Aspire. Brave woman posing as super hero.

Aspire

That little voice inside your head? What guff has that guy been feeding you now?

When you’re thinking about your dreams and aspirations, you might discuss them with your friends, your family, or your parents. These people might tell you that you can do anything you set your mind to, or they might tell you not to try so you won’t be disappointed. They may have your best interest at heart, or they may have ulterior motives.

But the bottom line is that they don’t know you the way you know you.

Throughout your life, you will get a lot of advice. Some of it will be awful. Some of it will be right on the money. Some will be unsolicited, from passing acquaintances, and some welcome, from people who know you well.

But none of it will be from the most knowledgeable perspective. That perspective is yours and yours alone.

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Envisioning one's goals

Goals

Are you doing what you want with your life?

Is your life what you expected? Are you accomplishing what you set out to do?

These kinds of questions are related to a more fundamental question: What are the reasons and motivations behind our life goals?

We all want to live a “good life,” but what does that mean? Success can mean vastly different things to different people, but there are presumably some common reasons that we each take our respective paths.

Some of these might include subsistence, happiness, fulfillment, having a legacy, or making an impact on the world.

What are the reasons for your life goals? What would success look like?

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Borders. Chainlink fence breaking in to links and flying away to freedom

Borders

Our life is filled with borders—those lines, both tangible and symbolic, that delineate our lives. Some of these are real, while others are imagined. Some are immovable; others are flexible. Some are imposed upon us, while others are self-imposed. How we behave in relation to these borders can have a great impact on what kind of lives we lead and how successful we are in achieving our goals.

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Intense. Focused man working.

Intense

Time to get your game face on.

Intensity is one of those qualities that can be hard to characterize. It can be positive or negative, depending on its source and how it manifests, and it can easily be misinterpreted as arrogance or impatience. Being intense can often have an impact on our effectiveness, and it is important to be aware of that. Intensity can be a part of someone’s everyday emotional makeup, or it can be something that comes up occasionally when the situation warrants it. Some people are never intense, while others seem to always be intense.

So what is intensity? To me, it’s a quality that allows us to cut to the chase; we get rid of anything that is not immediately relevant and get right to the heart of the matter. This can be interpreted literally or figuratively—intensity can manifest as actions or as an attitude. Through a sense of urgency, intensity can also result in increased efficiency. Intense people cut out the unnecessary and focus on what is required.

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Pride. A father proud of his son.

Pride

Do you feel good about yourself?

Are you satisfied with what you’ve accomplished in life? Do you think or talk about it a lot?

Pride is a double-edged sword. It has historically been considered an undesirable trait, while humility has been considered a virtue. The “sin of pride” is one of the seven deadly sins. However, in this context, pride is a relative term—we would have to feel we’re better than other people. It could also be interpreted as arrogance, which takes that superior feeling one step further—to acting superior or saying that we’re superior.

Pride can also have positive connotations. The positive feelings that come from knowing we did something well or achieved something are part of our motivation for doing those things. Pride gives us confidence. It can be the foundation for our belief in ourselves and our ability.

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