I’ve listed those three questions in order of importance, but consider all three before you decideon a theme.
What do I really want to accomplish?
When I decided to go for my theme of business in 2008, I was incredibly motivated to work towards it. For several years, I’ve dreamed of being able to run a business full-time. AlthoughI’ve had work as a theme before, this was the first time I was relatively close to achieving it.Picking this as a theme made sense because I knew it would connect me with my currentmotivations.Don’t work on the themes you feel you “should”. Even if there are other issues slightly morepressing, you’ll get a lot more done if you focus on your strongest motivations. If you’re onlymildly interested in your health and incredibly focused on your career, I wouldn’t make fitness atheme, even if someone said you were fat.
What accomplishments would benefit my life most right now?
Often there will be several themes that you find motivating. Business, relationships, health andlearning are all themes I could be intensely interested in right now. The next question is to look at where a theme would benefit you most.For me, this decisions was also easy because I knew that becoming financially independentwould help trigger more independence in other areas. Reaching that first business successmilestone could have a ripple effect.I ask this question second and not first. The reason is that I feel it is always better to focus onprocess and deeper motivations than results. There might be one area of life you feel morecompelled to focus on, but your motivation will always be shallow if you have something elseyou want more.
What opportunities are available?
Even through a second filter, there are still many options I could pursue. Relationships, businessand socializing are all areas I’m motivated towards and would benefit my life. The last questionI ask is what opportunities are available for improvement.I decided to focus on the theme of socializing when I went to University. This made sensebecause the opportunities of going from an isolated, small town life to a big campus withthousands of people were obvious. When I decided to focus on my business this year, it waswith the knowledge that I would have four months of summer where I could work full-time onpersonal projects, something I haven’t been able to do before.If the first two questions point to a clear theme, ignore this question. If your motivation is strongenough, you can make up for a lack of opportunities. I only use this question as a tie-breakerbetween competing themes.