- Thoughts for inspired living

February 11, 2008


Filed under: John Morgan's Blog — John Morgan @ 9:11 am

What’s important to you? If the answer isn’t immediate, look on your refrigerator.

Most homes I visit have things affixed to their refrigerator – pictures, schedules, personalized magnets, school art, etc. These are important enough to display for anyone to see. They are visible priorities.

What’s displayed on your internal refrigerator – the one you can’t see?

Oftentimes our internal pictures, schedules, personalized magnets, etc. are scattered all over the place and don’t have order or a hierarchy to them. They all fire at once and cause us confusion and confliction. Reminds me of a story . . .

Back in 1980 I found myself out of a job in Kansas City and was looking for work. I happened to see an ad about a workshop that seemed tailor made for my needs. It was called: What Color is Your Parachute?
conducted by Richard Bolles, author of the book, What Color is Your Parachute?

The seminar was advertised as a practical approach for job hunters and career changers. Both my wife and I attended. The workshop got you to focus on your priorities before you began your search for a job or career. For example, one of those priorities was location. Both of us wanted to be within an hour’s driving distance to an ocean. There were many other questions designed to help you organize the internal scatter and prioritize it.

One of the exercises I learned, I still use today. It helps you prioritize what you think you know. Most often the results of the exercise come out differently than what you think. You may want to give it a spin. Consult the book for the official version, but here is how I remember it. Let’s start easy. List 10 things that you want to accomplish this week. Just write them down in list fashion as quickly as they come to you. They don’t have to be important or meaningful – just 10 things you want to take care of this week.

Now that they are all listed, compare number 1 on your list to number 2 and decide which one is more important to take care of. You have to pick one over the other. Once you’ve done that put a check mark next to the one you picked. Next, compare number 1 to number 3 and put a checkmark next to the one you picked. You continue comparing number 1 to all other numbers and checking the more important one. Next, you compare number 2 to number 3 and then to number 4 etc. and put a checkmark next to the one you picked. As you probably can imagine, you next compare number 3 to all the ones below it. This continues until you are finally comparing number 9 to number 10.

This exercise can take less than 5 minutes and the results can be eye-opening. The objective is to reorder your list when you’ve done the exercise. Put the thing with the most checkmarks at the top of the list and the thing with the second most checkmarks next until all the things you listed are in a hierarchical order by checkmark. You have now arranged the items on your internal refrigerator and put them in a visible display – your prioritized list.

This is an exercise that also works with deeper issues other than picking up the dry cleaning. List the things you think you really want and then start doing the comparing exercise. You may find that something that has been occupying a lot of your thinking may be close to the bottom of your list or vice-versa.

When you take the time to discover your personal priorities, you get a clearer focus on what’s important to you and then you can direct your efforts in that direction. The result is the wheat berries will drop by your feet and the chaff will blow away.

All the best,


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