Sometimes we get so caught up in the daily grind of life, that we seldom stop to evaluate what is really important and what matters most to us. If we’re not aware of where we are heading in life, it can lead to some serious negative consequences.
The practice of reacting to life instead of intentionally designing our lives can lead to:
- Feeling unmotivated and unfulfilled.
- Having lack of clarity as to what we want out of life.
- Not having a purpose behind what we are doing.
- Chasing the wrong things in life.
- Not being happy with where we are in life.
If we don’t know what is important to us, then we can end up going after things in life we think we want or will bring us happiness, but when we do achieve them, it can be very painful to discover that they did not bring us the level of satisfaction we had hoped they would.
So then, how do we determine what is important to us in life?
One way is to first be aware of things we may think are important but are really not.
I remember after I had bought my first home, the thought of having a mortgage caused me a lot of stress and mental anguish. The fear of being in so much debt resulted in me wanting to get out of debt quickly. As a result, I started pursuing real estate investing because I thought that would help me get out of debt quicker. I attended numerous seminars and invested in various resources related to property investing.
The truth was it was not something I was even remotely passionate about. It was all driven by fear. It should not come as a surprise that my real estate investing venture lasted less than 12 months because I did not have the motivation or the drive to do what was required to succeed as a property investor.
The lesson I learned from that experience was to never pursue something in life just for the money. While there is nothing wrong with pursuing financial freedom, for me, what was more important was experiencing joy and fulfilment in the process. If it was not something I was passionate about, then it would not be something I would do for any extended period of time.
We all do things in life because we think they are important, or because they meet some basic need we have. It is highly beneficial to do a regular review of where we are in life and what we are doing in order to eliminate any unnecessary activities.
Here are five things we may think are important in life, but when we stop and really examine these things, we will find that they are not as important as we make them out to be.
- Always being busy. Busyness is like a badge of honour today. The most common excuse we hear as to why people aren’t looking after themselves or pursuing something they’re passionate about is not having enough time. Busyness does not equate to success in life. We have to consistently ask ourselves why we are doing what we are doing and whether it really matters over the long term.
- Putting the needs of others at the expense of your happiness. Taking responsibility for the well-being of family and friends may seem like the right thing to do. And it often is. However, if it is at the expense of taking care of our own needs or our happiness, then that does not serve us or those we are being responsible for. If we are not fulfilled in life, then we’re telling others, through our choices, that it is okay for them to do so as well.
- Wanting to help someone when they are not ready to be helped or want your help. It can be hard to accept that not everyone wants to be helped even though we can clearly see that they could really use it. Instead of sharing our perspective on how someone should or shouldn’t be, it is better to allow people to make their own choices. If we are asked for help, then if we’re in a position to do so, we can certainly choose to provide any help necessary.
- Being driven by fame, fortune and success. It is very rare for anyone who has been driven solely by fame or fortune to experience true joy and fulfilment in life. They should be by-products of making a difference, serving others, or filling a need in our marketplace or community. The truth is any material success we have is only temporary because we never really own anything. When we pass on, whatever we think we own, will belong to someone else anyway. At best, we are temporary custodians of the things we think we own.
- Looking for that magic bullet. It is very easy to look at someone who has achieved remarkable success and think they were “lucky” or they were in the “right place at the right time.” That belief can often result in people wanting to connect with famous people or with industry influencers just so they can be perceived as being successful. There is no magic bullet! The best way to get ahead in life is be a person worth emulating, be a good role model, and do good things. People only care about how you can help them improve, grow or achieve more in life.
If we start evaluating all the things we are doing that we think are important, it won’t be a surprise to find that a lot of the things we are doing are being driven by the wrong reasons or being driven out of fear. The good news is we always have a choice to make adjustments every day and start focusing on what really matters most to us. The more things we can eliminate from our lives, the better quality life we will have.
Question: What is something else that we may think is important but is not?
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