A lot of people do not know how to prioritize their life. Almost 70% of U.S. residents report that they are comfortable with carrying debt throughout their life. Planning to be in debt is a recipe for financial slavery. You will not succeed in business if you are coming into it with the mindset that money grows on trees.
A plan to win depends on the person writing it. Most U.S. people define winning as achieving happiness. They max out their credit and timecards trying to get happiness. The result is stress and never achieving the freedom that they want. Getting a winning plan requires defining what your life plan is. Many businesses like to assume that they are doing fine until they go into bankruptcy. A good example is the Kodak corporation. Although the digital camera was invented by one of their engineers, they fell to economic pressure because their executives were too stubborn to adopt the new technology.
A plan to win requires letting go of what we think is best. Many people define a winning plan as maximizing personal happiness and satisfaction at the expense of those around them. The problem with this ideal is you end up with a small disciplined minority supporting the large indigent majority. Stephen Covey recommends that we practice future-oriented thinking. It might feel good to buy these expensive shoes right now on our credit card. However, 5 years from now, those expensive shoes are not going to feel so expensive. Our wallet will feel much emptier. Thinking through what will happen in the future if we do something attractive in the present is a powerful method to apply.
A paper life analysis can help you discover where you need to improve. Stephen Covey identifies four priority quadrants in our life that should be practiced. The most important is the quadrant of necessity. These are the life-changing and essential things that we need to do. Things like working regularly, maintaining our relationships, and eating healthy. Covey then identifies a quadrant of quality. This is the quadrant that involves building long-term value and character development. The third quadrant involves deceiving things. Deceiving things are things that look good, but are robbing you of growth. This could be unhealthy relationships that you enjoy, talking on the phone or a highly paid job that is ruining your marriage. The final priority quadrant has to do with wasteful activities. Wasteful activities are obvious things that ruin our life, like drinking or smoking.
Using the wisdom of expert life planners can help us avoid the mistakes of other people. Many people try to make their life work without really thinking deeply about how. Setting aside some time each day to think carefully about what is really important will pay big dividends in the long run. We only have one life now to live. Do not waste it living someone else's life. Particularly if that life is a damaging one.