Are you living by design or default? It is a question that every one of us should ask. The incredible reality is that the stage has been lavishly set for creative souls like yourself to shake off the shackles of convention and say farewell to the status quo. Question is, are you ready to take the risk?

I have from a very young age pondered the ‘why?’ questions of life. Unfortunately for me the pathways to finding the answer to those BIG questions were a minefield laden with everyone else’s ideas of what was significant or worthy of my time and attention.

Driven by Distraction

The world is hell bent on consuming your every moment with triviality.

This can be the Jones-chasing frenzy of consuming every latest trend to the phone-pecking compulsion to live in a world of virtual friends and fake news.

It is said that most people check their phones on average 150 a day.

Is that reasonable? Are you telling me that there are at least 150 reasons to divert your attention from the moment you are living to check somebody’s status, or wallow in the afterglow of another like or share for your pet picture post. There’s nothing wrong with interacting, but 150 times every day?

No real progress can be made when we chase our tail in this way.

The key to making steps forward to a life of design rather than default and distraction is to decide what direction you want to go in, and not be pulled away from it.

Are you a writer? A self-publisher? I can tell you from experience, there is every possibility and opportune its for you to become very rich doing exactly what you desire. Whatever your creative direction, the journey there will take significant work and discipline.

Discipline of Design #1

Cut the flab

What are the things that you are doing, chasing, or spending time and thought on that do not add value and lean into the direction you want to head toward?

Anyone who is seeking to free themselves from the daily grind already knows that the opportunities are prolific. There are literally thousands of ways to make money online, and cut through society’s conventions of what is acceptable and ‘normal’.

Thing is, most people flitter from one idea to the next so never stay long enough in intentional lifestyle business-building to develop any authority, experience or worthwhile results.

I did not become an expert in self-publishing overnight. My value is not the result of a quickly consumed PDF I purchased on the internet for $7. It is the result of actually finding out what works, and applying it day after day after day. A huge investment over the long haul.

I realized a long time ago that I cannot be and do everything and stay sane.

I want a simple life, a fruitful life, and the sooner I accepted who I am and what I want to do the easier things became.

Cutting away and discarding the slew of other, often good, activities, and focussing in on just one of two main aims is helping me get closer to the mark every time I pull back the bow.

Discipline of Design #2

Don’t be conformed

In Romans chapter 12 you will find some of the best advice you will ever hear.

“Do not be conformed to this world’s values”.

What and who the world says you should be is a fabrication. You are free to live and direct your life in whatever way you choose.

Sometimes it may not look that way, but the fact that other people are living the life you want to live tells me otherwise. They simply made decisions that led them to where they are today.

You can do the same.

Be careful though – you might just get what you want.

It has been said that if you plan to climb a ladder, you better make sure that your ladder is leaning against the right wall before you expend all your energies to reach the top.

Evaluate what you really want to live for. Consider carefully how you want your words and time to count.

Don’t be pressured to compare and conform. Carve your own path, based on well considered values.

If family is a value you cherish, focus on creating avenues for family to feature big in your time and expenditure (and I am not just talking here about financial expenditure, but expenditure of time and energy and attention).

If faith is a biggie for you, make those hours in God’s presence a priority, and shoot the doubting voices inside that try and drive you to more ‘productive’ activities. Sowing to eternal things has never been a waste of time, and eternity will ultimately tell where the real rewards for our choices exist.

Discipline of Design #3

Be bold and act

Once you have shaved the encumbrances from your schedule and carved out time for what’s important based on your values, it is high time to act. You have to DO something. And KEEP doing it.

That’s why it is so important that the vision that propels your actions are rooted in passion and values, rather than vanity. It takes a lot of gas in the tank to ride the whole journey and navigate the highs and lows.

I have been delighted and despairing (or a mix of the two) more times than I can mention. Each is fleeting. The deep river that carries me through the highs and lows is the conviction on the inside that I am living, to some degree at least, a meaningful life. There is a bigger purpose at work than my own bank account or ego.

I want my life to count. To make that happen I must step into the open fields prepared to be shot at, misunderstood, maligned, make mistakes, and mess up.

And in the midst of all that vulnerability, who knows, I might just help someone else to reach for thier dreams and take hold of their potential. I might just be able to strengthen a fellow pilgrim on the path to freedom and significance. I might just write some words that impact the direction of another freedom fighting soul.

If you don’t step out, you will never step into what you were created for. Be bold!

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