“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.”
— James Michener
Beautiful quote, isn’t it?
So how does one become a master in the art of living as Michener so eloquently describes it?
It starts by creating a holistic life vision for yourself so detailed, that it encompasses the richness and vastness of the 360-degree human experience.
However, most goal-setting systems are not made for human beings. Instead, they are made for human doings and thereby complicating the process of creating such a vision for yourself.
The problem with most goal-setting frameworks and productivity systems:
As humans, everything comes down to:
Essentially, our ultimate goal as human beings is feelings: to feel the way we want to feel in every area of our life.
This is why a few years ago, I took some of the best parts of the various frameworks I’ve used and gave them a mindful approach and created the GEEECS Framework for myself.
The objective of this framework is to provide a simple manner to clearly define the goals, intentions, and visions for your life.
It’s about setting goals and viewing life under the lens of these five themes:
We are feeling beings. We are here on this earth to unfold our spirit by learning and growing, expressing ourselves freely, unconstrained, and contributing to the planet in ways that are meaningful to ourselves and others.
Ultimately, it’s all about how we spend our time.
It comes down to freedom, doing what our heart and soul really want us to do.
The process is straightforward. The exercise will take you through nine major life categories. For each one, you will consider the following at a deep and intimate level:
The key is to not hold back — to write down all the insights and ideas that come to you. After going through this process, the purpose is to gain crystal clear clarity for the vision of your life.
Let’s go through it.
Here are the nine life categories to consider in terms of our five themes of growth, experience, explore, create, and serve.
1. Health & Fitness
2. Intellectual Life & Learning
3. Emotional Life & Spirituality
4. Love/Romantic Relationship
5. Family Life
6. Financial Life
7. Career & Business
8. Social Life & Community
9. Adventure, Hobbies & Interests
Now, let’s explore the five themes by giving them some context.
Again, consider each of the nine life categories individually and ask yourself.
How do you want to grow in this area of your life?
Define what you need to work on and get better at. Where in this category do you need to improve? What holds you back from getting to the next level? What do you struggle with consistently?
What do you want to experience in this area of your life?
Focus on how you want this category of your life to feel. Focus on your feelings and the experience of your five senses. What activities or states of being do you want to embody? How can you bring mindfulness and awareness into this area of your life to better engage your senses and enhance your daily life experience?
What aspects and dimensions of this area of life do you want to explore?
What “new” are you interested in, fascinated by, or curious to explore? What skills do you want to learn?
What are the things you need to learn in order:
What do you want to create in this area of life that you find exciting and meaningful?
How do you want to express your talents, passions, gifts, and expertise? What identity do you want to create for yourself in this are of your life? If money wasn’t a factor, what would you create every day? What would you work on? Focus on self-expression.
How do you want to serve others and contribute to making the world a better place in this particular life area?
Besides proactively working on improving your life, how can you help others in this life category? How can you use your gifts and knowledge to benefit others? Think of contribution beyond just your immediate family. How can you positively impact society?
As you go through this process, you might discover a great deal of overlap between the themes. That is a good thing. It means you are honing in on the goals that matter to you most.
More interestingly, you might also find that what you want to experience and explore is the result of or through the act of creating something which allows you to serve others in some way. And of course, the side-effect will be your own personal growth.
If we can hit all 5 of these themes through one endeavor or goal, isn’t that the sweet spot of existence?
If so, essentially, you become a master in the art of living, as described by Michener.
I recommend investigating these questions deeply by extensively journaling, meditating, or visualizing the answers in your mind.
Take your time with it. The more time you spend contemplating these questions, the better. Remember, you are aiming for undeniable clarity.
Going through the GEECS framework process can help you achieve your most important life goals, but more importantly, it will also teach you a great deal about yourself.
Try it, and you’ll walk away with a deeper, more intimate understanding of:
To get started using the GEECS Framework, I created a simple workbook that walks you through the process outlined in this post. Download it below
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