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A vision helps you keep going

If you ask Peterson, it boils down to some fairly simple questions. Americans need to ask themselves who they want to be and why, where they see themselves in five years and what they’re building toward. In other words: Why work if there’s nothing worthwhile at the end of the line?

Ramsey further argued that not only does having a “high-definition” vision benefit you in the long run, but also in the short term as “burnout goes away.”

“You’re probably tired, but you’re not burnt out,” Ramsey added.

This comes as you work towards a goal, Peterson explained. You experience the hopes, joys and other strong positive emotions that come with achieving that goal little by little. And that in turn makes you want to work even harder and improve your focus.

“No goal, you have none of that! No vision, no goal!” Peterson said. “So you’re not going to get tired and feel hard done by if your sacrifices you’re endeavoring to do are clearly worthwhile by your own definition.”

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Map it out

To help, Peterson created an exercise for helping to come up with your vision: Imagine yourself in five years. You can have what you want and need but first you must map out exactly what that looks like. Now commit that map to paper, writing for 15 minutes straight.

“Don’t worry about getting it right,” Peterson said. “Just get it down for 15 minutes.”

For some, it’s easier to carry out the exercise by pretending you’re caring for yourself in the same way you would for a friend or child.

Peterson says American teenagers who participated in this “Future Authoring” program before they went to college saw incredible results. He claims grade point averages were 35% higher and dropout rates plummeted to 50% lower than the national average.

“Our school system was set up to produce mindless, obedient workers,” Peterson went on. “We haven’t updated our notion of what schools are for 140 years!”

To shift from this expectation, he recommends that Americans avoid working merely out of circumstance. Instead, set goals on your own terms. You can imagine that dream life with less effort than you think.

“Daydream, like when you were a kid,” Peterson said. “You want to bind that with a little intelligent rationality … within the realm of possibility.”

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Amy Legate-Wolfe Freelance contributor

Amy Legate-Wolfe is an experienced personal finance writer and journalist. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Toronto, a Freelance Writing Certificate in Journalism from the University of Toronto Schools, and a Master of Arts in Journalism from Western University. Amy has worked for Huffington Post, CTVNews.ca, CBC, Motley Fool Canada, and Financial Post. She is skilled at analyzing trends and creating content for digital and print platforms. In her free time, Amy enjoys reading and watching British dramas on BritBox. She is a mother and dog-mom to a Wheaten Terrier.

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