How to Find Clarity in a Chaotic World
It’s safe to say that you’re an overachiever. That’s why you’re here, right? You’ve spent (or will spend) much of your life performing at a high level!
You desire more and want to accomplish the things the “average” person doesn’t. You love pushing yourself past your limits of comfortability and confidence to climb the lofty summits of success. But, you may feel like something is missing.
Although this kind of consistent achievement has its rewards and psychological payoff, you still feel as if some entropic hole is forming. Relationships are fine, but they could and should be better. Life is filled with fun but not nearly filled with enough meaning and significance. And you feel, deep down, that you are unfulfilled. You want to do more, be more, and live life to the fullest!
Perhaps, in a finally-silent moment of reflection, you’ve asked yourself these questions:
“Is all the complexity I’ve created in my life even worth it?”
“Is this the right direction for myself and my family in this stage of our lives?
“I’m stretched so thinly. Could I give any more if I needed to?”
“Why am I doing all this?”
“Why do my relationships feel sort of blah?”
Don’t worry. These are commonly asked questions that are relatively mild in their severity and impact. Unless, of course, they go unanswered for too long. That’s when they become problematic. If you’re feeling this way, then this article is for you. If you feel that we’re overdramatic, chances are you haven’t hit that wall yet, and this article is also for you (to ensure you don’t even get near it).
We want to help you find clarity in your life. It’s clarity you’re missing. It’s clarity that will help to fill that ever-keeping hole. And it’s clarity that will lead to that deeper level of fulfillment and joy you’ve been searching for.
The essential habit of seeking clarity helps high performers keep engaged, growing, and fulfilled over the long haul.
Clarity isn’t something we have inherently as human beings. Clarity is created. We develop it by asking questions, researching, trying new things, sorting through life’s opportunities, and understanding and compartmentalizing what’s good for you.
Successful people who have clarity can answer these fundamental questions: Who am I? (Or in other words, what do I value? What are my strengths? What are my weaknesses?) What are my goals? And what’s my plan? These may seem like basic questions, but try giving basic, honest answers to them. Not as easy as it first seemed, right?
Here’s how you can begin your clarity journey:
Be incredibly self-aware and honest with yourself. Studies show that narcissistic and self-involved people rarely have a clear-cut definition of themselves or how others perceive them (though they may think they do). In this evaluation, congratulate yourself for your strengths and see your weaknesses as opportunities.
Set clear, concise goals that challenge and stretch you. Nothing ambiguous. Nothing easy. But, nothing impossible. Those who have clear goals know where they’re going and have divined a clever way to get there.
Give yourself deadlines. Then, once you’ve hit those deadlines, assess your performance and move forward with even more grit.
The great part about this new-found heightened clarity is that it directly correlates with high performance. The more you understand your purpose, the better you can achieve it.
Next-level clarity is about the future
So many of our problems today are rooted in yesterday: guilt from past failures or mistakes, negativity that lingers and haunts, and bad experiences that reduce present confidence. These can all act as hindrances to our clarity and future successes.
Understanding this led us to interview hundreds of high-performing men and women. We wanted to know how they viewed the past and future. We found that each had a clear vision of what the future looked like for them and had conjured up a way of making it happen. Additionally, these same people tied feelings to the future versions of themselves, saying that they wanted to experience peace, abundance, or happiness. This was a crucial point that elevates goal setting from a bulleted list and turns it into a personal, emotional compass.
From this research, we gained some crucial, applicable practices that we’ll give you here. Each of these practices, if applied consistently, will help you gain clarity.
Envision the future four
High performers are clear on their intentions for themselves, their social world, their skills, and their services to others. We call these areas self, social, skills, and service.
We don’t measure satisfaction on a macro level. On the contrary, satisfaction is on a very micro, personal level. If we are not satisfied with who we are internally, no external success can make us happy. So, seeking clarity in the self is an uncompressed first step we must take when trying to seek clarity overall. Here are a few actionable tips that can help you do that:
Imagine a positive version of your future self that you can describe in concise detail. Then, actively push to become that.
Identify three aspirational words that will make up that future self (alive, playful, mindful).
Assess your self-perception over the last few months and ask: “Is this how I need to be to reach my future potential?” If not, make corrections where necessary.
Remind yourself often to do these three things, and you’ll begin to see your personal life transform.
High performers also have clear intentions about how they want to treat other people. They have high situational awareness and incredible social intelligence. Like everything else in this article, your social skills can be honed and perfected when focused on. Ask yourself these questions:
When was the last time I thought about how I wanted to interact with someone?
When was the last time I actively thought about choosing the tone of a conversation?
Do I generate positive emotions when associating with someone?
How can I be a good person/leader in this upcoming situation?
Am I truly listening to what people need, rather than projecting my own thoughts and feelings onto them?
Do I anticipate positive social interactions?
Be intentional about your social interactions. That intention improves your performance, which will improve your relationships, which will offer you increased satisfaction and clarity in your life.
High performers are very clear about their current skill sets and the skill sets they need to develop to win in the future. It’s so important to set aside time not only to learn, but learn about things that can better you in your field. Again, skills can be developed, but essential time needs to be dedicated to developing those skills.
Look to the future.
Identify key skills.
Obsessively develop those skills.
All too often, we get lost in the turmoil of our busy lives and forget that we are our most important asset. And that asset needs to be improved constantly.
Service assigns meaning to what we do every day. It puts a “why” behind and in front of our hard work. We can look to tomorrow and consider how our work services and changes the world. Far too many high performers forget about this crucial piece and begin to lose the meaning that used to be in their lives. When someone becomes disconnected from the future and their contribution to it, they underperform.
Ask yourself what kind of service you want to give, what matters now and how you can provide it, and what needs to change so you can give back better?
These are important, grounding questions that can clear the path and give you purpose as you move towards the future.
Countless high-performing individuals have been able to enhance their lives as they apply these simple yet crucial pieces of advice. And, you find the clarity you seek, you will also find a new abundance forming in and around you. You will see clearly the path that will lead you to the life of significance you have always desired!