Do you have a hard time focusing on what matters? I know when I was younger, that was a challenge for me. Heck, sometimes it still is!
The fact is, life can come at you hard. So true is this, that you can find yourself working to keep your head above water just dealing with what’s thrown at you on a day-to-day basis.
One of the more difficult things about that for me, has been trying to answer one question. That question is, “What’s actually important?”
There’ve been times when a given problem or situation would pounce on me, and I didn’t do the thing I should’ve done with it. I should have asked, “How important is this what is calling me in the grand scheme of things?” But we want to be fixers. We want to be seen as doers; as people who solve problems.
Don’t mistake what I’m saying here. By no means am I indicating that when things are important, you shouldn’t set about dealing with them. The problem here is deciding what’s important.
You would think that’s tough all on it’s own, but the reality is, it’s harder than I initially thought it was. That’s because life is constantly changing. We’re in a shifting morass of variation and frankly, new circumstances and situations.
Just when you think you’ve got things nailed down for a bit, they change. I’m sure you do what we all must do, you scramble to readjust your way of doing business to accommodate what’s happening.
Just when you think you have a handle on things, you realize you’ve prioritized something incorrectly. Now you’re left scrambling, trying to fix things.
The hope is, as you get time and experience under your belt, you’ll figure out what’s significant and what isn’t. That may be what’s wanted, but for many, it’s not what happens.
It may not be true for you, but it is for me, I’ve had problems asking the correct questions. Put another way, I’ve been prone to take things as they come, instead of asking, “Is this really what’s important right now?”
It’s easy to do. In fact, it seems—and probably in the short term is—less complicated to take this approach to life. In the long run though, it’s often not the better way of doing things. In fact, the results can be downright horrendous.
Speaking for myself, I can tell you it’s often true that the things that get up in your face are not the most important things with which to deal. That’s the case even though they seem to be the more urgent.
Sometimes, you must deal with them just enough to calm things down. Sometimes, you can all but ignore them completely until some point in the future when you’re both equipped and ready to deal with them.
Making the choice to ignore something entirely, or put it off until later (again, sometimes after applying a band-aid), can be hard. You see something that looks important—like it wants to be dealt with—and your first instinct is to jump on it.
In doing so though, you may find that you’ve left undone one or more things that, where not as loud, really needed done more than the thing that screamed at you.
This is where asking the right questions comes in. If you fail to take the time to inquire of yourself, “Is this the most important thing right now?” and “What should I be doing at this very moment?” You’re likely to allow things to drive you rather than controlling them. This may seem right at the time, but you may to come to realize it’s not a good thing.
Honestly, if you’re not presented with multiple things wanting your attention at many points in your life, you’re probably not paying good enough attention.
And lest you think I’m causing my own problems by overthinking things, keep in mind that old adage, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” As much as it seems like that approach is a good one, sometimes that wheel squeakingmay not be the important thing.
At some point, the wheel will squeak and make it so you forget to put gas in the tank. So as you’re driving to the lube joint, your car grinds to a halt, not for a noisy bearing, but for want of fuel.
Now your problems are worse than they were before, when your wheel was screaming at you for lubrication.
Telling you, “You should’ve gotten fuel first, silly.” Is only helpful inasmuch as it clues you in, so you don’t make that error in the future.
The more important thing, is to hand you the consideration before something becomes critical.
Let’s face it, the last thing anyone wants, is to be admonished when dealing with a crisis.
If I can get you to consider changing how you work now, the hope is you won’t have that difficult time to deal with.
I’m not telling you it’ll be easy. Again, life often comes at us light speed. Believe it or not, it’s in those times—when things are flying by—that your choices are often the weightiest.
“Do I do this or that?” “Which of these things is most critical?” “Is this really all that important” “Am I missing something that wants attention?”
It can be hard to ask yourself questions like these when the world is whizzing by. Doing so may be the difference between things getting better and their getting worse.
You probably won’t be at ease backing up and taking a fresh look at things; it’ll likely feel like you haven’t the time and effort to do so. The question is, “What will the consequences of failing to take the time to review be?”
Do you feel like you’re always making the wrong choices? Does it seem like you regularly miss critical things? How many times a day do you say, “I wish I had done this or that.”? Perhaps it’s time to start stepping back a pace or two and asking the right questions. I know that’s often the case for me.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.