What’s the most important thing?
Keep your eyes on the prize.
Have you heard this saying?
The most important thing is to remember the most important thing.
What are the most important things to you? In your life as a whole? During a particular interaction with someone? Right this minute?
The most important things often get pushed to the sidelines. Urgent crowds out important. Modern life is full of distracting clamor, from text messages and emails to window displays in the mall. Other people tug at you with their priorities – which may not be your own. And it can feel scary to admit what really matters to you, tell others, and go after it for real: the fearful voices whisper in the back of the mind: What if you fail?
But if you don’t make a sanctuary for what is important, it will get overrun by the bermuda grass of B and C priorities.
Know your purpose in life. Write it down in one word, phrase, or sentence. Really. The first time someone suggested I do this, I thought they were a little nuts. But then I opened up to a kind of knowing of what matters most to me, and wrote it down. It’s OK if it changes, or if you don’t get the words just right at first. You can revise it later. Put it in positive terms and in the present tense; for example, “I am loving” is better than “I will stop getting so angry with people.” Say it out loud and see how it feels. Find words you connect with.
Keep your purpose close to your heart; it may feel sacred. If you speak of it, do so with self-respect, not self-doubt. And then every day, as soon as you remember, recommit to your life’s purpose: rename it to yourself and give yourself over to it again.
Clarify your priorities. Identify the key aims of your life these days in a word or phrase, such as: Health. Friendship. Finances. Learning new things. Career. Marriage. Spirituality. Having fun. Parenting. Creative expression. Exploring life. Service. Maybe break up one aim into two or three; for example, “finances” could become “breaking even,” “saving for retirement,” and “becoming affluent, even wealthy.”
Then do a little exercise as an experiment: rank these aims in order of importance, with no ties allowed. If you could attain only one aim, which would it be? That’s your highest priority. [Read more...]