Living your best life: bridging that ‘knowing – doing’ gap
I was recently working with a client I mentor, and we were reviewing a few poor life decisions he’d made in the last 6 – 12 months. As we explored the reasons behind these decisions he noted, “I know what I did was wrong but the fact is, I did it anyway”.
As well as mentoring and consulting, I spend a significant proportion of my professional life delivering keynote presentations to organisations and teams, and at industry conferences. As part of this, I try to engage my audiences and get them thinking by asking questions while I’m up on stage.
Among other things, I’ve frequently asked those listening variants of the following:
- Even if you’re happy now, how many of you would like to be happier?
- OK, then, how many of you have a happiness action plan?
Similarly, I’ve posed the following questions:
- Who would like to be fitter, healthier and have more energy?
- How many of you exercise as often as you think you should? Eat as well as you think you should? Get as much sleep as you think you need?
Not surprisingly, the response to the former questions is typically close to 100%. Even those of us who’re relatively happy and healthy would love to be more so; who wouldn’t?
Somewhat surprisingly, however, and somewhat disappointingly, the response to the latter questions usually comes in at around 10-20% depending on the audience!
Bridging the gap
So just like the client I referred to earlier, what most people are saying is they know what they want but they’re not doing what they need to do to achieve it.
They’re not saying they’ve tried and failed; they’re not saying they don’t know what to do. In fact, on closer inspection most people I talk to and/or work with know exactly what they need to do (even though some certainly have areas in which they could learn more and many definitely could benefit from targeted education); but they’re not doing it.
The sad and significant consequences of this phenomenon is that so many people don’t achieve their potential and therefore don’t enjoy as much happiness and success as they could; and it’s largely attributable to this common problem I’ve come to call “the knowing – doing gap”.
But the good news is that there’s a relatively simple, practical solution that involves making a clear and specific PLAN; and I genuinely believe that it doesn’t take much to achieve great results. In fact, at The Happiness Institute we’ve been saying for more than 15 years now that “achieving happiness requires little more than practising a few simple disciplines, each and every day”.
Happiness involves a good plan
Happiness and success, therefore, are in the doing; but doing what?
A sentence or two ago I referred to making a PLAN; and although you all know what a plan is, my “PLAN” is an acronym for achieving an awesome life!
P = positive vision (what does your vision for an ideal life look like?)
L = leverage and lessons (what strengths and attributes do you have upon which you can leverage? And what lessons have you learned from which you can grow and improve?)
A = action (what do you need TO DO to start moving towards your goals?)
N = next (what one thing do you need to do NEXT? And then next? And next?)
I use my PLAN model with coaching clients and with the organisations with whom I work. I also use it personally on a daily, weekly and longer-term basis; and I attribute much of my happiness and success to it’s simple power.
I hope you too find it just as helpful.
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