[Editor’s note: This piece first appeared on DailySurge.com]
Happy New Year!
Over the years, I have come to realize that I have the same twenty-four hours a day as everyone else, and-whether I work, play or simply "hang out", I am equally tired at the end of the day.
Clearly, one can easily expend a lot of physical and psychic energy on things that have relatively little lasting value, meaning or reward. Why spend time on such pursuits? By simply FOCUSING your time on the things that you consider of greatest value, you automatically contribute to your success and happiness and life is a whole lot more interesting, meaningful and rewarding.
By selecting employment that you enjoy, that allows you to do the kinds of things you could be good at and are interested in, then you will never have to work a day in your life. And that will make it easy to FOCUS . . . to PERSIST . . .to MANAGE YOUR TIME . . . to accomplish things that are important and of interest to you.
For example, the things I have always enjoyed the most are: technology, psychology, philosophy, social science, theology and teaching. A comfortable and affluent family and home life (and lots of good food!) have also been important. So, based on these interests and needs, and the responsibility to pay my own way, I progressively gravitated toward companies and fields of work that allowed me to develop and apply my interests (product development, application engineering, sales engineering, sales management, marketing management, general management, executive management, etc.) while earning a good income. By doing what I liked and was reasonably good at, I didn't have to work too hard or do too many things I detested. I was able and willing to
FOCUS my time on my job.
Accordingly, I acquired a reputation as a superior performer and was promoted. Over time, as I learned and grew, I outpaced many of my contemporaries, many of whom were smarter than I was. (They needed to play golf or tennis or remodel their bathroom … and I didn't.) In simplest terms, I evolved to positions of ever-greater responsibility.
But I never took a position I didn't think I was suited for or that I thought I wouldn't like.
So, again, it was relatively easy to FOCUS and PERSIST.
While everyone has a different mix of needs, it seems to me that greater happiness comes from satisfying your needs for growth, achievement, recognition, responsibility, participation and interesting work (i.e., on things that you enjoy and consider worthy of your time and talent).
Ask yourself at the start of every new year, are you a better, smarter, more effective person today than you were a year ago? If the thoughtful answer is yes, then you have grown. If you are aware of this growth, then you will feel good about it and are truly blessed. Have you achieved things this year that you consider to be worthwhile … in your personal and professional life? Are you aware of those achievements? Again, if you are, then you will feel good about them and are also blessed.
And so it goes with all of our psychological needs. If they are being fulfilled, to the degree that they are most important to us, then we will be relatively happy and fulfilled.
And, if we are fortunate enough to find employment in a professional, positive and supportive company … that provides for the satisfaction of these needs …then our days … our time will be spent … not so much working for income (although that will indeed be a result) …but in the legitimate satisfaction of your psychological needs.
When that happens, work becomes a challenge … a competitive game … an opportunity to grow and build and accomplish … an opportunity to contribute and make this world a better place for all whose lives we touch.
In offering-these insights,-I certainly don't want to create the impression that I have all the answers. That’s definitely not the case. I may be an energetic and enthusiastic proponent of my views and opinions, but I certainly do not have all the answers. The search for truth and method and balance goes on. But I feel obligated to share my experience with others.
And let it be clear, I think there is nothing wrong with a round of golf or remodeling your kitchen or planting a garden or taking a nap … especially the latter!
God willing, the ball game is not yet over for me … and that final inning has not been played. Only God knows where my FOCUS, PERSISTENCE and TIME MANAGEMENT philosophy … and God’s will … will eventually lead me. But, I have done my best without driving myself (in the negative sense) and without doing things I didn't like or didn't believe in. After many years of hand-to-mouth existence, my wife and I are reasonably secure. And along the way, we've been comfortable and have enjoyed many good days together. We have been truly blessed!
My wish for you as we start another new year is that you will be able to use my FOCUS . . . PERSISTENCE . . .TIME MANAGEMENT PHILOSOPHY to best advantage … to outpace your contemporaries and those who may be smarter than you… and that you will never have to do deplorable work a day in your lives!