Lessons in Life Planning

There is a quote I first read in 2013 which has made a huge impact on my life ever since:

“There are two ways of evolving: deliberately and accidentally. You can either decide who you want to become and deliberately work toward that end, or you can just go with the flow and become whatever life makes of you. In that event, you will become whatever the fickle circumstances and forces of life and society will make of you; whatever is currently considered to be popular or in; whatever is easiest. But, whatever you become accidentally it will not be nearly the full measure of your potential. You will become just someone, somewhere in the middle.” (emphasis added)

This statement by Lawrence E. Corbridge was part of a devotional/talk/address called “The Fourth Missionary.” The highlighted sentence is one that really struck me. It is not enough to just go through life, it’s not enough just to survive. We were put here on earth for a reason, and there is a lot expected of us as we learn and grow along this mortal journey.

In the LDS church, there is a doctrine known as the Plan of Salvation, or the Plan of Happiness (click here for an explanation of these beliefs). It answers the profound questions “Where did I come from (before I was born)?” “Why am I here on earth?” and “Where will I go after I die?”

About a year into my mission, as I was studying the first chapter of Preach My Gospel (”What Is My Purpose as a Missionary?”), I received an insight that I was blessed to later share in a district meeting just before I returned home and was released as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was, very simply, to take the eternal perspective presented by the doctrine of the Plan of Salvation and apply it to my life in a temporal perspective. 

I compiled a list of questions. Questions that would help me examine my life and show me the next steps to take. Questions that helped me set goals, and make plans, so that I would become more than just the result of complacent submission to my circumstances.

This morning, I repeated the exercise. I reexamined my life, from a different standpoint than before, and acquired new insights and revelation. I invite you to prayerfully ponder and answer the questions below in relation to your own life. Decide now to live your life deliberately and do all you can to reach “the full measure of your potential.” 🙂

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**The Plan of Happiness of Your Life**

1. Where did I come from? Who was I before (at earlier stages/times in my life)? What choices in my life have led me to where I am now? How am I different now than I used to be?

2. Why am I here? What should I be doing? What does the Lord expect of me? What do I want to accomplish (personal goals/vision for self)? How will this purpose affect my choices?

3. Where am I going? Where is my current path taking me? Who do I want to become as a result of my choices? What do I need to do or change in order to get there?

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