The Priority Principle
Why We Should Prioritize Our Life
There are things that are really important in our lives, and there are things that we actually don’t need. We should prioritize things in our life, so that we give proper attention to the things that really make our lives.
A lot of the times, we worry about things that actually don’t matter, or even if they matter, only so momentarily. And again, we often waste our time and energy on things that really don’t add any value in our lives. Don’t you have such grey areas? Everybody has, to some extent. Don’t you think it’s necessary to put our time and energy in real and substantial issues, rather than in useless pursuits? Now what those ‘useless pursuits’ are—only you can decide. But, a conscious human will always try to be focused and cut down as much distraction as he can from his path.
Now, what are the things that are really the defining factors of our life? According to me, these 4 should be the top-most priorities in life—
I think the first priority should always go to health. “Health is Wealth”, they say. If you are healthy, you can take on any challenge in life and can live a vibrant life.
Now, health doesn’t just mean physical fitness, but mental health also. Actually, mental health is more important. Because if you are mentally healthy, all your actions and physical life will also be wholesome. I have a dedicated post on this: Mental Health: Understanding It & Taking Charge Of It. Do read it sometime.
I think the second most important factor on which we should focus our attention—is learning. All life is a process in learning, no? If you have stopped learning, you’ve stopped growing. Learning should be a continuous process. Learning doesn’t mean just studying or getting our education. Learning implies growth, enhancing the life process.
To learn means to always break our present limitations and boundaries and expand our skills and understanding. To never remain stuck in old patterns. Have the learner’s attitude, that is, you are willing to explore, go beyond your current state, ready to plunge into unknown terrains and experience life at a deeper level. And only if you learn, you become capable to earn your livelihood. To earn a living shouldn’t consume this much space in our life that we give. Focus on learning. Earning will anyway happen.
III. Your Contribution To The World: Create Something Valuable With Your Life.
We are different than animals in the sense that we can do tremendous good to our race, which animals can’t do. They just live for themselves and for their immediate group members. But we have the capacity to do things for the entire world, for the whole humanity. That’s the privilege and power of being a human. We should exercise this privilege. We shouldn’t let this privilege go waste.
Don’t just live to earn a living, earn a life instead! Create something valuable with your life. Make your life into an offering!
You don’t have to be a great scientist or a master inventor or a high-end politician to contribute to the world. Just try to do—whatever your job is—in such a way that it serves humanity. That’s it. Go beyond ‘my life’. Don’t just live for yourself. Animals do this. Yes, you should first secure your life and ensure the survival of those who depend on you. That’s your primary duty. But don’t be stuck to just that. You are a human, you can do unimaginable things! Go the extra mile and create something valuable with your life, so that people benefit from that. I think that’s the definition of a successful life in its true sense.
IV. Go Deeper: Explore Life
And last but not the least, in the ultimate analysis, this should be the overarching thought and crown of all our efforts—to explore the life that we are. Being born as a human, if someone doesn’t strive for that, then, from life’s perspective, that’s a wasted life! Yes, in spite of doing all the rest of the things in life, if we don’t explore life’s deeper realities, that’s a real spoiler.
You don’t have to be a theist, a yogi or a practitioner of any special school, just learn to go deeper. Listen to the wise words of the sages and enlightened beings. Do some dedicated self-study. That’s called swadhyaya. And you should meditate.
By ‘meditate’ I don’t mean you should practice any special type, just learn the art of meditation. Then comes the style—be it Patanjali’s way, or the Vedantic way, or along the way of self-inquiry or just upon life. Mediation is the path—to the inner dimensions of life, to turn inward. This turning inward is the goal of every meditation practice, doesn’t matter what style. If you’ve learned to go inwards, you are already a meditator. Just keep going.
I think these are the four things which should get the maximum priority in life. Having said that, you are the only one who has the authority to decide what your priorities should be. I have made these my top-most priorities. That’s why I am mentioning these. You are free to choose yours.
Only when our priorities are not set, do our time and energy get wasted in unnecessary pursuits. Life is a brief amount of time and energy at the end of the day, no? We should use our time and energy wisely. And for that, we should prioritize our life.