In his audio programme, ‘What Matters Most’, author and speaker Hyrum W Smith describes the following situation. You are in your car, alone, driving along when, without warning because you weren’t paying all that much attention, you find yourself entering a thick fog. It is all-enveloping; like a pilot flying into cloud who loses all sense of up and down or right-way-up, the depth and intensity of the fog means you lose all sense of where you are. You can barely see in front of you despite your summer-time use of fog lights, and you have no reference points ahead, to the side or behind that can help you.
Immediately, you brake but still concern yourself whether what is behind will collide with you. You slow, terrified that something unidentified and ahead of you will threaten your personal safety. You are now in a dead crawl, almost stopped. Your progress is extremely limited, if it exists at all.
Suddenly the fog lifts. Now you can see where you are going, in absolute clarity. The way ahead is clear. You start to accelerate; you make headway and your mind is now free from the clutter of fear. In time, you reach your destination.
Is your life occasionally just like that?
Do you sometimes lose all sense of direction and find yourself slowing to a dead crawl, wondering what you are for, where you are supposed to be going, even convinced that even when you DO know where that is, you are never going to get there? And when the opposite applies, when you really know what you’re heading for and how to get there, doesn’t life feel great, like you have the moon on a stick and nothing can spoil things?
High self-esteem comes from knowing what you want, seeking it and acting in a fashion that is wholly congruent with what you believe. The opposite is an experience many of us have, where what we are doing is absolutely not what we want to be doing, or (worse) the values of those for whom we are expected to do it are in conflict with our own.
I know I have seem people I respect and admire start to follow a ‘political’ path that is wholly out of kilter with how I thought they were, and knowing that they were in conflict with those beliefs meant I was having to spend time challenging my own in order to work for them. Instead of working towards the vision and with the values I thought we both had, they fogged things with ‘political sensitivity’ and our attention and activity were diverted and slowed.
This was a hateful place to be. Situations like this mean you start work for pay instead of passion, when the economic realities of life are the only thing stopping you from telling your employer to stuff their hypocrisy and their job. It’s when work becomes a chore instead of a vocation.
A failure, or environment-imposed inability to act in keeping with your values and personal vision causes the worst, densest, vision-spoiling and therefore dangerous fog that could ever be.
Smith’s example illustrates just how important Vision actually is. The contents of my two books, Effective Time and Life Management and The Three Resolutions, include some serious arguments for developing your own sense of purpose. Or Google values-based time management / mission statements/ values clarification and read more.
Please. I don’t want to collide with you because of your own fog. I have enough challenges dealing with my own.