Living The Ideal Life, Mark’s Story

Wisdom

Where am I going, and what if I don’t get there? How to create the Ideal Life.

businessman looking forwards towards sun set

Do you sometimes feel overwhelmed by the stress of everyday life? Does it ever feel like the anxieties created by all the things you need to get done outweigh the reasons for doing them in the first place? Do you ever wonder where life is taking you? Or what the reason is for everything? If you can relate, then you too probably feel like you aren’t living your most ideal life.

These worries come up frequently for a lot of people. Whether they are infrequent worries or ongoing anxieties. These questions show up for just about everyone. For me, my chronic anxiety always phrased those worries as one central question:

Where am I going, and what if I don’t get there?

 

Positive Fantasizing About the Future

People who are constantly daydreaming about the future are often considered “positive fantasizers” by psychologists. They are marked by always thinking about the future. But not necessarily connecting the dots and actions required in the immediate present.

That was me to a T.

I was constantly daydreaming about upcoming milestones in life, like getting my driver’s license, going to college, having my first job, and falling in love. I was convinced that checking these boxes was what life was all about. And therefore, if I could just survive long enough for all of them to happen, then my life would have meaning.

However, each time I reached a milestone in my life, my anxiety didn’t go away. I started wondering if there was any meaning to life at all. Especially because I was working toward those finish lines, but as soon as I crossed them, I didn’t feel any better. This is an incredibly defeating way to live.

man sitting outdoors, holding head in thought

The Slippery Slope of Anxiety

This thought process led me down a slippery slope that converted my anxiety into depression. That despair began to permeate into every area of my life. I tried to mask it with food, and I ballooned up to 240 pounds. I turned to cigarettes to alleviate my mood, and developed a pack-a-day habit. Of course I heard that exercise might do the trick. But I couldn’t seem to muster up enough energy to go for a walk.

 

Beginning with the End in Mind

When I was on the brink of experiencing some serious consequences for my decisions, I discovered a book that suddenly shifted my mindset. That book was Stephen Covey’s The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. And the habit that hit me the hardest was the second:

Stephen Covey’s Habit #2: Begin with the end in mind.

It struck me that the future vision of my life wasn’t something to be controlled by. But instead, something to be harnessed and leveraged to guide my actions.

Instead of daydreaming about the type of person I wanted to be, I started planning for the type of person I wanted to become. And as it turned out, this subtle change in focus made all the difference.

It wasn’t like my anxieties disappeared overnight. But this new mindset made them more bearable, because I saw a path towards a better future.

Testing the Power of Better Habits

Slowly but surely, I was able to test out that mindset in the real world, and began crafting a personal framework that helped to organize my thoughts and give me feedback on how they translated into action.

My first laboratory was the workplace, and I immediately noticed that this framework produced immediate material results. I went from an entry-level cubicle position at a logistics firm to the Vice President of Operations for a large shippers’ association within 7 years. Then, I had the opportunity to start a new trucking company with my
brother. I applied the framework to our team culture and sales processes. Within two years, we were operating in eleven states and had millions in revenue.

The framework worked in my personal life, as well. I applied it toward weight loss, and dropped 80 pounds in a year. The following year I applied it towards running, and was able to complete my first marathon by December. The year after that, I completed a full Ironman triathlon (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, and 26.2-mile marathon –
back-to-back-to-back)!

What got me really excited, though, was when it began working for other people that I taught it to. My buddy from college used it to increase his own sales pipeline, an ordained minister from my church used it to increase her energy levels and get back to exercising, and my mom even used it in her fight with cancer.

a woman in the city smiling as she looks into a store front

A Better Framework for Joyful Living

In 2020, when the COVID pandemic hit the world, I made the decision to leave the logistics industry. Even through this was where I had built my career, I decided to start Into the Ideal – a collection of companies that show how this framework for joyful living can be applied in all areas of life to achieve fulfilling success.

At The Ideal Life, we use evidence-based research to show how this framework (the IGOT This™ Framework) leverages how your brain is wired to align your goals with an ultimate goal for your life. Many people call this your purpose or life path or life plan. At The Ideal Life, it’s called Your Ideal.

Most importantly, we show you how joy and happiness can be experienced each and every day – not after you get certain material things or achieve a certain level of success. It’s about being on the right path – not which milestones you hit along the way.

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