The only way to get to where you want to go is to ruthlessly evaluate where you are now. The key here is that your biggest obstacle in life is always yourself—not external factors.
Define where you are and what you have, without prejudice, and you will be ready to fulfill your purpose in life, and seeing your current position clearly is the first step to moving forward and making your life better.
The only way to define your current reality is to completely erase the past and disregard the pull of emotions from your mind.
Every decision that you make during the day is colored by your past experiences and your emotions. Usually, this is a good thing, because it keeps you from repeating the same mistakes. However, in order to define where you are right now, in this exact moment, you must forget the past and treat your emotions as a disease. Any feelings—especially those of fear, anger, sadness, or guilt—will prevent you from objectively measuring your current station in life.
Once your mind is totally clear and in the present, imagine you were dropped from the sky into your current life as it stands right now. See your life from the viewpoint of an astronaut returning to the Earth after hundreds of years in outer space. How would a complete stranger describe your life right now, with no knowledge of past successes and failures, and no knowledge of your emotions and desires? Carefully measure your assets and liabilities, your strengths and your limitations, as well as those of your connections.
Complete this exercise from both a personal and a professional perspective. For example, if you are an award-winning chef, make a note of the cooking skills you have, as well as those you lack. However, ignore your past awards because they are of no use to you in the present.
Where is there opportunity for personal and professional growth in your life right now, in this moment, with no regard to your past?
Keep your emotions turned off but let your past come into play. What have you accomplished? What have you failed to accomplish? Ignore excuses or rationalizations that come into your head. Ignore your emotions and any attempts that your mind makes to justify what you are in the process of accomplishing. Refuse to evade reality by pretending things are one way when they are really another. Only then will you be able to see where you stand and how far you are from achieving your goal. Take careful notice of your victories and your defeats. Are there any patterns? What have you been particularly successful at? Do your failures have anything in common?
Now that you know where you stand, embrace it. Realize that only you are responsible for both the good and bad in your life. It is your own bad strategies—not God, the universe, or the unfair opponent—that are to blame for your failures. This mindset will free you from excuses and open your mind to the numerous possibilities existing in your life. Instead of getting defensive about past mistakes and failures, learn from them and search out new opportunities to face and similar challenges to surmount. Once you do this, you will start creating your own second chances.
Black Hole Focus: How Intelligent People Can Create a Powerful Purpose for Their Lives