Reverse engineering is the process of taking something apart and studying the various components that make it work. This can be applied to various aspects of your life. It’s a lot easier than it sounds – start with the end result and work backwards to where you are today.
Here are the steps to plot out how you get to where you want to be.
Step 1: Begin with the end in mind – Imagine looking back on your life and what you consider the highlights, the true achievements, the times when you were most happy. Be very honest and write your ideas as positive statements:
- I am surrounded by friends and family
- I am living somewhere where I can spend a lot of time outdoors
- I travel for part of the year
- I volunteer with young people, mentor youth and encourage them.
Step 2: Work backwards & answer the question – “What would I have to do that would lead to where I want to be?” No one starts at the top of their career, or with a large circle of friends, or with an education or a skill. These achievements all take a plan, effort and time.
List what would lead you to your dream. For example, if you want to get to a place where you can travel for half of the year, perhaps you need to join a travel group so you have a network of contacts around the world. You also need to make a financial plan so you can afford to take 6 months off. Maybe this means setting part of your home as a rental suite that makes money while you are away. Put it on the list.
This step takes time, but keep adding what you might need to do, and you’ll begin to see what is possible.
Step 3: Now put an action plan in place. – Remember, the plan isn’t for the “end result”. It is for the steps that lead you there.
Reverse Engineering Other Areas of Your Life – You can also “reverse engineer” your life to help develop new skills or change your habits.
- Become a better writer: Find writers and authors you admire, and ask them for tips. Find out where they started and what you might do.
- To be more productive: Talk with people who are productive, read more books on the subject, and then try out some of the methods.
Reverse engineering is a simple concept but takes time and discipline to keep yourself focused on the above steps. In the end, it is all about knowing a final goal, and then focusing on the steps to get there rather than get discouraged by the size of the vision!
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Chinese proverb