I think a lot of movies and books push the idea that the defining moments of an individual are their achievements or triumphs. These are normally public and clearly positive from the perspective of an outside observer.

I want to put out there that real defining moments in your life are not the public or massive achievements but the quiet and private instances. Your “me” time.

What you do when nobody is watching. What you do when there is no chance of getting caught. What you do when you have created a quiet and insulated moment for yourself.

We have all done things we are not proud of, and we all have vices that we can return to almost instantly in a moment of inconsequence. It’s not all bad (no really), we all have our guilty pleasures which are not so bad: bingeing on box sets and take-out; having a few drinks; giving yourself the full home spa treatment; or whatever your “me” time activities of choice.

It is in these times when no one is watching, and no obligation is pressing that are our defining moments.

Once you find something that is truly on purpose for you and you allow it to wash over everything you do, the choice of actions you can do in these private moments become simple.

Fulfilling your purpose is just that, incredibly fulfilling. Nothing else beats it, there is no, however slight, feeling of guilt or remorse from how you spent your time. 100% clean conscience. Every one of us has an obligation to fulfil our purposes. You have a duty to succeed in whatever endeavour your purpose defines. Your purpose is really you. You define your purpose.

Our defining moments are the times we beaver away, for years if needs be, to eventually achieve greatness. Not greatness in terms of what other people think of you, but in defining your purpose and fulfilling it. Greatness is intrinsic in ourselves. We turn it on by getting on purpose and making it happen. It is also where our happiness lies.

Test it out. Next time you are faced with a personal decision to dedicate some time and effort. Weigh up the options – are you going to indulge in something that does not fulfil you purpose or are you going to indulge in fulfilling your purpose? Try it one way then the other – I promise you, fulfilling your purpose will be the most gratifying.

Hmmm, gratification.

When you spend an hour fulfilling your purposes sometimes you have to look at the gratification side of things. How are you going to feel after you have made that step closer to your goal? Whether it is an exercise regime, sticking to a diet, doing the work involved for your business, writing the next chapter of your book, scripting your next podcast or anything else. You are going to feel GREAT. You have to try to tap into that feeling now before you decide on going for a few drinks or getting your next step done on your master plan.

If you have a few drinks you get “instant gratification”, apparently. I don’t think this is quite correct. If you know you really should be working on your master plan and you go have a few drinks a feel good for a little while THEN feel shitty for not working on your masterplan there wasn’t really any gratification at all was there. Gratification requires actions in the past. A statement of what occurred to make you feel good. Instant gratification is really an oxymoron, you should be able to look back at any moment in the future at an action and find it gratifying. Choosing the shitty route is anything but gratification, it creates guilt, remorse and a lowers self-worth. Instant gratification can be achieved if you project how you are going to feel when you work on your purposes, on your masterplan and your goals in your me time.

When nobody is watching is the PERFECT time to be working on your long term goals, you most fulfilling purposes and the plans that genuinely excite you. Projecting the feeling of gratification into the future and riding that wave is the ultimate tonic to “will-power”. I am not too sure that will-power is even a thing. I think it is just effort, you have so much in you each day and it is like a muscle – work it hard with heavy weight and then rest, let it grow back stronger. You tap into more effort the more you visualise the end result. The more you anticipate doing something rather than visualising the end result, the more chances you have of going off the right path. Do not anticipate the journey to anything – just visualise the end result – and pick the one that is more gratifying.

You follow this advice and you will always pick the right thing. The booty call is all anticipation and possibly an awkward or introverting end result. The hangover is a result of going out for a heavy night rather than working on your new invention or creative piece. Lethargy and a bloated belly is the end result of over-eating and overstimulation and tiredness come from watching 8 hours straight of TV and staying up late. Visualise the end result and decide if it’s what you want. Stop anticipating the journey from one step to the next – it will always pull you away from your purpose and master plan.

But what about kicking back and just chilling out? What about watching the latest episode or movie sequel? Socialising and having a few drinks with my friends? Yes, of course you can do it!

Just plan and schedule it out, do not let those things get in the way of your dreams. If you are going to have a few drinks, accept that productivity the next day is going to suffer and reorganise things. Hell, get all your vices out of the way in one night and the next day then get back on point.

You can still do all the things you get excited in anticipation of doing. But the more you focus on visualising the gratification at the end, the easier it is to channel the effort into your creativity and purposes and avoid those destructive things that only gratify in anticipation and in the moment, and not in the end result.

Just like anything, this gets easier with practice and will turn into a habit. You are not being boring or antisocial, you are working on your life’s purposes and goals, which are going to be a whole lot better for the world and you in the long run.