What Won’t You Do?

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Work 1,000 hours? Go to the ends of the Earth to uphold your word? Lie to keep others happy?

We’re presented with thousands of choices each day. Many are simple to make; others are a bit more difficult. Often times, these choices have a ‘cost and effect’ type of feel. In fact, every choice has a cost and effect to a certain extent.

One of the biggest choices that we have to make on a daily basis is where we’re going to spend our time. There’s a finite amount of time in your day. In my mind, how you choose to spend it tells a ton about your character. Are you spending it working? Are you spending the vast majority with your family? Are you complaining or taking life head on?

I’m known to bite off much more than I can chew in far too many situations. I commit to projects without first looking at my calendar and seeing how they interact with each other. This typically results in having 15 projects due on the same day and a few sleepless nights to make it all happen.

By only looking at where I spend my time, an outsider looking in would easily say that work was the most important part of my life. If I take my own words to heart, it would be hard for me to argue based on my time allocation throughout the day.

Naturally, I’m going to tell you that this couldn’t be farther from the truth, but the “proof is in the pudding” as they say. As a result, I took some time to sit down and make a list of things I wouldn’t do. We make to-do lists all of the time and constantly think about what we would like to be doing in the future, but often times, the list of not-to-do items can be much more powerful. I first came across the idea from Tim Ferriss, and I think it applies to many other areas outside of work – like prioritizing items in your life.

So, without further adieu, here are some things that I will not give up:

  1. My relationship – Obviously, I think this should come first and foremost. My fiancee is more than accommodating when I do the honors of taking on enough projects for two men. She picks up the slack and helps to keep me sane. More than once, our time together has taken a huge cut so that I could finish certain projects. Never once has she complained (she’s amazing). But, in my mind, I’d rather finish fewer projects on time and still be in a relationship than be a workaholic living single on the streets. End of story.
  2. My health – For me, this includes both mental and physical. Coming from a personal training background, staying in great shape will always be of high importance to me. I function better when I consistently working out, and I’m also a much more delightful person to be around. No one wants to catch me after a week off from the gym. I’m irritable and grumpy.
  3. My time – While I do love working and spend quite a lot of time on the computer, my time is still just that – mine. As a result, I’ve made a focus to work on this I like rather than things that pay the highest. For the longest time, I was trying to get ahead by working higher and higher paying jobs. As anyone would have told me early on, that’s not the road to happiness. Now, I work on things that I enjoy even though they might not pay really well (or at all). If there’s a skill I want to acquire, I pick it up without worrying about the future payoff. In my mind, focusing on enjoyment first will lead to financial success down the road.
  4. My purpose – Often times, conversations are focused on the topic of work. In my mind, work and purpose are two vastly different things. Someone can work all their life and not fulfill their purpose. The easy road out is to assume that since you’re making money and have a steady job, you’ve found your purpose. But, that’s far from the truth. Your purpose is something that keeps you up at night. It’s a part of you that you just can’t give up. Work is something that you do to make money. Many individuals are fortunate to find work throughout their life. Few are lucky enough to discover their passion.

So, there you have it. Those are the things that I won’t give up going forward. As usual, action speaks a lot louder than words, and it will certainly take a change in mindset going forward, but it’s an important transition to make. I take great pride in the things that I do. This shift only prioritizes certain aspects of my life. In my mind, these items should be the priority going forward. Rather than set-up a priority list, take some time to list out certain elements of your life that you aren’t willing to concede. In my mind, it only helps to clarify decisions going forward.

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