I have to admit that when I first heard of “Maps of Life” I was extremely skeptical. But the more you read about it, the more you see the benefits of life planning.
Success is more than just economic gain, titles, and degrees. Planning for success is all about planning all aspects of your life. Like the map, you need to specify the following details: origin, destination, vehicle, bag, landmark and route.
Origin: Who are you?
The map has a starting point. Your origin is who you are now. When asked most people to introduce themselves, they say, “Hey, I’m Martin and I’m 18, a high school student.” It does not tell you who the jean is. It only tells you of her current interest. To gain insights about yourself, you need to take a hard look at your beliefs, values, and principles regardless of your economic, professional, cultural and civic status.
Moreover, you can also reflect on your experiences to give you insights into your own traits, skills, knowledge, strengths, weaknesses, good and not so good. Upon introspection, Martin realized that she was motivated, generous, and service-oriented, but impatient. Moreover, she believed that there should be a purpose for life, and that wars are destructive of human dignity.
“Who does he want to be?” This is your vision. Now it is important to know yourself so that you have a clearer idea of who you want to be; and the things that you want to change whether they are attitudes, habits or perspectives. If you hardly know yourself, your vision and goals for the future will also be blurred.
Your destination encompasses all aspects of your being, physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Continuing with Jan’s story, after outlining her beliefs, values, and principles in life, she decides that she wants to have a life dedicated to serving her comrades.
The car: your mission
A car is the means by which you can reach your destination. It can be compared to your mission or vocation in life. Your mission depends largely on what you know about yourself. Based on Jan’s self-evaluation, she decided she was a good fit to become a doctor, and that she wanted to be a doctor. Her chosen profession was a doctor. She described her vision and mission in full: she was to live a life dedicated to serving her colleagues as a doctor in conflict areas.
Travel bag: your knowledge, skills, and behavior
Food, drinks, medicine and other travel essentials are in a bag. When you apply this concept to your life map, you also bring some knowledge, skills and attitudes with you. These define your competence and help you achieve your vision. Given this, there is a need for you to assess the knowledge, skills, and attitudes you have at the moment and what you need to gain along the way.
This two-pronged evaluation will give you insights into your milestones or metrics for your success. Martin realized she needed to gain professional knowledge and skills in medicine in order to become a doctor. She knew she was impatient with people, so she realized this was something she wanted to change.
Landmarks and Roads: S.M.A.R.T. Objectives
Milestones confirm whether you are on the right track while the path determines when you travel. Hence, when planning your life, you also need to have milestones and a pathway. These milestones are your metrics for success. These measures must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound.
Thus you cannot select major milestones such as obtaining a master’s degree and a doctorate degree within a period of three years, as the minimum number of years to complete a master’s degree is two years.
Going back to Jan as an example, she identified the following milestones on her life map:
- Completing a Bachelor’s degree in Biology by age 21.
- Completing medicine at the age of 27; Acquire her specialization in infectious diseases by the age of thirty.
- Be deployed to local public hospitals in their town by the age of 32.
- He works as a doctor in war-torn areas at the age of 35.
Anticipate turns, turns and potholes
The purpose of your life map is to reduce hasty and urgent decisions that could make you lose your way. But all too often our plans are adjusted along the way due to some inconveniences, delays, and other situations beyond our control. As on any track, there are turns, turns and potholes; we should anticipate it and adjust accordingly.
As I said at the beginning, I was originally a skeptic about “maps of life.” If you started reading this article in this frame of mind, I hope I convinced you or its benefits.
Interesting related article: “What does Goal mean?“