Do you have a clearly defined priority list?
Having a clearly defined priority list makes it much easier for me to make important decisions. If you don’t have a priority list or have just never thought about it, having one might be a good idea. My list looks like this:
2) Stephanie (My lovely wife)
3) My Children
4) My extended family (Mother, Father, Brothers, Sisters Etc.)
5) My business (Lake City Awnings & Signs, Inc.) This one supports our family with income.
7) Other people (this could be anyone in need)
8) and then Myself
Now this is not an exhaustive list, I’m sure we could come up with others to add if we really spent some time working on it, but this is basically what I try use as my list. Now obviously this is my list that I believe I should follow, I have no delusions that I always do things according to this list, I frequently move #8 to #1, but this is going to happen, unfortunately I am not perfect yet.
The reason I share this list is I feel that it’s good to have a list like this when making important decisions in life.
Let’s start at the top.
1) God. I believe that God sent his Son, Jesus, to die for my sins, and by doing so he bought my life with his. This means I owe everything to Him, I will do my best to do what it is He wants me to do. There a numerous ways to learn what God wants you to do, not the least of which is read and study his word. But this is not the post to go into details, mostly because I’m certainly not an expert.
2) Stephanie. My lovely wife. I believe that when I took my marriage vows, we became one flesh in God. No longer am I my own man. I am Gods man first and Stephanie’s man second. When making decisions about life, she has just as much vote as I do.
3) My children. After my wife my children are my most important earthy responsibility. Decisions made about anything to do with #4 and down will be heavily influenced by what is best for my children.
4) My extended Family, pretty self explanatory I think.
5) My business. Now here I would like to put #6 in front of #5, but my business supports my family with actual money. At this stage of my life my business must take precedence over budo. If I am not supporting my family with the money we need to survive, then my priorities are out of sync.
6) Budo. And 7) Other People. Now I put Budo under my business because for the reasons mentioned above. But you might ask why is it above Other People? Well these two (#6 and #7) can and do get switched around once and awhile. I put it above because of this quote:
The Warriors Creed. “Wherever I go, everyone is a little bit safer because I am there. Wherever I am, anyone in need has a friend. Whenever I return home, everyone is happy I am there.” …
I have spent a long time learning Budo (Warrior Way) and this Creed is one of the reasons.
8) and finally Myself. Now again I have no delusions about my great passion for others, I am a selfish being, I regularly put myself at the top of this list, but just having the list makes me think more often about what my priorities should be.
So in conclusion when I have to make decisions about how to spend my time, I try and refer to this list. When I first started training in Budo, I could train 3, 4, or even 5 times a week without any problem, because Numbers 2,3 & 5 did not exist yet. When I got married we had to come to a compromise (Stephanie and I) about how much time was spent training. We decided that 3 nights a week would be okay. Then we started a business, and had our first child. My priorities changed. After our second child it became clear that 2 nights a week would have to be enough time spent at the dojo. And this is where we are now. I train 2 times a week and have since my youngest child was little (he is nine now). Now as the children get older and the business becomes more stable, I hope to be able to go back to 3 or 4 times a week training. But this is not possible if I want to respect the list in good conscience. This is just one example about how I use the list to make decisions. Obviously I could give you many more, but this I think will do for now.