Get Inspired : A Story About Setting Your Priorities Right

Do you ever feel unsure of what to expect from your future? Or that it’s hard to determine what it is that you really want and need?  Or most importantly,  that your time is wasted in meaningless activities that distract you from your goals and objectives?

Sometimes you may turn a blind eye towards what really matters in life. You may take things for granted or not set your priorities in a way that serves your highest good.

The following story has been going around the internet for quite some time and it is an excellent metaphor about how we often lack awareness of what is essential in attaining balance and  living a fulfilling life.

A philosophy professor stood before his students holding a large glass jar. Silently, he started  filling  it with rocks, about two inches in diameter. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

All students agreed that the jar was full.

Then the professor picked up a box of pebbles and emptied it into the jar. He shook the jar lightly and the pebbles rolled into the empty areas between the stones.Once more, the professor asked his audience if the jar was full .

The students laughed and then agreed that the jar was full this time.

The professor then picked up a box of sand and emptied into the glass jar. The sand filled the remaining empty areas. «Now,» said the professor,» I want you to understand that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things in life; your family, your health and your relationships. If everything else was lost and you only had the rocks left, your life would still be full and  make sense. The pebbles represent the other things that matter in your life, such as your work or school. The sand symbolizes the  «little things» and material possessions.

If you put the sand first into the jar, there will be no room for the rocks and the pebbles. The same can be applied to your lives. If you spend all your time and your energy on the small stuff, you will never have space for things that are of real importance. «

Sometimes we waste our energy on things and activities that are not important in our search of fulfillment. This often happens without you noticing it and only later you realize that time has passed and  you didn’t do the things you wanted or that you lost contact with friends or family.

If you ‘d like to utilize your time in a more fulfilling way, consider the following questions:

 Which are the activities that you are currently engaging in and are not serving your goals, needs &values?

What would you like to succeed in?

 What do you think  is your calling in life?

 Knowing what matters to you is the first step to effectively design your future.

To clearly set your goals, fill in the table below.

Long Term Goals(next 5 years)

Medium Term Goals(next 2 years)

Short-term goals(next 6 months)

Career

Income

Leisure

Family

Community I live in

Relationships

Self-actualisation

Other

As soon as you clarify your goals, consider what steps you could take so that you make them happen. Try to focus on your own efforts rather than on what you would like to be different in the environment around you or in your circumstances. Often circumstances cannot change and the only thing we can control is our attitude towards them.

It is also beneficial to review your goals at regular intervals in order to remind yourself what you want to achieve or even to add new goals and revise old ones.

Cultivate your optimism. Even if you are going through tough times, avoid to nurture a pessimistic or defeatist way of thinking. You may often hear that optimism about the future is unrealistic, or that «it’s better not to get enthusiastic so to avoid disappointment.» Even if you sometimes believe that a more negative outlook is protective against future pitfalls and frustration, try to challenge yourself and think differently for a change. The truth is that negative thinking is more likely to prevent you from setting targets or from feeling confident that you can achieve your goals. Negative thinking often immobilizes whoever engages in it, whilst most research shows that optimistic people are more determined, motivated, manage their goals better and enjoy good health.

To enhance your optimism, reflect on the following:

What good things could your future hold? Assuming that there is really something positive for you, what might that be?

 

What can you expect with joy and excitement?

 

What  pleasant and positive things will happen this week, month or year?

Believe in your ability to succeed and ignore all the «critical voices» in your head that tell you the opposite. Create for yourself a fulfilling, balanced life that offers you the joy and happiness you long for. Even if in the past, you‘ve tried and you failed, you can create a new chance for yourself, because every new day could become a new chance.

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