed below:

  • Succeed at home first.
  • Seek and merit divine help. Never compromise with honesty. Remember the people involved. Hear both sides before judging.
  • Obtain counsel of others. Defend those who are absent. Be sincere yet decisive.
  • Develop one new proficiency a year. Plan tomorrow’s work today.
  • Hustle while you wait. Maintain a positive attitude. Keep a sense of humor.
  • Be orderly in person and in work.
  • Do not fear mistakes — fear only the absence of creative, constructive, and corrective responses to those mistakes.
  • Facilitate the success of subordinates. Listen twice as much as you speak.
  • Concentrate all abilities and efforts on the task at hand, not worrying about the next job or promotion.

A woman seeking to balance family and work values has expressed her sense of personal mission differently:

I will seek to balance career and family as best I can since both are important to me.

My home will be a place where I and my family, friends, and guests find joy, comfort, peace, and happiness. Still, I will seek to create a clean and orderly environment, yet livable and comfortable. I will exercise wisdom in what we choose to eat, read, see, and do at home. I especially want to teach my children to love, to learn, and to laugh — and to work and develop their unique talents.

I value the rights, freedoms, and responsibilities of our democratic society. I will be a concerned and informed citizen, involved in the political process to ensure my voice is heard and my vote is counted.

I will be a self-starting individual who exercises initiative in accomplishing my life’s goals. I will act on situations and opportunities, rather than to be acted upon.

I will always try to keep myself free from addictive and destructive habits. I will develop habits that free me from old labels and limits and expand my capabilities and choices.

My money will be my servant, not my master. I will seek financial independence over time. My wants will be subject to my needs and my means. Except for long-term home and car loans, I will seek to keep myself free from consumer debt. I will spend less than I earn and regularly save or invest part of my income.

Moreover, I will use what money and talents I have to make life more enjoyable for others through service and charitable giving.

You could call a personal mission statement a personal constitution. Like the United States Constitution, it’s fundamentally changeless. In over 200 years, there have been only 26 amendments, 10 of which were in the original Bill of Rights.

The United States Constitution is the standard by which every law in the country is evaluated. It is the document the president agrees to defend and support when he takes the Oath of Allegiance. It is the criterion by which people are admitted into citizenship. It is the foundation and the center that enables people to ride through such major traumas as the Civil War, Vietnam, or Watergate. It is the written standard, the key criterion by which everything else is evaluated and directed.

The Constitution has endured and serves its vital function today because it is based on correct principles, on the self-evident truths contained in the Declaration of Independence. These principles empower the Constitution with a timeless strength, even in the midst of social ambiguity and change. “Our peculiar security,” said Thomas Jefferson, “is in the possession of a written Constitution.”

A personal mission statement based on correct principles becomes the same kind of standard for an individual. It becomes a personal constitution, the basis for making major, life-directing decisions, the basis for making daily decisions in the midst of the circumstances and emotions that affect our lives. It empowers individuals with the same timeless strength in the midst of change.

People can’t live with change if there’s not a changeless core inside them. The key to the ability to change is a changeless sense of who you are, what you are about, and what you value.

With a mission statement, we can flow with changes. We don’t need prejudgments or prejudices. We don’t need to figure out everything else in life, to stereotype and categorize everything and everybody in order to accommodate reality.

Our personal environment is also changing at an ever-increasing pace. Such rapid change burns out a large number of people who feel they can hardly handle it, can hardly cope with life. They become reactive and essentially give up, hoping that the things that happen to them will be good.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. In the Nazi death camps where Viktor Frankl learned the principle of proactivity, he also learned the importance of purpose, of meaning in life. The essence of “logotherapy,” the philosophy he later developed and taught, is that many so-called mental and emotional illnesses are really symptoms of an underlying sense of meaninglessness or emptiness. Logotherapy eliminates that emptiness by helping the individual to detect his unique meaning, his mission in life.

Once you have that sense of mission, you have the essence of your own proactivity. You have the vision and the values which direct your life. You have the basic direction from which you set your long- and short-term goals. You have the power of a written constitution based on correct principles, against which every decision concerning the most effective use of your time, your talents, and your energies can be effectively measured.

At the Center

In order to write a personal mission statement, we must begin at the very center of our Circle of Influence, that center comprised of our most basic paradigms, the lens through which we see the world.

It is here that we deal with our vision and our values. It is here that we use our endowment of self-awareness to examine our maps and, if we value correct principles, to make certain that our maps accurately describe the territory, that our paradigms are based on principles and reality. It is here that we use our endowment of conscience as a compass to help us detect our own unique talents and areas of contribution. It is here that we use our endowment of imagination to mentally create the end we desire, giving direction and purpose to our beginnings and providing the substance of a written personal constitution.

It is also here that our focused efforts achieve the greatest results. As we work within the very center of our Circle of Influence, we expand it. This is the highest-leverage PC work, significantly impacting the effectiveness of every aspect of our lives.

Whatever is at the center of our life will be the source of our security, guidance, wisdom, and power. Security represents your sense of worth, your identity, your emotional anchorage, your self-esteem,

your basic personal strength or lack of it.

Guidance means your source of direction in life. Encompassed by your map, your internal frame of reference that interprets for you what is happening out there, are standards or principles or implicit criteria that govern moment-by-moment decision-making and doing.

Wisdom is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and principles apply and relate to each other. It embraces judgment, discernment, comprehension. It is a gestalt or oneness, an integrated wholeness.

Power is the faculty or capacity to act, the strength and potency to accomplish something. It is the vital energy to make choices and decisions. It also includes the capacity to overcome deeply embedded habits and to cultivate higher, more effective ones.

These four factors — security, guidance, wisdom, and power — are interdependent. Security and clear guidance bring true wisdom, and wisdom becomes the spark or catalyst to release and direct power. When these four factors are present together, harmonized, and enlivened by each other, they create the great force of a noble personality, a balanced character, a beautifully integrated individual.

These life-support factors also undergird every other dimension of life. And none of them is an all-or-nothing matter. The degree to which you have developed each one could be charted somewhere on a continuum, much like the Maturity Continuum described earlier. At the bottom end, the four factors are weak. You are basically dependent on circumstances or other people, things over which you have no direct control. At the top end, you are in control. You have independent strength and the foundation for rich, interdependent relationships.

Your security lies somewhere on the continuum between extreme insecurity on one end, wherein your life is buffeted by all the fickle forces that play upon it and a deep sense of high intrinsic worth and personal security on the other end. Your guidance ranges on the continuum from dependence on the social mirror or other unstable, fluctuating sources to strong inner direction. Your wisdom falls somewhere between a totally inaccurate map where everything is distorted and nothing seems to fit, and a complete and accurate map of life wherein all the parts and principles are properly related to each other. Your power lies somewhere between immobilization or being a puppet pulled by someone else’s strings to high proactivity, the power to act according to your own values instead of being acted upon by other people and circumstances.

The location of these factors on the continuum, the resulting degree of their integration, harmony, and balance, and their positive impact on every aspect of your life is a function of your center, the basic paradigms at your very core.