Priority #1

I was supposed to go to my first kendo (sword fighting) class 3 weeks ago. A business trip was moved to the week after I was supposed to start. Meaning that I could go to a class, but would then take almost two weeks off before I could get to my next one. So I decided to postpone it until after I got back so that I could build a little momentum by going to a few in a row.

4 times in the last week I tried to go to classes and it didn’t happen. What happened? Life happened. But last night was the final straw.

I haven’t found anything in samurai books about priorities. I’m assuming being a samurai warrior superseded everything else. It was their work, their family…their whole life. Unfortunately for me, that isn’t the case. And I have other things that are a higher priority than this…namely family and work.

‘Get your priorities straight,’ is usually is said with a lesson attached in the subtext that ‘Family should be top priority at all times,’ or, ‘Money is just not that important.’ What that person is really saying is, ‘Get your priorities in line with my priorities.’ And that’s not fair. 

Look, everyone should have their priorities in order. Everyone should know exactly what’s important…to themselves. I know that seems like something 2nd nature, but is your behavior in line with what you want out of life the most?

I know that’s a broad and very vague statement to say get your priorities in order…so let’s make it more practical. More real. 

Write down a list of the top 5-10 things that mean the most to you. In order. So if you value your family over your career, or your financial situation over your personal health. Write the higher ones higher and the lower ones lower. And do this honestly. This isn’t for anyone else but you. If you value getting paid and working out over spending time with your friends or family at this time, write it down that way. I’m not showing you mine and I don’t want to see yours. Write it as if no one will ever see it. This is all about what you value…and ONLY what you value right now. You don’t have to feel badly if family isn’t at the top. Or if personal health isn’t even on the list because it’s not on your radar. This list will change in a year. Maybe it will change in a week. But right now, what are the most important things to you…in order?

There can be no ties on your list. This list forces you to choose, because life sometimes forces you to choose.If your family wants you and work wants you at the same time, you are going to have to choose where to go.

Now look at that list…and honestly tell me if your behavior and your decisions are matching up with what that list looks like. So if your girlfriend or boyfriend is down pretty far on that list, yet you seem to stop everything and go running over there every time they call…then you’re either not being honest with yourself in your order ranking, or you’re making a bad choice every time you are going over there. If personal health is near the top of your list, and you’re not working out and you’re eating fast food every day…then really? If you don’t know if you are acting correctly, then write your list out, and observe your own behavior for a week.

I know this seems like common sense, but if you don’t have it written out, you can make bad decisions without even realizing it. Other people don’t understand what is really important in their lives. Or you stray from what’s really important because life takes you in other directions…away from what you want. This list and thinking about this list and how it relates to your behavior will help. Then simply start focussing more on behavior that’s going to positively affect what you want to affect.

I am mad about not going to class, but I shouldn’t be. There are some things that rank higher than Urban Samurai…although not many.

I am going to kendo class tomorrow…no matter what…unless my kids or wife get sick again.