How do you get something that is hard to find, contrary to how we typically think, and absolutely essential to us learning and growing?
I’m talking about the space to reflect. To stop. To get off the treadmill and think about what is going on.
At the Institute, we build in time for reflection as a part of the curriculum. I think about this often when we look at adding something new to the curriculum because often reflection is the first thing we think about removing when we need more time. Just like training is the first thing to go when budgets are tight, or time with your partner is sacrificed for the kids, or working out gets put aside when you have a deadline at the office.
Stephen Covey speaks about putting the “big rocks” into your day before the “small rocks” take up all of your space. What are your big rocks? Are you making the time to address these big, important issues that are essential to your happiness and success?
My guess is that we all struggle with this. In fact, I think we stress about it so much that we give up and go back to playing Pokémon Go. We engage in distraction that eases our pain, takes away the pressure, and keeps us busy on the “small rocks.”
So how do we take time to reflect, train, think, exercise, and such?
I would suggest that we get clear on two things that drive every decision we make – pain and pleasure. Most everything we do is driven either by what pleasure we get from that activity or what pain we avoid by not doing that activity. Once we get clear about whether pain or pleasure is driving our decision making, we can begin to think about how we structure our day. We can begin to make decisions that focus on the pleasure we get more than the pain we avoid.
When we get to the point that we enjoy taking time to reflect more than we fear the pain of missing the next Twitter conversation about House of Cards, we begin to put those “big rocks” into our lives that ultimately result in new learning, new habits, new perspectives.
I’m not saying that we should completely avoid distraction or not be motivated by pain. I am merely suggesting that choosing to focus on what is truly important today that also makes us very happy is a heck of a way to go through life. It beats being busy in minutiae, high blood pressure, eating donuts, and being exhausted with nothing to show for it after years and years of doing so.
How am I choosing to use my time?
What am I choosing to do with the time I have?
And, are my choices reflecting my purpose and values?
That, my friends, is living and leading with integrity.
Reflect on that for a bit and keep your head up when you are searching for Pokémon.
Paul is the President of LeaderShape and pinches himself everyday for that opportunity. He is a father, son, husband, athlete, avid reader, eternal optimist, and sucker for the underdog.