What strategies to clarify what is Important to Me? [Tracy S.]
I am an early retiree at 60. I have so many ideas and interests – I would love to write, and I have far too many starts so I end up scattering all my time around. I also have a choice on what to do for work, or whether to pursue some formal education in an area, or whether to give away all my belongings to go volunteer somewhere in Africa 🙂 It does not help that I am single and have no one close enough to give me much input. What is your idea of some good strategies to hone down all my ideas and interests into one or two that I can actually manage and pursue well?
Confucius said “The man that chases two rabbits catches none.”
Stephen King said “I was born lucky. I am only good at one single thing. Imagine the pain and the suffering of those who are good at two things… and those who are good at most things!”
I have lots of curiosity. I can go down internet rabbit holes as I explore wikipedia or the history of some family. I can start writing an email and find it unfinished at the end of the day because I got distracted.
I remember years ago watching an interview of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and they were asked “what is the key to your success?” and they both answered immediately “Focus.”
My thoughts as I saw this interview… “ok… well I guess I will have a different type of success than them… because I am not focussed”.
What strategies do I use to focus on what is important?
Write it down – I carry my journal with me at all times. At the beginning are lists of important people, projects and ideas. I copy it over to a new journal when I finish this one. I read it a couple of times each day and it brings me back to what is important.
Have the people who want the best for you on speed-dial – I have about 20 people in my mobile phone favourites. Family are there. I have 5 friends that I know want the best for me. If I forget what is important, I know that a call to Florian Mueck will remind me of what is important and the strengths that I have.
We have enough time, but only if we don’t waste it – Dandapani shared with me last year why it is so important to prioritise and dedicate energy to the people and projects that are important.
The danger of Good, not Great – Warren Buffet is supposed to have asked his private jet pilot “write down the 20 things you really want to accomplish in your life” and when his pilot completed this, he asked him to put them in order of importance. He asked him to take time to really do this well. When the pilot completed this, Warren asked him what were his top 5. He then asked him “what will you do with the rest?” “Numbers 6 to 20? well, they are not as important, but they are still important… I guess if opportunities came up… I would take them…” and Warren said “NO!! Number 6 to 20 are your Don’t Do list… they are the reasons why you won’t achieve numbers 1 to 5”
It is not Easy and Demands Sacrifice
I find this work hard. I find that I value different things and people at 46 than I did at 25 and that I did at 16. I imagine that my 55 year old self will look back and smile at the dreams of today. A big question of mine is how to balance commitment to goals of the past, with reviewing them based on new wisdom. At the moment my balance is that I allow myself 1 hour each week where I am allowed to question the purpose of my goals… but the other 167 hours I remove these doubts and commit to progress and dedicate energy to what I have decided is important.
I did a series of courses with Dr John DeMartini back in 2010, including one called “Master Life Planning” – where for 3 straight days I sat in silence writing a word document called “Master Life Plan”. It has every place I want to visit, every person I’d like to meet, every project I’d like to complete, every adventure I’d like to have… and financial and project plans to begin. During the 3 days, I went up to speak to John. I said “this is a strange course… you just sit here while we write.” He said “would you do the work if I wasn’t sat here?” Most likely… no. It is hard to sit down for 3 straight days and think about life.