Paramount Principles

One day I saw a woman almost get run over by a car, and it got me thinking about priorities. 

Priorities define character. Unfortunately, most priorities are defined as simply urgent, instead of important. My job right now is urgent, but my career is important. My rent right now is urgent, but my savings account is important. Urgent tasks are short-term, whereas important are long-term. This concept is known as the Eisenhower Principle. Former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower believed “I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important.The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.”

In order to successfully accomplish your goals, you must separately balance the urgent and important priorities. First, we must define the important priorities, and from them, stem the urgent.   

For me, health ranks number one. I need my body. I am my body, and I can not live without my body. That being said, it is necessary to maintain a healthy physique, as well as a healthy mind, in order to live to my fullest means. Urgent priorities would be doing my best to work out and eat healthy, as well as maintaining sound mental health.

Purpose is number two, which is directly related to relationships. Relationships give us purpose. This does not mean that one single relationship should be responsible for giving your life meaning, but rather it should be a foundation of personal connections, that together fill your life with love and purpose. Urgent priorities would be going out with friends, spending time with family, and being open minded about meeting new people. 

Next is time. According to Antoinette Bosco, “Time isn’t a commodity, something you pass around like a cake. Time is the substance of life. When anyone asks you to give your time, they’re really asking for a chunk of your life.” If everyday, people were constantly reminded of the day they were going to die, the world would be a very different place. Time is the most valuable asset and must be treated like so. Urgent priorities would be making sure you fill your day with activities that mirror this mindset, such as skipping reality tv time to read a book, setting achievable goals, as well as cutting out the toxic people in your life. You simply don’t have time to waste on people and actions that are detrimental to your life.

Growth is also a priority. Self-development is vital for survival, because as we grow older, we need to evolve. Did you define your graduation day as the termination of your learning curve? Well heads up, you’re stuck in a learning curve for the rest of your life, some years just have sharper corners. With this important priority, some of the urgent priorities consist of learning to be open-minded, having deep and meaningful conversations, as well as educating yourself about the world around you. Take matters into your own hands. Train your mind to adapt, so you can survive those crazy corners stronger than ever.

The last priority is the most superficial, yet it lies at the foot of every single priority above: financial security. Can you afford the expensive organic foods? Can you afford a night out with your friends? Can you afford to take time off to work on yourself? Can you afford to travel? If not, the above important priorities can’t fall into place. Suddenly everything becomes urgent. Your current job is extremely urgent, your rent is extremely urgent, and it seems impossible to visualize long-term goals, because you’re stuck in this “only now” mindset. Apparently money isn’t everything, but isn’t it? In this modern world, money is security. We need it to satisfy our innate desire for stability and safety. If we don’t feel secure, all we can focus on is getting to that place of safety. It quickly becomes the most important priority, outing all of the other necessary ones.

Health, purpose, time, and growth are all very important priorities in life, however, without financial security, they are much more difficult to achieve. Urgent priorities are necessary for accomplishing important priorities, but they should never be defined as crucial, because it clouds your judgment on the truly necessary things to address. Balancing these two different distinctions is fundamental to the organization of a healthy lifestyle, as it keeps the paramount principles to happiness as a forethought, instead of an afterthought.    

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