The Power of Designing Your Life

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 3 months ago

Dr Demartini explains why if you’re not living by design, you’re living by default. He also shares powerful tools on how to design and carefully craft your life by creating a clear concise master plan that is congruent with your highest values.

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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 3 months ago

When I was 17 years old, I met an amazing teacher in Hawaii who inspired me to do what I’m doing today. In essence, he encouraged me to set goals for myself, my family, community, city, state, nation, world, and even beyond my lifespan.

This was a huge paradigm shift for me as I realized how I had been living from day to day and week to week. I had never really thought or planned further than a week in advance. Designing my life by writing down my goals was when my life truly began to change.

If you’re not planning your own life, other people are.

As I often say in many of my programs, people will overpower any area of your life you don’t empower. Nobody’s getting up in the morning and dedicating their life to your fulfillment. Instead, they may be dedicating their lives to helping you fulfill THEIR dreams.

People tend to project their values onto you and try to get you to live in a way that supports their values.

I’m certain that nobody’s

When I was 17 years old, I met an amazing teacher in Hawaii who inspired me to do what I’m doing today. In essence, he encouraged me to set goals for myself, my family, community, city, state, nation, world, and even beyond my lifespan.

This was a huge paradigm shift for me as I realized how I had been living from day to day and week to week. I had never really thought or planned further than a week in advance. Designing my life by writing down my goals was when my life truly began to change.

If you’re not planning your own life, other people are.

As I often say in many of my programs, people will overpower any area of your life you don’t empower. Nobody’s getting up in the morning and dedicating their life to your fulfillment. Instead, they may be dedicating their lives to helping you fulfill THEIR dreams.

People tend to project their values onto you and try to get you to live in a way that supports their values.

I’m certain that nobody’s getting out of bed each day thinking, “How do I fulfill Dr Demartini’s dream?” Nobody’s likely to be doing that for you either.

That means that if you’re not actively designing your life, then you’re far more likely to experience entropy. Entropy is the gradual decline into disorder, as opposed to negentropy, which involves bringing order, structure and balance to your life so you can thrive.

 

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That brings me to my first point in learning to design and master your life:

Focus on High Priority Actions:

Suppose you don’t fill your day with the highest priority actions that are most inspiring and deeply meaningful to you. In that case, you can almost be assured that your day will likely fill up with disorder, distraction and frustration.

I experienced this in my practice about 40 years ago when I noticed that the tendency to go from order to disorder automatically took over anything that was not ordered. I also experienced it with money – that if I didn’t put money into an asset that accumulates, grows, and gives me passive income, it’d likely get consumed by consumable depreciables that take money out of my pocket.

I am certain that if you don’t fill your day with challenges that inspire you, it tends to fill up with challenges that don’t. The likely result is frustration, disorder, distress and perhaps even disease.

The point that I’m making is this; if you don’t pull out what’s inside you, that which is truly meaningful and important to you, that which is highest on your values that truly inspires you, that which you spontaneously would love to do, and lay it out and design and organize and master plan your life, don’t expect to be a master.

Practical Steps to Master Plan Your Life:

STEP #1: Start with what you know, and let what you know grow 

I often mention this in my signature two-day program, the Breakthrough Experience - it is wise to start with where you are and what you know.

When I was 17 and began setting goals for myself, I started by writing down what I knew for sure: travel the world, overcome my learning problems, learn how to read, be intelligent, and teach.

It was so clear in my mind that my highest priorities were to travel the world and teach, which I still do today.

So I wrote those goals down. It was just a couple of phrases that I then combined into sentences, then a paragraph, and then into a formalized paragraph.

I kept reading it and refining it and reading it and refining it over time and, as a result, I got more clear on what I was truly dedicated to, and what my life was showing was really important to me and highest on my values.

If this is a process that you are inspired to do in your own life, it is wise not to write down whims, fantasies and things that you aren’t inspired from within to do.

