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A map tells us many things.

The landscape.

Where we are.

Where we want to go.

And helps to chart a course along the way.

In modern day society, there’s a problem with the life maps we make.

It’s a simple problem with a very large, negative effect.

We focus on tangible goals, goals we think will bring about a “good life” a good quality of life, but when we put the tangible goal first, we sacrifice our quality of life in the process of getting to the goal.

Seems like a waste of time?

Here’s an example:

I get calls all the time from people saying, “I want a sustainable farm” (Side note, I work in sustainable land design with farmers, property owners, homesteaders and just plain old regular folks that want to know how to work with instead of against their land, back to the example).

Folks call up and say “I want a sustainable farm”.

Now did you catch the problem already?

They want a thing. “The farm”.

When I ask a little more about their wants with the question “Why do you want the farm?” or “What quality of life are you wanting?” the real goals come out.

We want:

  • Clean Water
  • Pure Air
  • To raise our family in a natural setting.
  • To be safe.
  • To sleep soundly.
  • To know where our food comes from.
  • To have high-quality nutrient-dense food.

This list is much longer, but you get the idea.

Now, ask yourself, are there other ways to achieve these qualty of life goals without the farm?

Absolutely.

Are there ways that aren’t as backbreaking and frustrating as farming?

You better believe it.

And if you’ve ever known someone who’s farmed, most of those quality of life goals are sacrificed in the struggle for “the farm”.

So again, why go for the farm if in working towards it you sacrifice how you wanted to live in the first place?

We were programmed to go for “things” as children and young adults, not a state of being or our ideal quality of life.

And that’s where the revelation is.

When we put our quality of life first, we test these goals/decisions or actions to see if they are a good fit for us BEFORE we start working on them.

NOT the other way around!

Building our “map” is building the quality of life we desire first. Then we learn how to test potential decisions, actions or goals for their ability to improve our quality of life or not.

We test to see if decisions are a good fit for us and our context.

Context is a brilliant word. From Latin, it translates as “together” “weave”. It’s all of the strands that make up our lives.

Now if we just consider only one strand, say the financial strand, when making a decision chances are it won’t work out well for our entire life.

So we take a step back, look at the whole of our life, our context and test where a decision fits well and where it doesn’t.

Now we see the whole picture and can start to inquire into changing the decision, finding out more information, proceeding, or not.

 

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