A Designed Destiny

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

·    William Earnest Henley, Invictus

Your DIY Project

Life is a Do-It -Yourself project. If you want to live a certain kind of life, you are going to have to be proactive so you can consciously create life as you would like it. You must first mentally visualize and then physically create what you want. You can do this by having a clear vision and developing strong intentions. Your life is your gift - how you appreciate it and use it is entirely up to you. Take this story as an example of the importance of building it with excellence and pride (author unknown):

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house-building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.
The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end a dedicated career.
When the carpenter finished his work, the employer came to inspect the house. He handed the front-door key to the carpenter. "This is your house," he said, "my gift to you." The carpenter was shocked! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently.

So it is with us. We build our lives, a day at a time, often putting less than our best into the building. Then we are shocked to realize we have to live in the house we have built! If we could do it over, we'd do it much differently. And better.

But you cannot go back. You are the carpenter. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Your attitudes and the choices you make today build the house you live in tomorrow. Build wisely! Build with commitment, pride, joy, and love.

When designing the life you want to live and the work you want to do, it is important to pay attention to your longings/yearnings--- this is your soul trying to communicate with you its deepest desires. The word intuition is Latin for "in to you," and by learning to listen to your intuition, you will make wiser decisions. Contrary to popular belief, life is not meant to be a struggle. You are meant to experience ease and enjoyment, but you have to learn to listen to what your higher self is saying to you. And then you have to take action by designing your unique life blueprint.

Life Design Elements


You must find your path... and bravely follow it wherever it leads.... Working with a personal coach will increase your chances of designing the kind of "place" you are happy and excited to come home to.

- Michelle Casto

 Michelle Casto, This week's Guest Author

About the Author

Michelle Casto's company, Get Smart!, incorporates coaching, speaking, and writing, with a mission to provide practical, proactive advice about how to integrate the various human dimensions of love, labor, leisure, and learning. Since founding her company in 1997, she has been teaching others to take control of their destiny and to be big, bright, beautiful stars. You may subscribe to her newsletter by sending a blank email to subscribe@brighlightcoach.com

Alice laughed. "There's no use trying," she said. "One can't believe impossible things." "I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was your age, I always did it half an hour a day. Why, sometimes, I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."

·    Lewis Carroll

Drafting Tools

Michelle Casto, Julie Jordan Scott, Diana Robinson - there are many life coaches out there. I don't even pretend to be a coach - honestly, I only can speak about what works for me, just share my thoughts and experiences. I work as an engineer (without a graduate degree), designing electrical systems for large commercial and industrial clients. When I hear the word 'design' or 'designer' I naturally think in terms of what I do for a living: I think of stuff, then draw pictures of it. In the design concept of a project, there's usually a list of things that will result in a functional and practical end product, a microchip manufacturing facility, or a turbine-driven natural gas compressor for instance. Michelle Casto got me to thinking. . . what would I specify for my own life, how would I design my destiny?

One of the things on a list of what is needed to design a good life: think positive.

"Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative," were the words to Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer's hit parade song from 1945. It is easy, in my own life anyway, to "mess with Mr. In-Between," to be a spectator of life, to acquire a habit of noticing and reinforcing the negatives in life. This song encourages me to bring gloom down to a minimum and spread joy up to a maximum, or pandemonium will soon be walking on the scene. Catchy lyrics, admittedly, written for the patriotic film, "Here Come the Waves." With any luck, if you have heard the song, the tune is going through your head right now. Good, very good. If you haven't heard the tune before, ask someone else to sing or hum it for you. A catchy little thing to boost my day, when I get to messing with Mr In-Between. Am I dragged down with problems, or enervated with opportunities for growth?

Also - I must expect great things of myself, and believe that I am capable of delivering them!

If I would succeed, I must think success, I must think upward and outward. I must think progressively, creatively, constructively, inventively, intuitively and, above all, optimistically. The mental attitude and sheer creativity with which I approach my immediate task or my long-term goals has everything to do with what I manage to accomplish in both the immediate and long term. A positive mind can become negative by influences which destroy self-confidence. Orson Swett Marden, author of The Miracle of Right Thought said, "The whole philosophy of efficiency and happiness consist in the vigorous, consistent affirmation of the thing we are trying to be, and trying to do," which means a firm and fully convicted knowing that I will succeed, and an expectation of eventual deliverance of the great things of which I am capable.

Another life design requirement is to displace the mental junk with its exact opposite, and strive to keep the good stuff clearly focused in my mind.

The art of arts is to learn how to clear my mind of its enemies, - enemies of my comfort, happiness, and success. It is empowering to learn to focus the mind upon the beautiful instead of the ugly, the truthful and honest instead of the false and misleading, upon harmony instead of discord, life instead of death, health instead of disease. It is not always easy, but it is possible.The best way to keep darkness out of my life is to live a life filled with light; to keep out discord, I try to keep my life filled with harmony; to shut out error, I need only seek truth live honestly; to shut out ugliness, the trick is to contemplate beauty and loveliness, the richness and diversity of nature; to get rid of all that is sour and unwholesome, I need to contemplate all that is sweet and wholesome. Opposite concepts like these can not fully occupy my thoughts at the same time - one will drive the other out. So, which would I prefer? My mind must be kept free from bitterness, jealousy, hatred, envy, and uncharitable thoughts - from from everything which brings it down - or thereupon pay the penalty by sacrificing my peace of mind, productivity and quality of life, and my rate of success.

Requirement: I must learn how to reduce conflicts in my life by separating wants from non-negotiotiable needs.

Poor eyesight requires corrective lenses. Designer frames enhances the look of eyewear. One is a need, the other a want. I couldn't drive without corrective lenses of some sort, but having nice looking eyeglass frames is a small luxury I allow myself, even though it is not really necessary to to performance of the lenses in them. I like to eat, and it is necessary to survive, but a meal out at a swank restaurant is something I want to do on occasion. It was one of the things I sacrificed when I was not working. Being clear about what is truly necessary in my life, and what is essentially something I want in my life helps me to understand how blessed I am, and urges me to share the abundance of what I have with others less fortunate. It also teaches me patience, to wait for the universe to deliver my wants to me in its own time, when I am ready and worthy, rather than rushing the situation through rationalization.

Next item - I need to ensure that my energy flows into action.

It's easy to talk about what I want. The result of my actions is one of the most important strategies for a fulfilled life. Having a personalized action plan detailing how I intend to turn ideas into real world results is a vital step in realizing goals. Mark Twain said, "The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small, manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one." I could write down goals or a list of things I want in my life, but unless I am willing to expend the energy to get where I am going, to do what I need to do by following a concrete plan of action, I am no more than a dreamer sitting on the bank, watching the flow of life pass me by.

Another life design specification, but by no means the least of these, is understanding how to let go of the past and how to stop repeating it.

In a recent discussion with one of my adult children, I told her that I could not fix 'then' - I can only make 'now' better. It has been a truly long road to here and now. I can think of nothing I would rather not do more than to go back and try to do it all over again, but do it differently. No thanks. I paid dearly for the lessons I brought with me into now, and I value what I have learned and have since applied.

It is through my choices, my attitude and my thoughts, my gratitude and throughout the depth and breadth of my faith, that I am designing the life I am destined to live.


email: Michael@N-Spire.com

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