October 15, 2008 Peter

Meaningful Goals, Meaningful Priorities, and a Meaningful Life

With so many “good” things to commit to it is extremely difficult to know what are (or is) the BEST THING to commit to. We all, at one time or another, have taken the philosophy, at least in action, to “over commit and disappoint” rather than just telling those who make requests of us,

“Thank you so much for considering me but I don’t think that I am going to be the right person for the job. It would be inconsiderate of me to commit to the project and not be able to either follow it to the end or not be able to finish it the way you or myself would expect me to finish it. That would put both you and me in an awkward place.”

But obviously we don’t do enough of this because for the simple fact that there are books and books on top of books about this subject. It’s almost like fad diets. It is no longer a question of getting the knowledge to make good decisions pertaining to commitments and time management but the question of DEVELOPING THE BEHAVIORS (Read HABITS) to adjudicate what is worth my commitments and following through with them to the end. There are very few books that write about this. Obviously books like “First Things First,” and “7 habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey may come to mind or even the relatively recent book, “4 hour work week” by Tim Ferriss which is more about outsourcing your life. Who you may not know is a man by the name of Naploeon Hill and his book “Think and Grow Rich” that was first published in 1937 at the request of Andrew Carnegie. Here are a few things that I gathered from these books that I’d like to share about setting goals and priorities.

Some Questions to Answer.

  • Do you have a Definite Major Purpose (DMP)?
  • Do you have a Burning Desire to possess your DMP?
  • What’s your orchard?

DEFINITE MAJOR PURPOSE? What is it that you WANT TO DO?

  • Spend more time with your family?
  • Start reconnecting with the family I emotionally disowned?
  • Find someone that I can start a family with?
  • Make more meaningful and significant friendships?
  • Become an “influencer” or an expert in your career?
  • Make the relationship with your spouse as intimate as you always hoped it to be or used to be?
  • Have a reputation that your grandchildren will be proud of. (This is mine!)

Let me ask you this way. When your life is all over what would you like to be remembered for or rather what would you like your obituary to REMIND (not tell) your loved ones who you were during your short stay here? This question gets to the heart of you. It lets you tell yourself what it is that if everything was gone except that one thing (your DMP) you could still live with joy. Your DMP is a goal that you can emotionally connect to and it is this connection that gives you the burning desire to possess that goal.

BURNING DESIRE:

When a marathon runner commits to the race at the start you better believe that he has a burning desire to finish it. Your burning desire says that your goal must be possessed no matter what the cost.  Remember the saying that “if a commitment is to be made, there is a price that must be paid.” Let’s say that you have a daughter, Stacie, and you have not done a very good job in connecting with her but you decide that you should no longer neglect that part of your life. If you have made the commitment to emotionally connect then what is the price you are going to have to pay?

  • You are going to TELL her that you were wrong, that you are sorry, and ask for her forgiveness of your past actions.
  • You are not going stay a work as late as you did before!
  • You are not going to make commitments that keep you away from home!
  • You are going to invest in Stacie knowing that it is going to take time for her to respond from the consequences of years of neglect!
  • You are going to find out what is important to her and invest in her par excellence!
  • You are going to put your feelings aside when she doesn’t respond or/and she rejects your investments. She will test you because she is not going to be disappointed again because dad was all talk.
  • YOU ARE GOING TO BE A DAD!! Mission D-A-D has begun!!!!!

No matter what your DMP is you are going to have to make a lifestyle change. For every commitment that this dad is going to have to make he is going to have to ask ONE QUESTION: WILL THIS COMMITMENT HELP ME CONNECT WITH MY DAUGHTER. BY MAKING THIS COMMITMENT WILL MY DAUGHTER KNOW THAT I LOVE HER?

You are going to have many things that you want to do and need to do. Although you may want more meaningful and significant friendships you cannot neglect the current ones that you have now. This may mean that you are going to have to divide your time a little bit. You must remember that these are your goals and priorities so the only person that can be true to them is you.

THE ORCHARD RULE:

If you want an apple you go to an apple orchard if you want on orange you go to an orange orchard. So many times we make commitments on the assumption that it will help us possess our goal when the fact is that if you did a little research you would have found that it would be a commitment of “lost causes.” If you want to make meaningful friends then you go to places where you can meet and create meaningful friends. You hang out with people that also want to have meaningful relationships.

Stacie’s dad will hang out with and talk to other dad’s that have good relationships with their kids and those dad’s that are trying to emotionally reconnect with their children. He will no longer spend significant time with those dad’s and families that are emotionally disconnected with their families.

In short, are you in the right orchard for the fruit that you want?

How do you set goal and make meaningful priorities?

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