Everything in life boils down to priorities. Many options, many possibilities, and we must choose. Yet, how clear are you about your choices? How clear are you about why you have chosen a certain path? There is a great benefit to making explicit in your mind, what you are prioritising implicitly. You might even find that you are accidentally, acting against your own interests! Such is the value of making implicit priorities explicit.
You are prioritising even when you are not trying to
You are prioritising all the time, whether you like it or not, whether you actively intend to or not. Often, this involves little things, like skipping lunch to finish something you are working on. However, major life matters, like family or career, may frequently be in play too. Yet, you may be blind to the fact that you are ALREADY (de)prioritising all manner of things, as revealed by your actions.
You may, for example, put up with a bad boss or toxic workplace at great cost to your health. Perhaps because of the pay, the status, or the learning opportunities. Whatever the reasons, there is much you can gain from being clear for yourself that you are doing this. That you are, in fact, prioritising something over another thing. Only then can you really ask yourself if it’s worth it. Making implicit priorities explicit has the power to change the very focus of your life. For, only by better understanding the trade-offs behind your choices, can you create the opportunity to choose differently.
Making implicit priorities explicit reveals pitfalls
Making implicit priorities explicit often reveals uncomfortable truths. And, however difficult to face these may be, doing so gives you the chance to change. To avoid pitfalls that you had not been aware of. One such common pitfall is prioritising status achievements over what gives you a genuine sense of freedom and enthusiasm.
This is tantamount to prioritising a state of tense anxiety, born out of constantly looking to the future, as you bend yourself out of shape to fit some pre-packaged idea of success. Chasing status achievements amounts to prioritising a distant future over the present — tomorrow’s promise over today’s possibility. A moment of ‘glory’ over an ongoing experience. And, noticing that you are implicitly prioritising life in this way can liberate. For, you can start to let go of these implicit priorities and explicitly choose healthier ones.
Clarity and following your interests
Sometimes, we will have to prioritise between equally fulfilling experiences simply because time is limited. Unlike the pitfall of status achievement, this involves choosing between different activities all of which are rich, just in different ways. For example, these days, I have been prioritising my vocal and guitar practice over writing and contemplating. I enjoy all these practices hugely, however my mind is very much with the music these days, so I must allow myself to follow it. Plus, intensity of focus can sometimes come in phases too.
Whatever you decide to prioritise it all begins with the clarity that comes from making implicit priorities explicit. Otherwise, you might spend your whole life running after fake ideas of fulfilment without even realising you are doing so!
Harsha is a 1:1 coach and independent thinker based in London. He empowers people to find more clarity, confidence and focus in their lives — to cut through the noise, in a world so full of it. Harsha’s new book, Machine Ego: Tragedy of the Modern Mind, is now available in paperback and Kindle through Amazon.