Focusing Your Energy
The title captures the essence of an important exercise I practice on occasion. Our activities grow from the seeds of our priorities. The most important elements of our lives drive us to take action, in sometimes courageous and awe inspiring ways. It is the motivational forces that spawn outside of our own selfish desires which can be the most powerful in driving us forward.
Consider the following motivations:
- a parent's love for a child
- helping a life partner or loved one overcome a great challenge
- making time for an unexpected friend in need
All of these calls to our genuine nature help answer one question, what kind of person am I? Your life's decisions, and ultimately how you treat others will answer that question. There's little use in trying to come up with a preconceived (artificial) notion of self, when your genuine self will shine through simply by living. (Thanks to Shana Carp's comment for getting me thinking about this question).
Prioritizing: A Case Study
From that most important first question, it's straightforward to discover related sub-questions. This set of unknowns can provide us with a responsibility roadmap. It is a basis for prioritizing what needs to be done, and when. Here's an example that describes my driving question and related sub-categories.
1) If I could answer one question, what would it be?
Without a doubt, there is one question that drives me forward at this time in my life.
- How best I can create long term sustainable value?
Not just for my own profit, but for the betterment of mankind long after I am gone. I humbly recognize the fleeting nature of my own time here on Earth. Looking forward, I can just now glimpse a path that helps us collectively solve the most challenging global social problems.
This driving question is not at odds with my selfish desire for the love and happiness of my life mate Michelle. I'm fortunate enough to know each moment shared with her is a gift. Her presence helps me recognize what is most precious to me clearly, and to take positive action without hesitation.
2) What smaller questions branch off from this primary concern?
The Internet has woven a web connecting all minds, and various forms of social media have greased the wheels towards collaboration in many new areas.
- How can I best serve and aid others who are also on their life quests, pursuing passionate paths of great personal meaning?
- How can I aid in moving technology forward that best serves in connecting powerful communities?
- Which social media tools, protocols and interfaces can best be leveraged to connect me with others who share my vision, forging a community that will aid in building a lasting legacy?
- How can I maximize the amount of knowledge I can consume and process to aid in search, discovery, and the creation of tools to support the creation of long term value?
The sub-category questions help fill out a strategy for me to move forward. I believe it will serve others in a similar manner. Not only do they remind me of the best choices to make at critical decision boundaries, but they act as an unconscious guide to my ongoing interactions with other people I meet. When I engage in conversations with people who are actively pursuing a path that connects deeply to their driving purpose, I feel compelled to aid them in whatever way my resources allow. There is an immeasurable value in selflessly aiding others. In my case, aiding others is selfish, as it furthers my own primal need ;). When I encounter pe0ple who are uncertain of a path forward or a driving question, I ask them to look internally for clues. Since self discovery is not always a pleasant process, it can take time to find one's genuine motivation.
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