Success Starts Early - Prioritize
As an adult, there is nobody to stop me from buying a cake every single day and eating it all. It sounds good but would quickly make me very fat and exceptionally unhealthy! There's no law saying I have to do basic chores to keep my house clean. I don't have someone checking up on me to make sure I get enough sleep, wear sunscreen on trips to the beach, or look both ways before crossing the street. So what is it that makes me do these things? The easy answer is that I don't want to get sick or hurt. But perhaps the better answer is that I've learned that it's important to know what you want MOST should take priority over what you want NOW.
With three daughters growing up in our house, my wife and I spend a lot of time telling children what they can do, what they can't do, and what they should do. Their ages are a little spread out so the rules for one girl aren't necessarily the same for the others - as they get older we try to grant them increasing levels of responsibility, which we see as the real measure of maturity. When a person starts to understand and make their own decisions about what is important, it becomes clear how well they are able to prioritize.
Imagine a test given to children where they were offered a treat immediately, but told that if they could wait for a certain period of time without eating it they'd be rewarded with a second treat. Children who believe what they're told (and that's a separate topic we'll have to discuss at a later date) might well ignore the one, even though they wanted it, because they wanted two even more. So what represents your second treat? If you have been reading this blog for a while and already wrote down your goals, then you have a pretty good start on knowing what you want. You may have even defined what it is that you want most.
And now you just have to make sure that remains your #1 priority.
One of my favorite ways of guessing how a person prioritizes is the shopping cart test - will a person, free of supervision or promise of gain, put their shopping cart away after a visit to the grocery store? We all want to get in our cars and leave, especially if it's hot outside and we have perishable food! But if we determine there's something we want more (whether it's a decent society where people are helpful, or just a local parking lot free of property damage), won't we take the extra step to put away our cart? It's a small step in the right direction!
Author Og Mandino is one of the great storytellers of all time, and I cannot recommend him highly enough. For a better understanding of today's topic, I'd encourage anyone to read his book entitled The Choice.