Please do not think about this exercise for too long. Just follow these brief instructions and trust the process.
- Get a pen and a piece of blank paper
- Draw the outline of a simple diagram as shown below
- In one minute, draw the graph of your life within the diagram
- Scroll down when done
Now have a look at what you’ve drawn. Do you notice anything special? Can you explain to yourself or someone else all the curves and changes in your graph? Now, let’s go a step further and answer the following questions:
Q: What is on the x-axis (horizontal) of your graph?
Most, if not all, people will have an x-axis that represents time. It is interesting however, to see what are the timepoints on your graph. Does it start with the moment you were born? Does it end at the present or sometime in the future? Is it clear where on the graph your are now?
Q: What is on the y-axis (vertical) of your graph?
Though most people put ‘time’ on the x-axis, in my experience there is a lot of variation in what people put on the y-axis. When asked, people often mention having happiness, health or wellbeing on the y-axis. But on the other hand, I also see a lot of people mention success, career, money or wealth on there. Funnily enough both groups (if you can call it that) are surprised if you put something else on it.
You could argue that whatever is on your real-life y-axis is what you should be striving for. It is your life’s purpose, your ‘why’. We might as well call it our why-axis.
Throughout this blog we will investigate what needs to happen if we would want to put ‘goodness’ on the why-axis of our life’s graph. It migh be that the answer is not as simple as either happiness or wealth but rather a combinatino of both (or more).