In the Pirates of the Caribbeans movie series Captain Jack Sparrow had a magical compass that did not point north. Instead, it pointed to the thing one wanted most. Once the owner of the compass settled in on the thing he or she wanted most, the compass would point in the direction where it would be found.
While none of us has such a magical compass, we do well by having our lives focused on those things we want most out of life. One of the reasons many of us do not have more of what we want is that we allow our lives to be pulled into too many directions, without focus, that keeps us from gaining the things we really want. When we drift through life hoping that the things we want will come our way, they seldom do. It’s only when we are focused on those things we want most are we apt to achieve them.
Several years ago a vendor with whom a company I owned did business had a meeting with one of their most successful dealers as the special speaker. He was there to teach us how we could build up our businesses to be as successful as his. I felt like he was pretty full of himself, but he was giving some good suggestions which I felt were worthy of trying in my own business. He stressed the level of dedication that was required to enjoy the level of success he experienced and made a point of mentioning some of the nice things he owned as a result of that dedication and hard work. However, it was when he mentioned that he was in his third marriage that he lost me. The way in which he said it sounded to me like it was just the price one had to pay for success, and that was a price I was not willing to pay.
In a few weeks my wife and I will celebrate our 53rd anniversary. I wouldn’t trade any of those years for all toys he had accumulated or the success he had achieved. Everyone has to know what is the most important thing they want out of life and then pursue it with a passion. I want to be successful in the things I do but not at the cost of losing my family or compromising my values.
Several years ago I read a book that really helped me put this in perspective. The book was Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Dr. Richard Swenson. In the book he talked about how easy it is to get our lives out of balance due to all the demands on our time. He also wrote about some of the dangers of living life out of balance, some of which I had already experienced. One of the things I realized from reading the book was I had to know what were the most important things to me and how to set boundaries and priorities in my life to ensure that I experienced them. From that point forward it became a matter of discipline and focus. Like Sparrow’s compass, that focus would take me to the thing I most desired.
It is a choice, isn’t it? Every day we decide how we are going to spend that day. If we spend it doing things that really don’t add much value to our lives, we might be busy, but we won’t be focused on the things that are most important to us. Choose wisely how you use every day you are given.
How focused is your life? Would you say there is a healthy balance in your life, or is your life out of control, constantly being pulled away from the things you want most? Have you ever thought about what is most important in your life, and have you ordered your life so you can experience them?