a definite chief aim

Two days ago, famed film critic Roger Ebert posted the following image on his blog.  It is a note written by Bruce Lee, entitled "My Definite Chief Aim," detailing his most important goals in life.  Take a look:



I love this with a crazy passion. And I love that, for the most part, it happened -- or, at least, it looked like it was going to happen, up until his untimely death in 1973.

After I saw this, I sat down at my kitchen table, took my journal, found a clean page, and wrote my own Definite Chief Aim.  It only took 5 minutes or so to do, but I have to tell you, it was a really empowering five minutes.  By the time I finished writing it down, I had convinced myself that my Definite Chief Aim was not only possible, it was probable; moreover, it was simply mine for the asking. 

Now, I don't know if I totally believe that simply writing down your intentions makes them happen (although, remind me to tell you about the list I made on the qualities that I felt made up the perfect man, about a year before I met Marcus), but I do know that writing down goals like this make you feel more serious about them. And that can't be a bad thing, right?

So, I'll encourage you today to take 5 minutes to write your own Definite Chief Aim. You know, just for kicks.  I think you'll actually find it pretty fun.  And if you decide to do it, might I suggest the following tips, as inspired by Mr. Lee:

1.  Write it down on a special piece of paper.  I used my journal, but obviously, if you're not a journaller, there's no reason to go out and buy one especially for this.  But write it on a nice piece of paper -- forego using the back of a used envelope or a napkin, and instead make sure that you have a sheet of paper especially chosen for this purpose.

2.  Write it in longhand, as neatly as possible.  I'd actually skip the word processing software for this one.  Instead, I'd grab your favourite pen, and practicing your very best handwriting (isn't Lee's handwriting incredible?), write your words neatly and purposefully.  The act of handwriting rather than typing necessarily slows you down, making you think about every word you write.  I think, for this exercise, this is important.

3.  Don't write what you think you're supposed to write -- write what you really, truly, deep in your heart, soul, down-to-your-toes want to do.  For example, don't write that you want to be the head of your accounting firm if, in fact, you despise accounting.  Only write down that you want to be the Chief of Surgery at a major metropolitan hospital if you actually have an interest in practicing medicine (and not say, because your family seriously wants you to finish that medical degree).   This needs to be all about what will light you up, not someone else.*  And be bold:  make a goal of being something grand, something that you wouldn't even dare whisper for fear of being thought silly.  Do it.

And if that seems risky to you, then please remember number 4....

4.  No one else has to see this.  You know what my favourite part of Bruce Lee's Definite Chief Aim is?  The fact that at both the top and bottom of the page, the word "SECRET" appears.  This isn't about proclaiming this from the rooftops -- this is about making a commitment to yourself about what your goals truly are, to help make them concrete in your own mind and heart.  This is about spending some meditative time with thoughts, and really capturing what you want for yourself.

5.  Sign it.  Nothing makes a writing feel more serious than when you sign a piece of paper.  Trust me.  I'm a lawyer.

Anyway, find a quiet spot, take a few deep breaths, and give it a whirl:  it's finally spring, after all, which seems as good a time as any to give birth to grand schemes, bold ideas and fantastic plans. Besides, I'm really, really starting to believe that part of living a good life is doing so with purpose -- consciously making your life worth loving, as the talented Kal would say.

* In the off-chance you find you're stumped, unable to think of a concrete Definite Chief Aim, never fear; consider starting slower, making a list of what you love, instead. I found that for me, it was a great place to begin.


Here's to audacious dreams and daring aims, my friends.  Happy Love Thursday.


Images:  Daffodils shot with my Nikon D300, 50mm lens.  Top image:  aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/100, ISO 400.  Bottom image:  aperture 1.4, shutter speed 1/100, ISO 200.


Song: Has to be done by Eat More Cake