Everyone should strive to create a happier, more meaningful life. But if you’ve ever asked yourself how to live a fulfilled life and gotten no answer, or if you’re not sure of your life purpose, this post will give you a simple life plan to follow to find your purpose and the meaning of life for you. So if you don’t know what to do with your life, do this.
Why listen to me? Despite taking hundreds of clients through similar processes in my career, I don’t think you should blindly follow what some guy on the internet says. But if you think it’s right for you, or you have no idea what you should do, you won’t go far wrong following the ideas here. Ask yourself, “what have I got to lose?”
Happiness isn’t the answer to fulfillment. Psychologist Jordan Peterson makes that very clear here. Chasing meaning and purpose will lead to a happy life, but it won’t work the other way around. So let go of the idea that you must spend more time trying to find happiness.
Finding your purpose and the key to living a life you’re proud of (and ultimately finding true happiness) involves fulfilling a vision that spans all the different areas of your life, such as:
- Mindset or Positive Psychology
- Physical Health
But going from worrying about what to do with your life to balanced life satisfaction is a long road, and it’s not what you need right now. You need to filter out and focus in.
Monk mode is your solution if you haven’t become something yet.
What do I mean by “become something?” If you’re young, you don’t have a career you’re happy with, don’t have a clear direction or many responsibilities in life. Then you haven’t become something yet.
A forty-year-old with a house, car, family, and career has already become things: a husband, father, member of the community, and accountant (or some other job title).
If he doesn’t know what to do with his life, he should check out this post about starting over at 40.
But for you, monk mode is the answer.
Monk mode is an intense period of learning and self-development. It’s a time to build yourself up before you go to face dragons. It’s Simba’s time away before he comes back to take the Pride Lands. It’s the time Achilles spent with Chiron before wrecking Troy.
Monk Mode Three Areas
Following this program might not be easy, but it is straightforward. We’ll create a stripped-down version of your life so you can focus on only three aspects. These parts of your life will make the most difference and help turn your life around in the shortest amount of time. They are:
- Learn More or Aquire Skills
These three focuses will get you closer to the person you wish you were. Here’s why.
Build a Business
You need money, so you must do something to make money. But you don’t want to take the most obvious job in that fast-food diner unless you have a plan to get you out.
If you desire a traditional career path in a corporate environment, you probably aren’t reading this post. If you are, however, figure out what kind of career would appeal to you by doing some research. Start with this list of careers.
If, on the other hand, you don’t know what to do, begin building your own business, or work online as your own boss, look at building an online business in one of these areas. Research how to make money using them, then get after it.
- Website Development.
- Content Writing.
- App Development
- Blog Writing
- Social Media Marketing
- Photography & Photo Editing
- Videography & Video Editing
Increase Your Knowledge or Learn Skills
The person you are right now isn’t enough to achieve your goals. You need to grow by either learning new skills or gaining new knowledge. But that doesn’t mean you should go out and learn anything. Remember, the point of this monk mode is to turn your life around, so learn something that will complement your business.
If you decide to create a web design business and spend all your time building websites and looking for clients, why not dedicate a few hours each week to learning sales skills of copywriting? If you create a blog, learn some photography skills.
If you don’t know what to learn or aren’t sure which skills would benefit your business, learn something you’re interested in. Then, use a second brain system like Obsidian to organize your knowledge and store helpful information.
You might think that you could put the hour or two you spend in the gym each day to better use building your company. In the short term, that might work, but it’s a terrible strategy if you want to keep developing past a month or two.
Daily exercise increases your energy levels and focus, which means you can work more and do better when you exercise regularly. So the time spent in the gym actually supercharges all of your work sessions.
Create Your Monk Mode Plan
We’re going to turn you into the person you wished you were.
Create Achievable Stretch Goals
First, you must create a goal for the three areas above. Make it specific, and make it a stretch. For example, try answering the question, if I was successful, where would I be in a year? Your goals might look something like this.
- Earning $5,000 per month (business)
- Created an app (coding skill)
- Deadlift 400 lbs
Make your goals achievable. If you’ve never lifted weights before, don’t expect to be deadlifting 400 lbs next year but also don’t make them too easy. This is the place to dream, so dream big. The practical side comes next.
How Much Time Do You Have?
Next, figure out your schedule and how much free time you have.
- Grab a piece of paper and draw out a weekly timetable, days across the top and times down the side.
- Block out all the time occupied with work or other commitments.
- Everything left is potential training time.
Figure out how you waste time and commit to turning it into training time.
Tracking your time for a week is truly an eye-opening experience, and I recommend everyone do it at least once. You can easily explain away the two hours you spent watching YouTube last night, “I was tired and just needed a break.” and the 30 minutes you spent responding to a stranger’s dumb post on Twitter was “while I was having my coffee,” so it didn’t count either.
But when you have the totals of your week in front of you, just the numbers, 18 hours watching YouTube is hard to explain.
So track your time for a week, and by the end of it, you’ll know how much time you are really wasting.
Create a Weekly Plan
If you’re the kind of person that loves organizing and planning, you might have an impulse to plan your entire monk mode out. Resist that urge.
Things will change, and that plan will become meaningless quickly. But, on the other hand, using David Allen’s advice of “what’s the next action?” is also problematic. You don’t want to spend time wondering what to do next each day.
A weekly plan is the best middle ground. So every Sunday, plan what you’ll do the following week.
I printed a bunch of weekly timetables to make this easier. Every Sunday, I sit down and fill in what I’ll do each day of the coming week. Make sure your actions are all moving you closer to those three goals.
All you need to do now is follow the plan, and soon enough, you’ll hit those three goals and find some meaning in your life.
Here are some monk-mode tips that will help you along the way.
Tips for Monk Mode Success
Start smaller than you think
It might sound like I’m telling you that you must be working nonstop all day long and in every bit of your spare time, but that’s not the case. You only need to work as much as you need to achieve your goal.
You’ll most likely burn out in the beginning if you try to fill all your time with work. You need to rest too. Bodybuilders and weightlifters get this instinctively. They work hard in the gym, then give themselves time to relax and refuel. The same is valid for monk mode.
You don’t need a life coach to tell you how much to do to achieve personal growth. Just follow this one rule.
- Only work as hard as you can recover from.
If that means that you start off working 30 minutes a day, so be it. Over time you will increase your stamina. Aim for at least 3 hours per day, ideally five or more.
Remove Your Bad Habits
Quitting your bad habits is the best tip to change your life for the better. Why? Because all the time you spend on those bad habits has to be replaced with things that will improve your life, make you happy or get you out of your comfort zone. Your bad habits suck up your time or make you lazy and weak. You won’t have to search for them; you probably have them in mind right now. Here are three to look out for:
- Staying Up Late
If you track your time for a week, you’ll know how much time your hedonistic bad habits are costing you. But some habits, such as drinking alcohol or staying up late, take an additional toll. They reduce your effectiveness the next day and can even make you feel depressed.
Add Habits for Success
When you’re not working on your three goals, you can add some habits for success. These shouldn’t detract from your primary focus. On the contrary, they should enhance it and lead you to a more fulfilling life. These three habits help you do more, feel better and know more.
These posts give you more insight you can apply to your monk mode, get the most out of it, and get closer to the life you want.