As I get older, and hopefully wiser, I am starting to embrace the importance of taking time to lift my head…look around, and get some sense of where I stand in this journey called “life”. Sometimes we allow ourselves to get so wrapped up in what is happening around us that we fail to manage our perspective on where we are relative to our stated mission.
When we have those moments or times (it can last much longer than a simple moment), it is really easy to firmly and unequivocally state those things that we believe to be of value. It is easy to identify those things that are most important to us. You know…family…career…whatever it is that we are passionate about. And at that moment, we meditate on those things, and perhaps even resolve to live a life more mindful of them.
However, for too many of us, myself included, when the head goes back down, living in accordance with what we value is not so easy.
When we step back into “reality”, we get caught back up in all of those things that demand our attention. We think that if we can simply figure out a way to be more productive, we can manage it all…that we can make it work. The truth is, we are only fooling ourselves. More and more sophisticated to-do lists and project management tools are not the answer. Those things can be helpful, but for most of us, our day is already slammed. Whether you are an executive, a manager, or simply a working parent of two children as I am…all we need is another six hours in a day. In case you have not yet figured it out…that isn’t happening any time soon.
So what is really at issue here?
For me on a personal level, part of the frustration comes from the fact that I know what it is that I value (or at least should value), and yet I fail to show that I value those things with my actions.
Wait…what did I just say?
Sometimes we simply do not live out those things we believe.
Which begs the question…
Do we really value or believe in those things at all?
Isn’t it true that where we spend our time is a pretty strong indicator of what we value?
Now that does not necessarily mean we are doing things that are not good. Sometimes very good things can keep us from doing better things. For example, watching a baseball or soccer game on TV is a good thing, and something I should do from time to time. But when it gets to the point that it keeps me from writing or doing other things that have meaning and value to me, then I need to reassess how important it is to me to watch that soccer match.
Don’t misunderstand me. I am not writing looking for a new gadget, method, or tool that will get me “in line” with my values. No gadget, method, or tool can do that, quite frankly, for anyone.
What I am trying to stir in you (and first myself as I write this), is to think about how our lifestyle and our very approach to life supports those things that we consider to be meaningful and important to us.
If they do not…one of two things must change…
The things we value…or the way we live.