Thoughts on prioritization
Almost all of us know the lifestyle habits that are in our best interest to adopt for a better chance at living longer and more fulfilled lives. For example, the average well adjusted adult unequivocally knows that if he/she regularly exercises and takes their vitamins, he/she will probably become a much more productive member of our society. If you’ve been paying attention, you’d have noticed that even though pretty much all of us know the life affirming habits we should be practicing on a daily basis for a better life, very few of us actually follow through. Even though we are probably pretty different from one another, i’m assuming you have human blood coursing through your veins and probably know exactly what I mean. As I typed that last sentence, I got really curious about your take on why we don’t get around to doing things we should but since you aren’t physically here to tell me what you think, I’ll just share my own thoughts on that question with you. Now then, here it goes…
I’ve personally found through talking to a lot of people over many years that the biggest reason people have for why they don’t cultivate the habits they should is a lack of time. How many times have you heard someone (perhaps even yourself) say “I know I should work out more, but I just don’t have the time” or “I should cook healthy meals more often but I just don’t have the time to”. Now I’d like to point out that there are some legitimate circumstances in which the “no time” thesis holds up. A good example of that would be the case of a single parent who has five young children to take care of, none of which are quite yet old enough to have started school. Needless to say, this person has their hands full all day and quite literally has no time to him or herself to drive to the gym for a 1.5 hour workout. For a long time, I believed that the “no time” thesis was broadly applicable to all of us until I was confronted with a pretty serious soccer injury.
Prior to my injury, I always knew I needed more vegetables in my diet but never acted on that intuitive urge because of the plethora of lame excuses I habitually used to delude myself. Until that time, healthy eating was like #245 out of 250 on my list of priorities so I never did it. The intense pain and suffering that spawned from my ruptured ligament snapped me right into focus, forcing me to find ways to get more vegetables into my diet via green smoothies and such. I don’t have any quantitative proof, but I am pretty sure that this fundamental change in what I put in my body as fuel made all the difference. The moral of my story is that a lack of proper priorities rather than “not having enough time” was the main reason for my previously poor eating habits.
You see, when we say we don’t have time to do something that is probably super beneficial/important to building a better life, we’re lying 95% of the time. This is not to say that any of us are bad people because I don’t think many of us actually realize that we are lying to ourselves and others whenever we blurt out that trite answer. For the most part though, the simple truth is that the higher you prioritize something, the better your chances of actually getting it done. It is also important to note here that we are not referring to priorities in the logical “I wrote it down” sense which is a big part of the reason why New Year’s resolutions usually don’t work. Rather, we are referring to priorities in a more emotional or subconscious sense. A good example of prioritization based in the subconscious is the need to eat when we get hungry. I don’t know about you, but when I get really hungry, I can scarcely think of anything else outside getting some high quality fuel in my body.
Okay, now that we’ve warmed you up a bit, let me give you my thoughts on what I have decided on as a good set of priorities in my own life. I should also mention here that this order of priorities was imbued in me by some seriously tough lessons. Tough lessons usually come with a prolonged burst of emotion which in turn tends to sear nuggets of wisdom right into your psyche. Anyway, below is a prioritized list of life avenues in the life of a person with a masculine essence.
- Your Health – Staying in good mental and physical health
- Your Spirituality – Staying spiritually centered
- Your Mission – Development of self, talents, giving your unique gifts to the world
- Your People – The ones who consistently offer their support
- Your Health
- Your Spirituality
- Your Mission/Purpose
- Your People
It seems like a no-brainer now, but it took me a long time to realize that maintaining good health had to be number one in my life. As a younger lad fresh off a plane from Western Africa, my main ambition was to get as good an education as possible so that I could earn as much money as possible. As I grew and matured, I came to understand a fundamental truth: all the smarts and money in the world don’t really mean much if you don’t have the good health to enjoy it. In the minds of many, there is no better embodiment of that nugget of truth than Apple inc co-founder Steven P. Jobs. Here was a man with the world at his feet who died far too young due to ill health. I’m not saying I’m in perfect health, but I put in a lot more effort to maintain it now than I previously did.
I think it was Robert Morris that once said “we need supernatural powers to get by in this world” and boy was he correct. Life is pretty much one constant distraction and without some kind of spiritual practice to ground a man in the pursuit of his deepest purpose, it is impossible to stay focused. So whether it is buddhism, christianity, islam, or any of the other plethora of spiritual practices that strike a chord within you, pick one and get deep. Very very important if you want to stay on course and keep being productive.
This was the previous number one in my life. Everything from my friendships, my family relationships, my health, and my spiritual growth took a backseat to the “boss” also known as work. Now though, my mission is number 3 on my list. Still pretty high up, but no longer number one. My reasoning behind this switch was that I need to be as strong as possible in the physical and mental realms to have the best chance at giving my absolute best to my work and serving the world. Don’t get me wrong, if you love to watch the English Premier League and Ultimate Fighting Championship highlights on YouTube for example you should absolutely indulge… within reason of course. After all, you can’t (or at least I can’t) work all day everyday till the end of time.
An important hint here to those of us that might not yet know our purpose in life. If you don’t yet know what your purpose is in life, make your purpose to find your purpose. That should keep you busy until you figure it out!
No matter how strong, brilliant, or all round awesome you are, you’ll have times when you don’t quite feel like you have what it takes to succeed. This is when having good people around that encourage and cheer you on can be of incalculable importance. So please take time to regularly interact with the people close to you just to check on them and show love. Maybe you can take them out to dinner or a concert from time to time just to show them how much you appreciate their loyalty. When these types of close friends need your help in return, try your best to show up and be there for them. Coming from someone with direct experience, a good solid group of friends that understands you is one of the most vital tools required for you to successfully complete your life’s journey.
There is a bit of masculine and feminine energy in every one of us, man and woman alike. That being said, one of these energies is typically more dominant in each of us. It is true the vast majority of women have a predominantly feminine energy while the vast majority of men have a predominantly masculine energy but this isn’t always the case. There are many women who have a predominantly masculine energy just like there are many men with more feminine dispositions. It should be noted that the priorities above are recommended for people with a masculine essence because that is the side of things that I can see most clearly. It should also be noted that this list is by no means perfect and will continue to evolve as I evolve and learn more. From all of us here at chubaoyolu.org, take care of yourselves and each other.
Oyolu B.C. Ph.D.
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