Greg McKeown in his book Essentialism has described how the word priority “came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular. It meant the very first or prior thing. It stayed singular for the next five hundred years.”
Then in the 1900s it became popular to speak of priorities rather than a priority. Now rather than having one first or prior thing, we have a myriad of priorities.
Finding the Balance
In our modern world, instead of giving focused attention to one thing, we find ourselves touching hundreds of things. McKeown speaks of the importance of being able to look at everything facing us in life and effectively discern “the vital few” from “the trivial many”.
In a recent talk, author and pastor Wayne Cordeiro, speaks of the principle of the fulcrum in addressing the struggle to find balance. He explained that we need to learn to move our focus (or fulcrum) closer to the area where we feel the greatest pressure.
For example, if my family is needing more focus, I need to move my heart more towards my family. Then, a while later once this has been stabilised, I move my focus to where new pressure is being exerted. This process will assist us in our quest to find the proper balance in our life.
There will often be competing pressures in business, as in life, when the fulcrum will not be easily discerned. These basic truths will help to zone in our priority:
- God designed marriage to take precedence over all other relationships. Your spouse is your first priority before all other relationships.
- The children are more important that any client in business.
- Your employees and business partners are more important than the client (keep the family united so they can best serve the client)
- The client is more important than me or you.
When assigning priorities, you will need to be prudent, cautious and measured in your thinking as it can be a doubled edged sword.
A Biblical Lesson
Interestingly, if we look at the life of Jesus, he was excellent at keeping His focus on the main thing. He had a limited number of activities that He spent his time on and made these His primary focus.
For example, He spent much time meeting with His 12 disciples and speaking life into their lives. He could have spent all of his time performing miracles and running around the nation with speaking engagements. Instead, He focused on a few people and on a few areas of His ministry where He knew that He would make the most impact.
If Jesus chose to focus in on the vital few rather than the trivial many, so should we. In John 7:38 Jesus says that, “Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” In this age full of distraction, I feel that we tend to have muddy puddles flowing out of our lives because we are too often focused on the wrong things, rather than on the rivers of living water.
About the Author: Dr Alan Louis is a third generation entrepreneur in a family with a 100-year business history. He devoted his life to Christianity as a child. Awarded a PhD in Commerce, is an Ultra Ironman Triathlete Gold medallist and was inducted in the IBC Hall of Fame for entrepreneurship. Internationally he has served on more than 100 private corporate boards, and has experienced the trials and successes of commerce for 3 decades.