The key to whole-of-life success lies in how we think

April 26, 2017

In the second edition of her Total Living column, creative mentor Jo-Anne Hook talks about the importance of prioritising our highest values.


We all know of someone who seems to be able to fit everything into their lives. Miraculously, they have time to exercise, catch up with their friends and family plus advance in their career. They may even volunteer for a cause they feel strongly about, yet they are still there to help when you need them. How do they have the same amount of time as the rest of us but seemingly do so much more with it?

Is it that they’re super organised? Or are they just lucky? Or maybe they’ve worked out what matters in life and have organised around their highest values and priorities?

Our thoughts are the architects of our reality. Our mindset, our attitude, beliefs and values will determine our actions. Therefore, we want to make sure that our actions give us the results we truly want – a full and fulfilling life.

So, getting to know how you think and learning how to think better could be a life saver.

“Our thoughts are the architects of our reality. Our mindset, our attitude, beliefs and values will determine our actions.”

Building a growth mindset, challenging what you believe about yourself and understanding where those beliefs originated can help when you want to break old habits. Strange as it seems, beliefs are not facts. They’re just statements we tell ourselves over and over until we believe them to be true. They can limit or empower us. Getting to know your values will help you to discover your priorities – and your priorities should be the driver of your actions.

In his paradigm-shifting book The 4-hour work week,  Tim Ferris makes many helpful suggestions for how to approach life differently. He urges us to manage priorities rather than time. He reminds us that “being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action”. For Ferris, “lack of time is actually lack of priorities”.

 So, if we want to subscribe to a new model of success, it’s clear that we need to get out of the ‘crazy busy’ habit and make time to think and prioritise. Think about the life you want to live and then start prioritising your activities to bring it into reality. We are all multi-faceted people playing many roles in life. We need to think about our lives as a series of interconnected parts, all of which require our focussed attention. All are important and each will become a priority at different stages in life.

Our life experience is the synergetic result of honouring all its parts – relationships, finances, health, fun, work, spirituality and education. These are our life departments, and they are all connected.

Building a financial base may not seem as important in our early career as building skills and networks and establishing our reputation. Then, as we move into our late 20s and early 30s it becomes a higher priority as we look to create a foundation for serious life steps such as marriage, starting a family or investing for the future.

“If we want to subscribe to a new model of success, it’s clear that we need to get out of the ‘crazy busy’ habit and make time to think and prioritise.”

As we grow and our priorities shift, we constantly need to reconnect with our values and consider how all of our life departments coexist and impact on each other. As we do this, we will be faced with a new set of questions – can we make money and make sense? Can we maintain our key relationships as well as devoting time to our career? And can we do all this while taking great care of ourselves and making time for fun and adventure?

Our answers will determine our life experience. We know that there will always be compromise and negotiation and that problem-solving is a natural part of every step along the way.

As with any project worth pursuing, thinking about each area of your life takes time and energy. In my experience, it’s a commitment to your whole self that is well worth making.




Article by Jo-Anne Hook for The Plato Project

We believe in a new approach to business and thus a new approach to business education. We deliver ‘stackable’ education programs that enable entrepreneurs and business leaders to thrive and succeed in the modern economy. Our directors have created some of Australia’s most iconic and innovative organisations, including Moonlight Cinema, Smiling Mind and Australia’s first B-Corp Certified property development group, Neometro. They’ve also been instrumental in modernising education, establishing Australia’s first bachelor degrees in Applied Entrepreneurship and Social Entrepreneurship, as well as developing industry-leading organisations such as Builders Academy and Lennox College.


I: @platoproject


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