I’ve heard that the word priority originally didn’t have a plural version. In other words, it just meant the one thing you put above everything else.
But today we can’t accept that. There are too many important things in our lives and so we end up with many competing priorities.
I believe this is, in part, one reason why so many people are so stressed out. Multi-tasking is a cultural mandate, one which is killing us. Trying to keep all those plates spinning at once without letting a single one drop soon becomes a near impossible task and even if we do pull it off for a time, we’re awkward and clumsy about it. No matter how good we are, eventually, one of those plates is going to come crashing down on our heads. Then we get all depressed about it because we couldn’t pull off the impossible. And no plate-ituds are gonna make us feel any better about it.
So yeah, I’ve broken a few plates in my day.
There is a beauty to single-mindedness: stubbornly placing something above everything else on our to-do list, every time. I’m reminded of Paul’s words in Philippians 3:13, 14
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Like him or not, you've got to hand it to him, the guy knew what he was about. He had a single, clear goal that everything else fell beneath and was seen in light of.
I must admit, I’m terribly bad at having a “one thing I do.” It’s an area where I really want and need to improve. Perhaps you do to. But how should we do it? Here’s a simple suggestion: pick a watchword.
After reading my post on FOCUS, my coworker, Colleen, told me her word for the year actually was “focus.” It struck me, this is a great and relatively easy way to center your mind and actions on a singular thing.
Pick one word, write it down somewhere you’ll see it all the time and continue to reflect upon it. Are the things you’re doing line up with that goal?
Like my coworker, you could have one word for the year, or even for the month, maybe just the week. Whatever the case, pick one which means something to you and helps you prioritize your priorities.
If you're wondering, my word is: Onomatopoeia.
Kidding, kidding. I don't even know how I'd live that out, just making strange noises all the time. But I already do that, quite well might I add. No, my actual word, for realsies, is:
persisting, especially in spite of opposition, obstacles,discouragement, etc.; persevering
lasting or enduring tenaciously
constantly repeated; continued
So there you have it, persistent.
Say, what's your word?