Life Project: What Is It And What Are Its Most Important Elements?

Life Proyect

All people must face, at some point in their lives, situations that pose an adaptive challenge. Such moments can seem fragmented, separated by the interlude of everyday life.

However, a more detailed look shows us the invisible ties that keep them united to a broad and congruent panorama, which involves the very experience of being in the world. This tacit relationship gives meaning to the personal project that each of us draws for our own existence, like a common thread that mobilizes efforts and gives each act a transcendent value.

In this article we will talk about what the life project isunderstanding it as the flexible script that each person foresees for the time available to them, and which results in the congruence between what one is and what one does.

What is a life project

A life project can be defined as a fundamental plan for existence. When preparing it, a series of variables must be considered, such as needs or objectives, which may or may not coincide with the expectations that the environment placed on us. A life project is a work in permanent construction that follows a certain continuity, but adapted to the situation at each moment.

Life projects mobilize action and position it in a particular direction based on meaningful goals, integrating values ​​with legitimate personal aspirations. It stands as a process that does not adhere to a static sequence, but extends over years and has a clear intention or purpose. It is a path full of satisfaction, but it also allows the possibility of stumbling.

Why a life project is important

A life project is essential, first of all, because It is aimed at one of the most basic needs of the human being: self-realization. This process prioritizes what is important over what is accessory, identifying the decisions that give meaning to the way we live. This distinction is carried out in the context of a clear action plan, which dilutes the ambiguity to which the general upheaval of the environment exposes us.

Life projects also contribute to the construction of identity, since a person is largely what they dedicate their time to (their actions). Through this analysis we can determine which actions are congruent with a deeper sense of who we are, rather than erratically engaging in a myriad of activities that have no connection to our values ​​or needs.

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In addition, Life projects enhance the so-called intrinsic motivation, which keeps our efforts independent of external incentives (economic, social or otherwise). Because it allows us to determine which goals are meaningful to us in the long term, we are much less likely to give in to boredom when obstacles arise that prevent or make their immediate achievement difficult.

Finally, the life project allows us to equip ourselves with greater self-knowledge, since its design implies a careful exploration of how and why. This search, which has an important introspective component, usually goes unnoticed by people who become involved in an overflowing accumulation of actions that alienate them from themselves. Viktor Frankl labeled the discomfort that arises in this circumstance as noogenic depression, that is, emotional anxiety due to the loss of meaning.

Next we will delve into the basic aspects on which a life project should be based.

Woman in a city

What are its fundamental aspects

We propose five fundamental elements for the design of a life project, whose analysis must be developed in parallel: reality, needs, objectives, values ​​and application. All of them are interconnected, and should not be understood as independent realities.

1. What is my reality right now?

Although the coordinates of the life project may suggest that it is located at some point in the future, the truth is that they must be sustained in the reality of the present as it is. This reality is the foundation from which all its basic dimensions must be considered.. Otherwise, we can get lost in the incompatibility between what we want to achieve and the objective framework in which we find ourselves.

One of the characteristics of life is that it is subject to incessant, sometimes unpredictable changes, so it is not logical to think that an action plan can always be applied in the same way in which it was originally conceived. Physical resources, the people who accompany us and even what we are deep inside, are subject to the perennial flow in which all things sway. Change is, therefore, the only constant.

Our personal life project must be inextricably connected to the moment in which it unfolds, assuming nuances over time but always maintaining its essence. This purpose must be another part of our identity, and just as this varies without us losing sight of who we really are, our purpose must also do so. It is flexible, but resistant. Despite the ups and downs of change, it will always make sense.

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2. What are my needs?

Identifying one’s own needs is a difficult process, because we have often come to confuse them with what they actually are desires. Although it may seem that the difference between them is only a grammatical issue, failure to comply with each of them entails different consequences: if a need is not satisfied we fall into despair, while if a desire is prevented the emotion will result more easily. manageable (annoyance, for example).

The most basic needs of human beings are physiological and those that provide us with security, since both are essential for survival. From this point we can find affiliation, through which we strengthen ties with people that allow us to find a social space for development. Finally, at the very top of the pyramid that Maslow himself conceived, stand those that are unique to our species: satisfaction and self-realization (both linked to an adequate life plan).

Detecting needs involves recognizing what is really imperative to satisfy any of these dimensions, since otherwise it would only be a desire. The ability to discriminate between both things is key, as it avoids introducing illusory goals for our lives, which take up a lot of time and do not produce satisfaction.

3. What are my goals?

An objective is a goal that we consider personally important, based on the current situation and perceived needs.. It is common that the objectives are not defined precisely, so desirable results are projected but the actions that will facilitate their achievement (or the tools that will have to be provided) are unknown. Clearly identifying what we want to achieve is the first step to acting consistently with it.

Another problem that we may encounter is the construction of objectives that are too large, which will require excessive time or effort, thereby assuming a high risk of giving up in our attempt to achieve them. The most effective thing in these cases is to break down the objective into affordable short-term steps; so that each progress brings us closer to the ultimate goal, periodic reinforcement is obtained and the feeling of self-efficacy (belief that I am capable of achieving it) increases.

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4. What are my values?

Values ​​constitute the position that the person assumes on key aspects of their life., and whose weight is much greater than that which can be attributed to opinion. Values ​​are embedded in multiple areas of everyday life, and are one of the most basic reasons why people make a solid and lasting commitment. Thus, an analysis of our deepest convictions will allow us to outline a life plan that is consistent with them, which will provide a sense of congruence.

When people do something that goes against their values, cognitive dissonance occurs: a difficult confrontation between what we consider correct and the way we act, which can lead to guilt and anguish. It is not uncommon for people who act in opposition to their values ​​to feel really bad about it, which means a feeling of loss in the medium and long term.

This fact is usually due to the assumption of values ​​that are not really ours nor do we experience them as if they were, but rather have been imposed by third parties during our individual development. In this case, it is possible that the direction of our life meets the demands of the social environment, while our own take a painful backseat. It is not easy to detect this circumstance, which is often experienced as a kind of existential void.

5. How can I proceed?

At the moment in which all the preceding steps are clarified, the person is in a better position to develop an adequate life plan, which must meet the following fundamental characteristics: be respectful of the current state of things, cover true needs , be composed of attainable achievements and match our values. With all this, we will be willing not only to design it, but also to implement it.

Any life plan is made up of little things, whose cumulative effect is what directs it towards great deeds, which are glimpsed behind the horizon line as a solvable promise. It is important to persist in our efforts and be flexible in the face of changes that arise, since a project of this magnitude is subject to the evolution of the needs of each stage of the life cycle.

Finally, it is also important to learn to give up. Life is subject to encounters, reunions and losses; and all of them must be integrated into the pentagram on which it runs. Giving up what hurts us, or what prevents us from moving forward, can be as difficult as finding what makes us happy.