If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:2 NIV
Is love on your list of things to do today? Probably not. The “To-Do’s” that seem to be on most everyone’s daily lists are worldly items. Pick this up at the store, learn a new skill, buy that item, close that deal, and make that follow up call, and so on. People seem to think that once they have money, power, knowledge and influence they will be a success and their list reflects that.
Take a quick look down your list and see if you can find one item you are going to do today that will build a loving relationship you currently have into a closer one. If you look at your list now with this new focus, you should be able to find an act of service that you are only doing because it is for a loved one. “Take kids to practice” “Get groceries” “Clean house” “Get oil changed” are all acts of service you do to keep your family’s world running smoothly – but do they know you do those things because you love them? Do you realize now, that is why YOU do them?
We do things and pursue goals for reasons. If your “To-Do” list has become a weight of guilt around your neck, try finding your root reasons for why you want to accomplish each task. Just implementing this new focus that the unpleasant or repetitive tasks you do each day are to show love to your family, can change your outlook and attitude. Having a motivating reason for doing something makes the doing a lot easier and more pleasurable as well. You may also find you cross off a few items, because you have identified the root desire that put the item on your list, and you now no longer want to pursue that goal.
Love should be at the top of your list everyday. Add at least one item that is an outward display of love for another human being. A phone call to a friend who’s having a hard time, a stop for coffee and conversation, a long hug for a spouse or child are good examples. Then put that at the top of your list, and get at least that one item done today!
The funny thing about doing this is YOUR day will be happier and more focused when you have love at the top of your list!
I am always busy, but I am not always productive. I think many people take great pride in being busy. It’s like saying “look at me, I must be important as there is just not enough of me to go around, so many people need me and my time.”
What I really want is to be PRODUCTIVE, not busy. If you are addicted to being busy, here are 4 steps to help you move from just being busy, to getting things done.
1. Have a plan! If you don’t know what you want to accomplish, your day will be spent on distractions. Email, what to have for lunch, that stain on your clothes, office politics, Google image searches, and shuffling papers can fill your day. You may even feel like you accomplished something because at the end of your day you are tired, and you were BUSY all day long! To stay productive you need a short list of items you want to accomplish in plain view taped where you have to look at it all day, and allow that list to redirect you every time you see it. Check you goal “compass” throughout the day to stay on course!
2. Do it completely the first time. Don’t write or ask imprecise questions that then create new questions. Ask for specific information or instructions, and then repeat it back to make sure you heard what was said. Just trading something back and forth is being busy. Completing the task is being productive.
3. Stop giving away your “life gold.” If you don’t value your time and attention, advertisers, and unfocused people will steal your life gold. You have so many minutes to live, so start asking yourself before you start taking on a task “Is this worth my life gold?” Lao Tzu understood this when he said “Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.” I would rather enjoy the beauty of watching the wind rustle through the trees while letting my mind go blank, than sit in a meeting that I don’t need to be at, or managing email. When you are dead, no one will say “Wow, her email inbox was almost empty!” If you can’t be actually productive, don’t wear yourself out with busy work, stop and recharge your batteries.
4. Simplify everything! Say “NO” to requests if they do not help you focus on your goals. Reduce your possessions to those that you actually use. Each possession will take more life gold. You have to care for it, repair it, polish it, dust it, and remember where you put it. Choose any new possession carefully, as it quite possibly will be with you for a lifetime. Say yes to opportunities or charitable requests that will allow you to be productive in areas of interest that touches your heart. Volunteering for a church or school event isn’t busy work if you heart and mind agree it’s a good use of your life gold.
Furiously answering emails and engaging in office politics may seem like you are getting something done, but in the end, if nothing changes due to your efforts it’s just busy work. Start making small observations and changes each day to focus on what you want to produce with your time and effort. Visualize a shinny gold coin dropping out of your pocket every 10 minutes when you catch yourself being distracted from your chosen goals. You can’t have that life gold back, it’s gone. You spent it! Now decide what you want to spend your next irreplaceable gold coin on! Ingrain this mind picture into your daily life and it can help you spend your days more wisely on the goals and people that you have decided are truly important to you. If you spend your life gold consistently on ONLY those goals and people that are important to you, you will be truly productive every day!
“Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.”
Bertrand Russell – English Logician and Philosopher 1872-1970
Eccentric is defined as someone who deviates markedly from an established norm, especially a person of odd or unconventional behavior.
I think the “weird” part is that being unique is considered abnormal! You have interests and avocations that make you unique; your personal history is unique, so what I don’t understand is why a world full of unique people all work so hard to be “normal”?
We have all been conditioned by each other to stay within certain limits. A lot of those are needed for a safe and well run society, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun being who you really want to be.
The world told me to “get an education, and get a good job, with benefits and security.” Well those are all great things, but how about getting a job I love to do that makes me excited to get up every morning? Even if it’s not the most secure job or the best paying, what if I follow my bliss and go into a line of work or pursue a hobby that makes no sense to anyone except me?
How much of your life are you going to try and stay invisible? How many more days will you do what you think others want you to do so you can be thought of as “normal?”
Your life clock is ticking, I suggest that it is not “normal” for you to spend another moment being normal. You need to pursue the positive things you desire – TODAY.
In 1986 I met Batman and Robin and sat in a TV style Batmobile. I wanted to meet the stars of one of my favorite shows, so I created a situation so others would work to bring them to me at no cost. Adam West and Burt Ward were great to meet, but it was the car that struck an inner nerve in me. I was young and had no money but I knew right then and there that I wanted to drive my own batmobile down Hollywood Blvd.
This weekend, 100 policemen will be stopping traffic so I can do just that!
I can drive my “Natemobile” any time I want. I even drove it across the country from Florida to California in the Fireball Run rally!
No, I didn’t have a genie grant my wish; I made a wild, audacious decision to do whatever it took to have my own working drivable batmobile. I know, I know, that’s just not normal.
But from the time I decided I wanted my own version of that famous car to today, lots of people have let me know they thought I was not normal. I was eccentric or a dreamer. “Normal” people don’t drive a batmobile! I was told many times to buy a “normal” car, or settle for something that was more reasonable, like a sports car. Guess what? I don’t want to be NORMAL! Do you?
I spent evenings creating custom parts. I had a great time. I did years of detective work, and collected photos for reference. I enjoyed every minute of it. I also shared my hobby with a few friends who rolled their eyes and thought it was not only impossible, but that “normal” people didn’t want that sort of car. They also told me all the reasons why I should give up my dream. How I couldn’t afford it, or I could never get it registered to drive on the street. They even told me that I can’t have a real flame shooting out the back of my car, bla, bla, bla. I stopped hanging out with those people.
Well guess what? I have had a blast being unique. Not because other people thought one way or the other, but because it was what I wanted to do! Now, I don’t drive my Natemobile to work everyday, that would just be crazy… LOL – so instead I drive my Knight Rider KITT car! It has air conditioning and is better in the rain. It’s also a lot of fun to drive as well! Famous movie and TV cars are just one of many eccentric things I enjoy. It’s not weird, it’s what I like. I followed my bliss, and I wouldn’t change a thing, nor do I regret any of the time I spent on this “fools errand.”
Today’s action item for you is to identify your unique interest or talent and make one move today towards fulfilling your inner desire. It must be something positive, something you can control, and something that does not injure or intrude on anyone else’s rights. Give yourself the gift of exploring that adventure or experience you have not allowed yourself to consider, because it was just too “out there.” From as simple as getting price quotes for that trip to help excavate a dinosaur, or calling about learning the trapeze, make that first decision today, to separate yourself from the lemmings around you, and take the path less traveled!
Oh yeah, as a follow up, a few people turned out to greet me at the Academy Award’s Kodak theater on Hollywood Blvd!