Sunday, October 28, 2012

First Thing First

There must be something about this book, that resulted in me asking Rama to buy this book all the way from India after reading Meijun’s version.  Even though, I don’t find the book as impactful to want to keep it, still I should say, reading it is therapeutic. 

I think the biggest takeaways I had from this book was really:
  • The enemy of the best is the good.  This really is the core of the book - First thing first.  A lot of things are worth doing but you only have limited time. 
  • Circle of influence vs circle of concern. There are many things of which we may be concerned about like the US Elections, there are only certain things that we have an influence over. Work on our circle of influence and it will grow to encompass more and more of our circle of concern. 
  • Perhaps List - feeling stress about the list of bucket list and to do list that gets longer and longer, put in on a perhaps list - something that you don’t do but you feel fine as well. 
  • Roles - This serve as a useful reminder of the various roles that I have in my life and reminds me to keep them balanced. Roles. No more than 7 for effective management.

The problem:

Many more were achieving goals but were feeling less happy and fulfilled.  For every one thing that I have done, I can think of ten others that I should have done. 

Time management essentially ignores the reality that most of our time is spent living and working with other people who cannot be controlled. 

The Question:

Am i doing the right thing before “ am i doing things right”

Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant. 

Hence we just let urgency over take us.  For example, in a survey that asked “what is that one thing you know that you did superbly well will improve your life immensely ?” 
A great majority of people answered:
  • Better communication, 
  • Better planning and organizing. 
But we often don’t work on these.  Because they don’t act on you, you have to act on them - they are not urgent. 

The quick fixes:

Married Singles.  We don’t take time to nurture the seeds of shared vision, selflessness, caring and tenderness. 

Children.  We take the shortcuts - we are bigger, we have the authority.  We can talk down and impose our will. We can try to shift the responsibility for training them to schools or daycare centers. 

Find the purpose of why you are doing certain things:

It is not to prioritise your schedule, but to schedule your priorities. 

The burning “yes” that empowers us to say “ no” - peacefully and confidently - to the less important things in our lives. 

The key to motivation is motive.  It is the “ Why”.  As Leo Babauta says now too. He says no longer wants to lead a goals oriented life. 

If a goal is not connected with a deep “why”, it may be good, but it usually isn’t the best. If it is connected , we need to push our thinking and feeling until we break through and create and open flow between the passion of vision and the goal. 

How do you get there? 

Connect with yourself more. Understand yourself. 

Keep a daily journal , Review your mission statement, and set aside time each week to connect with your inner compass.

I am glad that I reflect frequently ( as an alternative to a daily journal) and I now create a “Momento Mori” that pops up whenever I switch on my laptop so I am always reminded. 

Plan weekly, Daily is usually fighting fire. 

I don’t plan ahead weekly.  Perhaps, I need to again, once I start working. I guess it helps that my calender is in weekly view.

At the end of the day:

It is really knowing your roles and priorities. 

Is it more important to schedule your time to efficiently solve the problems created by conflicting expectations ... or to take the time to work with others and clarify expectations up front?

Knowing your roles, and final destinations allow you to be more spontaneous in planning. 

Wisdom vs Knowledge:

Alfred North Whitehead:  “ Knowledge shrinks as wisdom grows: for details are swallowed up in principles.  The details of knowledge which are important will be picked up ad hoc in each avocation of life, but the habit of active utilization of well-understood principles is the final possession of wisdom.”

When you get enough of the gist of things, you don’t need the specifics.  Just like the story right at the beginning of the book - when Steven’s daughter was upset that she is losing control of her life with the birth of the child. However, her life was to be unbalanced in the short run. There is a time and a season for everything under the sun.  Be governed by some internal compass, and not by some clock on the wall. 

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