Living the Life You Were Meant to Live

Living_the_LifeTitle: Living The Life You Were Meant To Live

Author:Tom Paterson

Copyright Date: 1998

Book Summary:

In Living the Life You Were Meant to Live, Tom Paterson, a long-range and strategic planning consultant to America’s leading corporations, shares his powerful insights with readers from all walks of life. “In order to see where you are going, you need to gain a perspective on where you have been and what you have been gifted by God to be,” says Paterson. “There are times when we each need to go to the ‘mountaintop’ to be able to see the terrain below.”

Book Notes:

A LifePlan is God’s plan for your life. It is not a plan that you conceive and develop, but a plan that you discover through a series of helpful exercises and process. (7)

In creating who you are, God simultaneously built into your life what you are to do. When you discover His intent and fully embrace His plan, you are then able to live the life you were meant to live. (8)

God’s definition of success is that a person find God’s plan and live it out. (8)

You have been shaped a certain way—psychologically, intellectually, emotionally, physically, environmentally, historically, relationally, and above all spiritually—to fulfill a certain role, do certain work, and produce certain results. (9)

The purpose for your life is put your God-given gifts to work for good in your generation and in your sphere of influence. In putting your giftedness to work for God’s purposes, and in moving from self-centeredness to Christ-centeredness, you will experience a radiant, totally alive life. (11)

A synergy always exists among these factors: liking what you do, being gifted at what you do, and succeeding to the point of excellence at what you do. (13)

The term I give to these facets of life is Life Domains: Personal—this is the domain of the self; Family—this domain includes parents, spouse, children, and influential extended family members; Church/faith kingdom—this is the domain in which a person relates to others within the body of Christ; Vocation—this is the domain of work or career, including areas of volunteer service for which one has responsibility; Community—this is the domain in which a person gives back to the society at large; community may be one’s church, but it is usually one’s neighborhood, town, or city…If you do not live a balanced, focused life in each of these five domains, you cannot fully succeed in carrying out God’s LifePlan. (62)

The four helpful lists are derived from four questions that I believe are at the heart of helping you gain perspective about where you are in your life right now.

  1. What is right about your life?
    • chance to optimize
  2. What is wrong about your life?
    • chance to change
  3. What is confused in your life?
    • chance to clarity
  4. What is missing from your life?
    • chance to fill voids (80)

The potential for mastery lies solely within your God-given giftedness. (141)

Passions. Passions are what you cannot get enough of, what you want to do forever. Passions make work play.

  • What do you care about?
  • What do you dream about?
  • What will be your opus Gloria? What will be your foremost contribution to humanity? (156)

There are four stages in the process that leads to mastery of talents. They are stages of learning that someone theorized years ago.

  • Stage One: Unconsciously Incompetent
  • Stage Two: Consciously Incompetent
  • Stage Three: Consciously Competent
  • Stage Four: Unconsciously Competent (169)

You are responsible for doing four things in response to God’s giftedness as part of developing your talents:

  1. You are responsible for choosing and living out your values.
  2. You are responsible for your faith decision about Jesus Christ.
  3. You are responsible for focusing resources made available to you.
  4. You are responsible for the commitments you make. (171-174)

Drivers refer to the things that motivate you, that trigger you to action. Comfort zones refer to the things with which you have the greatest affinity—the things around which you experience the greatest sense of ease and familiarity. (178)


  1. Power – people driven by power desire change and see themselves as change agents.
  2. Image – people driven by image are generally very conscious of protocol, manners, appearance, and social acceptability.
  3. Contribution – people driven by a desire to serve or to make a contribution do not want to be in charge. (179-181)

The power-driven person who is loving in his execution of power and who uses power to bring about good on this earth is a wonderful person to know, to follow, and to seek out as an employer. (183)

The image-driven person who is loving to others and who seeks to do all things in a way that is beautiful, pleasing, and positive is a person who makes life more lovely and enjoyable. (183)

The contributions-driven person who works in love and humility is a person who displays the servanthood of Christ Jesus in a way that is compelling and life-changing. (183)

The three comfort zones are people, ideas, and things.

  1. People – The person who has a comfort zone with people feels that relationships are far more important than either things or ideas.
  2. Ideas – Some people live in the world of ideas. They love strategy and enjoy making paradigms and sketches.
  3. Things – The person who has a comfort zone of things is likely to feel emotionally at home tinkering in the workshop, sitting at the sewing machine, or working on the family car. (184-185)

Each of us is born with a built-in thinking wavelength—a way of organizing the world, tolerating change, and juggling variables. No one way of thinking is right or better. (193)

To help you find your thinking wavelength, here is more information related to each of the five categories…The flow is from concrete to abstract thinking.

  • Grinders – Grinders get the work done. They are detail-minded doers.
  • Minders – Minders can manage a unit team, having both the people skills and the organizational abilities to do so. They can supervise the performance of work. They are basically concrete thinkers and are likely to function best in frontline supervision. They have an ability to conduct diagnoses and to problem solve.
  • Keepers – Keepers are capable of managing the whole store. They possess an appreciation for the strategic and the administrative. They may have both concrete and abstract thinking skills, but will be biased to administrative/operational work.
  • Finders – Finders open up new territory, close an important new account, reclaim a key lost account, or transfer new applications into a territory. They are entrepreneurs. Finders are abstract thinkers, so they often don’t complete the paperwork that most concrete thinkers require.
  • Theorists – Theorists are bright, articulate, and persuasive, but in working with them, don’t expect things to come to closure. Theorists can lead a company down a primrose path. They have a role best suited for universities, seminaries and pure research laboratories. They don’t belong in business. They cannot manage others well, and their ideas rarely become commercialized. (195-198)

People cannot change their thinking wavelength, regardless of the amount of training received. (199)

Abstract thinkers my be able to do a concrete thinking job for a brief time, but they quickly will become bored with such a position and become very frustrated with the details. (199)

Concrete thinkers are not able to engage in abstract thinking and will be overwhelmed if asked to do so. (200)

People who are asked to perform a job outside their thinking wavelength will experience stress and internal discomfort. (200)

The person who truly becomes burned out has undergone an irreversible change. (201)

God never gives us responsibilities that will drain us of all energy or destroy a domain in our lives. (203)

If your thinking wavelength and your current job description do not match up, start planning for a change in job. You can change your job. You can’t change the way you think. (204)

One message that you should derive from an appraisal of your life is that we are to leave a legacy to the world. What you do is not solely for yourself. You were created not as an end point, but as a part of an unending plan of God. Legacy flows from what you determine will be the most meaningful contribution of your life. (244)

Your core vales are the baseline for all decisions you make. Any decision that is not in keeping with your core values will be unsettling or disconcerting to you. Such a decision will cause you anxiety and stress. (245)




Note: should you wish to find any quote in its original context, the page number is provided after each entry.


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