I’m in the middle of a big change in my professional, romantic and possibly geographical life.

Instead of frying my brain thinking about every single possibility ahead of me, I created a method to help me not to lose my focus. It’s a simple concept: I’ve made a planning technique that unfolds from time to time. You don’t have to plan the whole thing, just plan where to go until you have to stop and plan again.

So let’s make it happen.

Dude I’m high as fuck…

The unfolding map

If you’re a cartographer trying to chart the entire universe, you kinda know from the start that your mission is impossible. Still, charting well a reasonable chunk of the universe (let’s say, for example, the bloody Solar System) can be really valuable. With that in mind…

Allow me to introduce a simple 4-step program written by the Buddha while meditating in the face of a precipice.

Not true, it was written by me in an abandoned airport:

1 — Select your muses

2 — Grab their wisdom

3 — Solve the post-it maze

4 — Schedule Google calendar

Just to be clear: be suspicious of every X-step-program

1 — Select your muses

The first task is calling the 5 most powerful people you know — we’ll call them muses. But what do I mean? Should you call Bill Gates? Perhaps Goku?

Let’s stick to people you know, respect and admire (no offense, Mr. Gates, but you never reply to my tweets, what are we even???). People you can contact. Then let’s think about power.

Power, of course, may manifest in many ways. Throughout our lives we learn (and unlearn) to perceive it in different fashions. So most probably when you read the word power you thought about money or physical strength and those forms of power are alright, but I think we all agree that “keeping it cool”, “dressing super fancy” and “knowing the right people” are also pretty legitimate forms of power, right?

Understanding which manifestation of power makes more sense to you right now is the key to call the right muses. You should aim for wildly different varieties and colours of power, even if the people contradict one another (this would actually be good). Remember: there is no rights or wrongs, just your positioning on the game-board.

Let me illustrate this with a couple of example-lists. You could select your 5 muses by defining which sort of adjective you really value:

  • Happiest
  • Most connected to nature
  • Richest
  • Most travelled
  • Hardest to break

Perhaps you’d rather evaluate by achievements you consider important:

  • Runs the coolest company
  • Has the wildest marriage
  • Did the most impactful charity work
  • Tells the best stories
  • Has the most academic knowledge

Or maybe even go further and base a big chunk of your life on a specific goal or theme:

  • Climbed the highest mountain
  • Hiked the longest trail
  • Survived the trickiest situation
  • Wrote a book about climbing
  • Most famous in the climbing community

The exploration of what’s really important in your life and the selection of which people are the avatars, the manifestations of that importance, should be a single process. It’s alright if you change your mind a lot. It’s alright if you don’t include your Mom. Mom will never know.

Just relax and enjoy the feeling of having amazing people in your life. This will guide you better than any form of rationalization.

Cool, you selected 5 muses, time to call.

“That was a joke. Ha-ha. Fat chance” — GLaDOS

2 — Grab their wisdom

Listen up, punk! This is not a phone call, this is not some chitchat mint tea!

This is a mission. A sacred journey. This is destiny materializing in front of your face. You gotta feel (and perhaps dress) like a monk just reaching nirvana, alright?

Good! That’s the attitude. Now what to do?

You’re gonna be honest with your muses. You’re gonna tell them you’re thinking about the future of your life and you thought their opinion would really help. Perhaps you’ll mention this blog post. Just be open, don’t hide yourself behind big words.

Coffees, beers, skype calls, hiking — how to interact with your muses it’s your call. Some may not be available — worry not! If only a fraction of them show up, that’s fine. The only rule is: bring a notebook. Write their ideas, their directions, their criticism. Don’t worry about big blocks of detailed text, just process the individual ideas the best you can.

It’s gonna be alright, don’t worry

3 — Solve the post-it maze

Now it gets tricky.

It’s very hard for us to think about quantum fields and other really really tiny interactions in the universe. Even our representation of an atom is faulty — since it’s hard for us to conceive the electron as a field, we turn it into a mini-Moon. We get the Moon! Good ‘ol Moon!

But the mind blowing thing about quantum mechanics is that it changes the way we look at the universe and, just by doing so, give us new ideas on how to interact with… well, everything.

Ladies and gents, I present you the mind’s version of quantum fields — the post-it. All hail.

Now you possess those semi-chaotic text memories of conversations, what to do with this? Step one: buy 500 post-its. All hail.

The idea is to scan your notebook looking for advice. Recommendations, questions, personal parallels, jokes — advice comes in many forms and it’s up to you to find them in whatever you have captured. Keep asking yourself “what is the lesson here?” and they’ll come flocking. For now, all you gotta do is transform them into direct affirmative sentences and put each of them on a post-it (all hail). In the end you’ll have notes like:

“Stop procrastinating at work”
“Try different stuff”
“Pay attention to your body”
“Choose what you should be stressed about”

Don’t repeat the same advice from a single person, but if two different muses told you the same thing, burn a new post-it. That’s why you bought 500.

Alright. Sit down. Breathe. Time to reveal the secrets of the entire universe (of you).

Find an empty wall and start sticking those wisdom-filled post-its. Cluster the similar and related advice. Keep the contradictory advice away. Reorganize a lot. Find the pattern. Look for repetition. Look for the areas where your muses agree and disagree. See they arguing and agreeing with each other without ever meeting.

Finally and most importantly — choose.

You can see now a couple of paths, a handful of options. You can see the things that are obvious to everyone and the things that are obscure. Nobody but you can choose what’s best for you, not even your muses. Their role here was to reduce the complexity of having all the options in the world. The post-it wall in front of you is understandable.

Choose an amount of advices that you can manage. Transform them into mantras. Into funny internet memes. Into a detailed plan. Whatever works for you. This is a work of translation — making sense of something external and putting in your words, your habits.

Send the muses a thank you note.

See? it’s simple!

4 — Schedule Google calendar

What’s the point of doing all this and then just carry on with your life as if nothing happened? We need a JUDGEMENT DAY *dramatic piano*.

Open your Google or phone calendar and scroll. One year from the date you organized those post-its. That’s the crucial point. You’ll create an event called JUDGEMENT DAY (all caps, please, I know what I’m doing), write the pieces of advice you chose to follow and mayhaps paste this text’s link.

If you’re feeling inspired (and Gods, you should! You just called your version of Bill Gates!) you can set some milestones throughout the year. Actions connected to your new path — making it a solid, touchable, smellable, lickable thing.

In one year, you’ll think about the advice you’ve been given, the path you chose to listen to and — most importantly — if and how it changed something. You’ll be your own arbiter and how harsh of softly you’ll judge yourself, it’s up to you. But if you don’t probe yourself, the whole thing makes no sense.

Open the champagne. Feel miserable. Paint. Run. How you react is also an act of choosing. If you burst into tears or laughter and you may think that it didn’t feel like choosing, but these reactions are also part of you and you should listen to them.

And, of course, the map has to unfold a little bit more. Repeat the process.

See you next year.

Still pretty high

The results

If this text inspired you to do something — ANYTHING, even if you did a different process — I’d love to hear the tale.

More: I’d love to see the picture. Manifest whatever you did into a picture and paste it here in the comments. Tell me your story. I’ll be really glad to read.

I have this skill to make people do crazy things.

Yes, this is my doing. I do not know this person. Don’t ask.

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