Instead, it is wise to write down what you’re truly committed to doing that also means something to you because if you don’t design your life, you’re living by default.

STEP #2: If you don’t fill your day with high priority actions that inspire you, it’s going to fill up with low priority distractions that don’t

If you don’t fill your week with high priority actions that inspire you, it will fill up with low priority distractions that don’t.

Suppose you don’t fill your month, quarter, year, decade, or generation with high priority actions. In that case, it will tend to fill up with low priority actions that result in you procrastinating, hesitating and frustrating over them instead of living an inspired, fulfilled life.

I’m a firm believer in the power of designing life. I have probably the largest collection of objectives and goals of anybody I’ve ever met. I have 30 volumes of very clear, precise objectives and goals that I do. And I keep metrics on them.

I have learned from experience that when you really want something, you’ll tend to take action steps toward it, plan it, and then metric the results. In that way, you can see if it’s working and not working and refine it as you go so you can keep moving closer to your objectives.

STEP #3: Create a master plan in all seven areas of your life

When it comes to mastering and empowering all areas of your life, there are seven divisions that I refer to:

  • Spiritual: Your meaningful purpose or inspired mission for your life
  • Mental: Creating innovative ideas that contribute to the world and using your mental capacities to the fullest
  • Vocational: Career success, achievement, service
  • Financial: Financial freedom/independence
  • Familial: Family love and intimacy
  • Social: Social influence and leadership
  • Physical: Health, stamina, strength, and well being

Others will tend to overpower in any of these seven areas that you don’t empower.

  • If you don’t empower yourself in  your mental capacities, you’ll likely be told what to think.
  • If you don’t empower yourself in  business, you’ll be told what to do.
  • If you don’t empower yourself in  finance, you’ll be told what you’re worth.
  • If you don’t empower yourself in  relationships, you may end up doing or agreeing to things you don’t want to do.
  • If you don’t empower yourself  socially, you’ll be told what propaganda to believe.
  • If you don’t empower yourself  physically, you’ll be told what drugs to take or organs to remove.
  • If you don’t empower yourself  spiritually, you may be told some antiquated dogma that may not be rational or self-empowering.

Any of these seven areas of life that you passively don’t empower will leave you vulnerable to becoming overpowered by more assertive others.

Plus, the more areas of your life you don’t empower, the more likely you are to feel like a victim of your history instead of a master of your destiny; that the world is controlling you; and that you are living by duty and not by design.

In my opinion, that’s not the wisest way to live.

I believe it’s wiser to empower all seven areas of your life.

I set out to do that when I was 18 years old and then formalized my master plan as I went along.

I also began to look at the highest priority books I could read, foods I could eat, things to feed my mind, clients I wanted to serve, people I wanted to spend time with, ways to move my body, where to spend my money, and so much more.

Master planning my life resulted in consciously and constantly choosing the highest priority in all seven areas of my life.

As I began consistently writing and working on my master plan, specific goals and highest priorities in all seven areas of my life, I noticed that my awareness of my environment began increasing opportunities.

  • I noticed that I was taking more action because I was focused on it.
  • I was not as easily distracted.
  • I was getting more results.
  • I had more fulfillment daily because there was a plan, and I hit my milestones.

STEP #4: Baby steps become bigger steps, and bigger steps build momentum.

You can climb a mountain by taking baby steps each day. It’s about consistency.

I’m a firm believer that if you define it and walk towards it every day, you are highly likely to achieve it.

Instead of letting other people decide your life, it is wiser to step back into the driver’s seat and plan out your destination and route to get there.

Most people fit into the herd instead of standing out and being heard. They’re following a culture instead of leading a culture.

The moment you design your life and live by priority, you become far more likely to become a leader, which tends to be far more fulfilling and rewarding than following the herd.

Suppose you are serious about designing and master planning your life. In that case, it begins with getting clear about what you want in life, writing it down, starting with what you know, and letting what you know grow. Then incrementally, refining it, reading it, refining it, reading it, and refining it even further by asking quality questions.

