“Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions.” ~ Dallin H. Oaks
Rarely do I jump on bandwagons. In economic theory (and more specific to financial markets), the act of doing what everyone else is doing and foregoing requisite thought or analysis is called rational herd behavior. But with this opening video, an impending Super Bowl commercial that has been viewed by 19+ million in two days, I am jumping on the viral bandwagon. Why? Because it makes me feel good and it actually has a message for we humans.
Yes the video is light-hearted. It also infers connection and perseverance – attributes that add value to our lives. While we cannot eliminate everything unpleasant from our lives, we are going to be more likely to focus on things that make us feel good and we enjoy doing. So when we feel overwhelmed with all that we are doing, examining our motivation for taking on so many obligations can help us understand why we feel compelled to do so much; why we feel unhappy.
One thing that can cause feelings of being overwhelmed and off balance is that you are not living by your priorities. You may be living on auto-pilot. Or you may be doing things that you were “supposed” to do, as determined by others. To restore equilibrium to your feelings, and start to regain some balance in life, you may need to revisit your priorities. Case in point: If you spent eight hours working at a job you dislike, that job is still your priority. If this is fine with you then you are doing okay. But if you spend time wishing you had a more fulfilling _________, then it is time to think about your priorities.
If determining your priorities seems difficult and you still feel pressed to take on more, try imagining how each new commitment will impact your life before saying yes. And if you are open to suggested actions in support of setting and keeping your priorities, here are three:
- How would you like to live your life? Write down all the things that are truly important to you, the things that ten years from now will make you proud. Now is not the time to worry whether what you are writing down is feasible or not. If you write down ten or more things, you are probably mixing the urgent with the important. The important cannot be more than four or five things.
- Reward yourself. It is important to reward yourself for setting priorities and following through. If you’ve achieved a milestone towards a priority, don’t just cross it off your list and move on to the next thing. Create time to reward yourself for a job well done.
- Get wise counsel. Be open to engaging others but keep in mind that wise counsel comes only from wise people. It is imprudent to seek the counsel of someone who will just agree with you. Often the best advice is contrary to your own desires.