Here’s a simple question to assess the alignment between how you want to live your life and how you are living it:
If today was your final day on Earth, how much would you deviate from your normal routine?
No deviation from your normal routine indicates that everything is as you wish it to be. That you have, in a way, achieved the perfect balance of achievement and appreciation, of challenge and comfort.
Significant deviation indicates that hardly anything is as you wish it was. That you spend the majority of your time, energy and attention on things that you don’t value, that don’t matter to you.
If, when trying to answer this question, you discover you lean more towards significant deviation than none at all, there’s a simple exercise to pinpoint exactly what to do about it. I picked it up from Austin Kleon.
Pull out a piece of paper or a notebook. Draw a line down the middle, creating two columns. Label the first column “Less Of” and the second column “More Of”. Now go through every activity in your life, putting it in one of the two columns, deciding whether you want to do more or less of it. If you like painting but don’t do it enough, put it in the “More Of” column. If you don’t like going to meetings, put meetings in the “Less Of” column. Simple, right?
But here’s the hard part. The part that I can’t help you with, that no one can really help you with, that you have to figure out for yourself: Do more of the things you want to do more of, and less of the things you want to do less of.
That’s the secret. If you can manage to do it you’ll find that, when faced with your last day on this planet, you’ll choose to not change a thing.