Once you have 100 things on your Love list, you’re ready to make piles. Group all your things into categories. Some categories are easy, like food and drink. Other items are harder, like “watching the sunrise on the beach.” Where do you put that?
Here’s where you need to make up your own categories. Here are the piles most of my things fell into:
I had to make up “Mindspaces” for example, to accommodate things like “dozing” and “looking down at the ground from a plane.”
I made a pile called “Words/Books/Literary” because I had so many things from “getting a letter in the mail,” to “fountain pens” that had no home. They went together in my mind, but I couldn’t find a ready-made category for them so I made one up.
(Did I mention that it’s really important to have 100 things before you begin to pile?)
Yeah. It’s really important to have 100 things before you pile, because anything short of 100 things won’t give you high enough piles. It’s the size of the piles that will reveal your individual tendencies and quirks.
When you look at your piles, the biggest ones and the smallest ones will stand out. My biggest pile was Nature/Senses topping out at robust 35 items, and my smallest one was Times/Seasons at a measly 4.
But here’s the thing: just because a pile only has 4 things doesn’t mean that those 4 things are less important to you than the 35 things in your big pile. Sometimes you would trade the things in your little pile for all of the stuff in your big one.
The piles just show you the different neighborhoods where all the stuff that makes you happy, lives.
So to make sure you don’t mistake volume for importance, go through your piles and circle things that carry real weight and importance for you. Circle the stuff that would make your life feel impoverished and wretched if it vanished. For me, “Hiking in Yosemite” gets circled. Root beer floats, don’t.
Keep your piles, but weight your items.
Why Do This
The whole point of this list-making and piling exercise is to get you familiar with your particular personality quirks and your tendencies, and to know where to look for satisfaction, joy and authentic happiness.
Then, when it comes time to pick your project, you’ll know the neighborhood where all your happy stuff lives and you can look there first. Otherwise you’ll be wandering all over your life, whining, “What should I do?”
And that’s really annoying.