Navigating Life vs Parked
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” — Howard Thurman
Given the many distractions that compete for our attention these days, it’s not surprising people don’t devote more time to what truly inspires them. We have a habit of tuning out anything that is not urgent. There was a time when a person was only contactable via a telephone landline, with no answering machine. Nowadays, I can reach you through email, text messaging, instant messaging, social media, and dare I say, call you on your mobile device. Yet, this has not improved our lives other than making us more available. Being more available equates to having less time to focus on our priorities. As a result, we say ‘yes’ to things that don’t inspire us, but offer a sense of satisfaction of having undertaken the task. What I’m proposing, is that we adopt a positive attitude towards tasks instead of, it will do for now. How do you feel about this as an idea? Are you willing to give yourself one hundred percent to a task instead of half-heartedly?
The idea was first discussed by the American entrepreneur Derek Sivers where outlined his preference to engage in pursuits he is passionate about, instead of those he’s obligated to do. What if you adopted a similar approach? You may avoid doing so because saying ‘no’ to good enough projects, goals or relationships suffices to keep you motivated for the time being. It’s an idea I refer to as being Parked in my book The Power To Navigate Life. My contention is that we are Navigating Life, pursuing that which resonates with our deepest self or we’re stagnant, not making progress, hence a Parked state. The idea came to me from a book on relationships, where the author suggested men tend to stay Parked in intimate relationships, more so than women. They are content to stay in the relationship instead of missing out on intimacy and company. When we settle, we compromise our self-worth because we accept less than meaningful conditions. The basis is to move from being Parked to a positive mindset in everything we do.
Manage Your Time
“A person can succeed at almost anything for which they have unlimited enthusiasm.” — Charles M. Schwab
When we say ‘no’ to requests that are low priorities, we free up time to say ‘yes’ to areas that serve our highest good. By embracing a positive attitude, we focus attention on what really matters. It’s vital to explore our full potential because in those moments we experience deep flow states and awaken our greatest ability. We may undertake meaningless tasks or commit to relationships that don’t inspire us because we’re fearful more opportunities will not show up later. So, we take what is available now, hoping it will occupy our time until something better comes along. It’s what we devote our time and attention to now that matters. Time is a precious commodity which many people squander. That is why we ought to guard it with our life and choose opportunities that inspire us, rather than just being task-orientated.
You can’t get everything done because it’s impossible. You are likely to wash over the activities without fully committing to the task. The question arises: How will you know whether to undertake a project or say ‘no’? It’s as simple as this: If you don’t feel a spark of enthusiasm, it’s unlikely you’ll see it through to completion. It is my experience, if something is difficult at the start and I’m lacking motivation, it will fail because I’m not bringing my whole self to it. If you cannot bring a positive attitude to the task, it’s best to say ‘no’. I assure you, adopting this frame of mind will yield success and you needn’t buy into the fear that more opportunities won’t become available. In fact, more quality prospects will emerge since you are careful what you give your attention to. You should say ‘yes’ to tasks that excite you, that you are passionate about and to which you’re likely to bring your best work. There is little room for negotiation and no grey area when we pursue a positive attitude since we commit to the task or relationship or not at all, in which case we walk away.
Similarly, it pays to know which areas of our life we apply this positive attitude to. It may pose a challenge to commit to every facet of life because of competing interests. For example, your partner may want to visit their favourite restaurant and you don’t feel the same way. In this scenario, diplomacy prevails to maintain a healthy relationship. Embracing a positive outlook will change your approach to life, insofar as developing a laser-like focus while managing your time. You concentrate on high value areas that lead to happiness and fulfilment, with a better chance of success. Given the many events that compete for our attention, it’s important to be discerning with our time. We become inspired by our goals and projects, instead of expecting a situation will improve as we go along; it seldom does. Therefore, commit to life with passion and fervour, otherwise you will be pulled along by secondary tasks that are less desirable. Life is too short and valuable to be pursuing goals that contradict your greater self.