When we were last together, I said that you and I spend the majority of our time and energy focused on our priorities. I probably should have put quote marks around the word “priorities” (like I did just now). That is because our self-talk is very persuasive and we can justify pretty much any behavior we are engaging in as being the most important thing to be doing at any given moment.
Whether or not your various activities really reflect your life’s true priorities is only for you to determine. Obviously, it comes from knowing – really knowing – what your life’s priorities really are.
Whether or not we consciously know what our priorities are at any given moment, we nonetheless live our priorities. Our priorities are revealed by where we devote the majority of our time and energy.
This takes us back to those who suffer the tyranny of OCD and to anyone striving for balance. We sense something is not right. Things are not satisfactory.
In reacting to this sense of something not being right and as we strive for the perfect state, we flail. We work harder. We stay at the office and work later. We wash longer and scrub more fiercely. And we pray for relief from the chaos and confusion and loss of control, although we might not label the struggle in those terms.
We might even blame others and their shortcomings for our own sense of incompleteness. I know I have certainly done that. Heck, I have played the blame game frequently enough to know how easy it is to do; enough to speak on the subject with authority.
The point is that we keep focusing on the issues, people, and tasks right in front of us often because what is right in front of us just happens to be right in front of us, so those things happen to be the priority, sometimes for no other reason than that.
What we may be giving our attention to could be a colossal waste of time, but we can convince ourselves that what we are fixated on is vitally important either because we have nothing else to go on, or we know what we should be doing but we are afraid of taking on the hard work we ought to be engaging in.
Or perhaps we are doing work that makes more money, and/or garners some desired recognition, and/or promises to provide needed security. And maybe you’re getting the money, recognition, and security you feel you need, but do those things provide clarity and the sense satisfaction that we are striving for? No, they do not.
The obvious rhetorical question: Do we ever obtain the balance we long for by merely being busy? (even if we’re busy with really important things) We know the answer.
I submit that in such times when we have the “not right” feeling that lingers around like a London fog, it is because we are doing the second thing (mentioned in Parts 1 and 2); we are allocating the majority of our time and energy in such a way so as to reflect what we think are our priorities… without the focus provided by the first thing: Knowing priorities.
Now we are getting somewhere.
To be continued…