It is no secret that the great geniuses of our day are those that have learned to harness the power of simplicity. From Steve Jobs in Apple to the Google homepage, people are hungering for focus. We search for focus in our gadgets and consumer products, but often our personal lives remain very cluttered. Now is the time for us, as CEOs of our own lives, to take stock of what programs need to be eliminated and what priorities need to take precedence.

I saw a great quote on twitter recently. It was something to this effect, “The essence of strategy is deciding what not to do.” Let me tell you what the average person does. The average person reacts to the stimulus around him or her. He does not choose entertainment or social media purposefully, rather he is sucked in by its pull. The average person is easily sold. The average person does not know what she is looking for or seek out knowledge to make informed decisions. The average person doesn’t know what she wants from life beyond a paycheck or current life situation.

I watched one episode of Hoarders in which the therapist they got for this guy was amazing. She helped this high level compulsive hoarder by giving him a sense of focus. She asked him a series of questions that helped him define his values. She had him narrow down his values and priorities to just a few. Then, as they were cleaning out the apartment, she would question each item and asked him whether or not that item fit his list of goals for his life. Essentially, she was teaching him how to live intentionally, rather than becoming a slave to the environment around him. She was teaching him how to say no to all the things that did not fit into his ideal life concept.

While all of us are not compulsive hoarders, I think that there is something we can all learn from taking time to think through our values and our priorities. Instead of waiting for people to “sell” us on how to use our time, we can take control of our own time and use it to accomplish or invest in the things that matter most to us. We are finite beings and we cannot do everything well or be everywhere at once, so we are forced to decide which things we value most.

People who are exceptional have exceptional habits. It is no surprise that they end up accomplishing more with less. Most of us can do more than we think we can, but we have to forgo other activities in order to do those things. Many are not willing to forgo average habits for an exceptional lifestyle. So, it becomes more and more important for us, as our choices increase, that we are able to know ourselves well enough to do the things that give us the most value for what we invest. It becomes essential that we notice the types of things that bring us joy, the types of projects in which we excel, and the types of relationships we want to continue.

Each time you say no to one thing, you are saying yes to another. Each time you say yes to one thing, you say no to a myriad of other things. Think before you act, write and rewrite goals, spend a little time focusing yourself each day. Develop habits based around your values and your goals. Eliminate as much drudgery from your life as you can. Forget about the fear you may have when you venture into something new. Look for others who share your passions and partner with them, learn from them, grow with them. There is a lot of stuff you can live without. But living without focus and passion is a pretty sad existence.

What things have you said no and yes to recently?

  1. Karrie says:

    This must be a popular subject God has been dealing wiith us. In the last two weeks I purposely made myself take note of the things that are my heart’s desires, my priorities to God, husband, and son, and the things that I dread. I noticed the biggest issue came when I cared about what others thought my priorities should be. So, after making a goal for the last week to stay on track to my priorities (hard when met with other’s opinions), I felt much more peaceful in knowing how I spent my time was pleasing to God, regardless if others thought it was silly or without point. I did my best cooking, cleaning, listening, and writing this week after removing distracting thoughts. Bottom line is seeking God’s Word for your priorities and implementing these ideas into action is the best effeciency there is. You really can’t go forward with an action plan until you know what is important to God, yourself, and the priorities in your life (how obvious!!!). Another good post, Leigh.

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