The quality of your life is based on the quality of your questions. Each time I ask a quality question that makes me go “AHA!” and helps me move forward, I collect it.

I’ve been collecting and collating those questions for a long time to use them to help other people in my Breakthrough Experience or Master Planning for Life programs.

As a result, I can help people learn to think outside the box, of what’s truly important to them, and get it down on paper so they can start pursuing it and make it happen.

If you live by high priority, you are highly likely to be at the top.

  • Anytime you do something high in value, you grow in self-worth, attract opportunities and end up leading.
  • Anytime you do something low on your values, you do the opposite.

I realized early on in life that I was not going to sit there and wait and hope that some magical thing on the outside of me would make my life fulfilled and meaningful.

If you’re expecting the outside world to do that, you’ll tend to blame things on the outside cause when you don’t get what you want. Then you’ll tend to look for some external solution to somehow fix it, instead of realizing that it’s not out there; it’s in you. It’s your perceptions, decisions and actions that govern your world and create mastery and order.

You have an executive center and an amygdala desire center.

  • The desire center is usually an escape from pain and seeking of pleasure.
  • The executive center involves embracing pain and pleasure in the pursuit of something deeply meaningful.

The thing that distinguishes us from animals is meaning.

Anyone can avoid pain and seek pleasure. Anyone can hedonistically pursue immediate gratification, but that’s not where the power of life is.  The power of life can be found in doing something deeply meaningful to you.

I’ve found that if people get wealth without meaning, they end up in debauchery, but people who gain meaning go out in philanthropy and do something that contributes. I’d much rather have a fulfilling life with philanthropy than a debaucherous life that’s immediately gratifying and leaves little mark on the world or the lives of others.

STEP #5: Create a master plan file

I recommend creating a master plan file on your computer and start putting everything that your life demonstrates as being meaningful to you in that file.

I use the seven areas of life as my categories: spiritual, mental, career, financial, family, social and physical areas of life.

Anything spiritual that I would love to do, including meditation, enlightened reading on great philosophers or mystics or theologically oriented people or religious writings of the world, then I add that to my spiritual file.

My particular file also includes spiritual leaders I would love to meet – many of whom I have now met many times. I’m a firm believer that if you write it down, you increase the odds and probabilities of achieving it.

STEP #6: Once you have identified your highest priority actions, delegate the rest where possible

I’ve learned that I don’t have as fulfilling a life if I don’t delegate lower priority things and stick to the highest priority things. So I’ve surrounded myself with people who take care of everything that I’m not designed to do. I teach research, write and travel; that’s what I love to do and how I have designed my life so I can keep doing it. It didn’t just magically happen because I somehow hoped it would while I was lying on my couch escaping life by watching mindless TV.

People doing the most extraordinary things, like Elon Musk going to Mars, that didn’t happen by hoping or wishing, but instead by planning and designing and engineering and thoughtfully dealing with risks and rewards. Extraordinary things happen when you PLAN, live by priority and actively design your own life.

In Conclusion:

  • If you’re not living by design, you’re living by default.
  • If you’re not planning your own life, other people are.
  • Suppose you don’t fill your day with the highest priority actions that are most inspiring and deeply meaningful to you. In that case, you can almost be assured that your day will likely fill up with disorder, distraction and frustration.
  • If you would love to design your own master plan for life, then it is wise to:
    • Start with what you know, and let what you know grow.
    • Create a master plan file with categories relating to all seven areas of your life
    • Take daily high priority steps that build momentum in all seven areas.
    • Delegate low priority tasks where possible
    • Take regular stock of what you have accomplished so you can tweak your master plan where necessary.

If you would love to have me assist you with the process, then click here for more information on my Master Planning for Life program that has over 2,000 quality questions that will help you get very clear about the life you would love to have and the steps to help you get there.

 

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The Power of Designing Your Life