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Priorities: Where Do Yours Lie?

"The most important thing in training is consistency, the most important thing in life is priorities”

This is a quote I heard from the St Louis University Basketball Strength Coach a few years back. It did resonate with me but didn’t really hit home until recently.

The reason it hit home with me is that it made me look at what I prioritize in life and how I can set up my life to where it is full of activities I love to do, along with the things I get to do.

Notice I said GET to do. Sometimes we look at daily tasks as chores and it can drag us down and we look for distractions in our handheld devices, alcohol, sports etc. to take our mind of the “stresses” of life.

Get to the point.

Here is my point. There are certain things in my life that I need in order to be balanced. Cold showers, prayer, meditation, breath work, exercise, journaling, connection with others among other anchors. If one of those anchors is missing, I drift and things don’t go so well. Energy drops, my mind makes me crazy, I become irritable, I start blaming and looking for excuses as to why I “shouldn’t” do the things I know I need to do to get me back to balanced.

Extremes Create their Opposites. The wise avoid them.

I’ll use the analogy of a pendulum. The energy of the pendulum creates the exact opposite of its original force. If you lift the pendulum to 30 degrees and let it go, it will swing to 30 degrees on the opposite side. This same thing happens in life.

Everything is temporary right? For example, say we are in a state of stress because one of the kids is acting up in school and the husband is being an ass and my back hurts and I have to pay these bills, I can’t exercise because I have no time and so on and so on. We allow all these things to stress us out to a point of depression. Eternal forces are “stressing” us out. These things eventually go away, and things start to get better.

Now life is good. Got a raise at work, went on a vacation, kids are getting good grades, relationship is in a good place, I’m exercising daily and eating well and we’re high on life. External forces are making us “happy”. This is the pendulum of life. We are living on the extremes swinging from one side to another without taking time to hang out at the bottom of the pendulum, where balance resides.

It is at the bottom of the pendulum where life is peaceful and drama free. “Bad” circumstances don’t stress us out and “good” circumstances don’t get us too high. We see the moment, the event, the circumstance for what it is. Nothing more than what it is and nothing less than what it is. It just is!!! Life is happening as it does, and you CHOOSE to respond rationally and realize, this too shall pass. We are centered and living internally versus externally.

So how do I do this?

An awesome technique that I used to find what I truly value in life was sitting down and counting my 168 hours of the week. I tallied up what takes up my time. 10 hours of driving combined with listening to audiobooks per week, 42 hours of sleep, 20 hours of training, 12 hours of admin work, 3 hours of hygiene, 5 hours of exercise, 2 hours of mediation and breath work, 2 hours of journaling, 15 hours of TV and phone and so on. Based off this, I then adjusted what I would want my 168 to look like. Do I really want to spend 15 hours watching TV and looking at stupid shit on Facebook? No! Where can I cut down and redistribute that time to ensure I maintain my anchors to keep my pendulum swaying in the middle versus swinging back and forth violently? What are my non-negotiables?

If we truly want to better ourselves and live a balanced, drama free life, we must put in the work on the front end. Take the time to figure out what we value and realize the rest is bullshit. Cast it aside and then we can experience life rather than participate in it.


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