It’s time for some hard, honest truths. Priorities, priorities, priorities – that’s what they always tell us about right? Do something wrong at school, uni, work – “You need to get your priorities straight”. Next time someone says it, look right back at that them and agree, cos they’re right, even if they don’t quite know it.
The 21st century priority list runs as follows:
Success – Check bank balance, invariably not big enough. Not successful enough yet. Keep trying. Represented almost solely upon your income.
Square Family – Husband, wife, 2 children, maternity leave, good school, dog. Must not indulge in other desires. Keep it regulated and safe. Tuesday night is date night.
Expectations – Family expectations, Societal expectations – either way, it’s obvious you should have your alarm clack set for 7am on a Monday morning, that much is clear. Don’t forget it.
To Conform – Dress the same (nice suit by-the-way and where did you get that bag? It’s marvelous), go to the same resort in Spain or Cuba your friends went to last year, drinks on a Thursday night, Indian takeaway on a Sunday.
Save – The taxes are crippling but put at least 10% of your money away, aside from retirement funds, just for that ‘rainy day’. Ignore the fact that it is, in fact, raining today, and has been raining for weeks.
Impress – New BMW series, larger thinner more expensive TV, Jimmy Choos, chat about the expensive restaurant you tried last week, yes my engagement ring cost $10k, he must really love me. Skiing in France so 2009, I’m in Argentina this year. I could only get 4 days off work, but it’s the new Alps, trust me.
Achieve – Graduate scheme, middle management, director. Now YOU finally get to make the decision on which new flavour of Lays can come out next year. Feel the power.
Sound familiar? Depressingly so. If you’re happy, fulfilled and genuinely content then good on you, I admire that. No need to read on.
If you’re reading this, shaking your head, knowing deep down it’s true then it’s just about time to shake it up, don’t you think? Here’s how I deal with priorities:
Happiness – Number 1 priority. Everything else derives from this. Do what makes you happy, and then do it more often. I loved to meet people, experience new things, inspire others. So I do it and it makes me happy. This is not quantum physics, anyone can do it.
Creativity – If someone asks me to draw a horse, it’s more likely to look like a vegetable. I can’t sing, play any instruments and my dancing only qualifies as dancing by very drunk people. However, we’re all creative in our own right, whether it’s writing, making music, drawing, even speaking to new people is creative. We all need a creative outlet. If you don’t have one, you’re stifling yourself. Find one. Facebook doesn’t count.
Freedom – For me this means freedom to go anywhere I want, do what I want, meet who I want. But true freedom doesn’t necessarily mean traveling, my freedom gives me the choice to travel, and I love it. Freedom means freedom to choose to do what you want to do. If you’re doing something you don’t wanna be doing, you’re not free. Search for your freedom, pour all your effort into achieving it. There’s no happiness without freedom of choice.
Fulfillment – Almost as important as happiness. In the dark of night, just before you sleep, and your thoughts are running wild. Are you happy with your life? If the answer isn’t yes, you need to change something fast. I don’t need to say more than that, you already know it.
Honesty – Honestly to yourself, honesty to each other, honesty to the world. Don’t lie to yourself about who you are, what you want, the things you need/desire. Don’t follow someone else’s dream and convince yourself it’s yours.
Achievement – This does not mean reaching a new level on World of Warcraft, or beating Angry Birds. Set yourself goals and strive for them. Reward yourself accordingly. Be ambitious and when you achieve those goals, be proud of yourself and set new goals, further and more difficult. Don’t stop trying and don’t stop achieving. Write them down and never escape from them. Without them only mediocracy exists.