L.I.F.E.: Set goals, know limitations

I love making lists. I have a list of baby names that I like, a list of couples who have sent me wedding invitations (with a corresponding list of the gifts I gave them). Another list features my height and weight, recorded once each year on my birthday. So, not only do I enjoy making and updating lists, but I have been in the business for a long time.

I keep an Excel file with tons of tabs — each tab assigned to a different cause. Throughout different seasons of my life, some tabs become more important, while others lose their popularity. One list that has become more important is a list entitled “Favorite Movie Quotes.” There, I find quotes like “You can’t handle the truth!” from A Few Good Men, “I’ll be back…” from The Terminator, and, a particular favorite of mine, “What do you think I am, a piece of ripe fruit you can squeeze the juice out of and cast aside?”, said by Barbra Streisand in What’s Up, Doc?

As I was perusing this list the other day, a quote grabbed my attention, and I haven’t been able shake it from my thoughts; I don’t know why. Perhaps it’s because the movie in which this quote is said has a great soundtrack. Maybe I can’t forget this quote because of the movie’s closeness to my heart. Or, maybe, it’s just a great quote.

Inside his shop, Mr. Ollivander said to Harry Potter, “I think it is clear that we can expect great things from you.”

What an inspiring message! Just ignore the fact that the words are coming from a well-known wandmaker in Diagon Alley to one of the most fashionable wizards in the entire wizarding world.  Without all that fiction surrounding the quote, you’ve got one admirable and inspiring message.

After reading the excerpt I had saved on my master Excel sheet, I started to think of my own life. What “great expectations” in my life were I not living up to? I know that there is always room for improvement, so I made yet another list.

“Things I Need to Improve” is now included on my index — this might be a fairly frequented list of all lists.  It includes the following: doing my homework in a timely matter, staying on task, exercising regularly, eating properly, saving money, reading a book every week, submitting a blog entry at least once every two days. These are just a few — some are just too private to announce to the world.

Over the subsequent days, I kept adding to the list. A new item here and there, and soon I had more than 260 items I wanted to improve on. Looking at the list made me sick by that time. I pondered how I could tackle all these things. I would need several lifetimes to get everything under my belt. Preoccupation is what I feel when I look at the list now.

Then it came to me. I had to realize and set limitations in my goals. It would be nice to accomplish a lot in life — it would be grand! Again, I feel there’s always room for improvement. However, setting limitations in my life can help me (and possibly you, if you’re like me) live happily and not overburdened. You and I are not required to be the very best at everything; I just hope that I don’t start making a list of all the limitations I need to set!