Priorities: How did you come up with yours?

Posted on January 11, 2012


I once attended a business seminar & came away remembering this line more than anything else…”A person is motivated by 1 of 2 things – what are they going to get or how can they prevent getting hurt.” The part that really stayed with me was this next line the speaker said; from whatever standpoint people had studied human behavior, they found that, “people are MORE motivated to prevent a loss, than to achieve a gain.”

That is, rather than being most motivated to get ahead of their current situation, people are more inclined to stay where they are and fight anything that could make them slip. Well that certainly paints a dismal picture of human nature, doesn’t it?

The vision I have from that statement, however true it may be, is that of a plate spinner. Folks have all these plates (or maybe just a few plates, but to them it seems like a lot of plates because of their perspective on things) spinning, and it’s not really that hard to keep them going – watch a plate spinner on youtube, once you learn the technique, your role in keeping the plates spinning seems pretty consistent, simple, & repeatable. Not difficult.

BUT – you must always be watching for the plate that starts slowing down so that you can spin it again & return it to its full speed in order to keep it from falling. Just keep everything going, don’t let the plates fall. Sound like a point you’ve ever been at in your life? Just keep everything going…your main priority being to just hang in there. You don’t have to change much, if anything, to ‘just hang in there’ – consistently similar output, simple execution because you know it so well you can almost do it on auto-pilot, and repeatable, just keep doing that which you’re already doing, and you’ll maintain (hopefully) the same outcome.

Here’s the thing though: if your only concern is preventing a loss, hanging on to what you’re already doing is likely what you need to do. But what about avoiding erosion over time? The world is changing rapidly folks, and the output you’re putting out today will likely not be ‘enough’ to keep you in the same position a week/month/year from now. So wherever you’re just “hanging in there” could will begin eroding like sand being washed out by waves.

Personally, it’s my hope that “just hang in there” times in my life occur rarely, if ever. But I’m also generally of the mind that I want to achieve as many gains as I can vs. fighting to prevent a loss. Even when the world around me is crashing down, the LAST thing I want to do is ‘hang in there.’ Frankly, if things are rough, I want to get the heck out of there (wherever ‘there’ happens to be in that tough situation) & to do so – I must change something.

And it is the desire to change things or leave them the same that will be the driving force in creating your priority list for your day, your year, and your life. Is what you’re doing a priority because of where it can take you? Or because it can keep you somewhere? Is what you’re doing keeping things ‘safe’ or is it freaking your shizz out because it could potentially take you somewhere big – like big.

This is a blog devoted your your optimal wellness, so apply the questions of ‘making gains’ or ‘preventing losses’ to that realm…but take a look at the other areas of your life. How are you prioritizing things? Have you even thought about what you’re doing recently or is it on auto-pilot?

A wonderful woman came to meet me at ProKine last night – she’s going to be changing her life by completing a marathon this year with coaching & support from ProKine. And oh yeah, she can’t remember the last time she ran for an hour straight, let alone the 4 1/2-6hrs it will take her to finish the marathon. This is a big deal for her. And at one point in our conversation, she acknowledged that even she wasn’t quite sure why she had de-prioritized herself for the last decade or so. She was focused on spinning the plates. She’s an awesome lady, and we’re so excited for her to be grabbing her life in both hands & shaking it awake from its’ ‘plate-spinning consistency.’ She has re-prioritized her life & rather than prevent a loss/stay the same, she’s motivated to go for big gains in her health, fitness, motivation, & quality of life.

Super quote I pulled off Twitter today that suits this post perfectly:!/jensinkler/status/157185227414962176

This post came thanks to my friends over at Whole9 who were the first to respond to my request to the twittersphere for one word, any word, that I’d blog about. Their word? “Priorities”. I’m fighting off a head-cold so my brain was wacky and in need of some focus, and writing seemed like the logical thing to get back on track. And if this post makes no sense, well, sorry, I did the best I could with a brain that puts things in pans on the stove then doesn’t turn the stove on. yay head colds! So thanks D & M! If you’ve never checked out what they do over on their site, I recommend you do! It may just change your life.

PS – This is my 1st post on my new new Mac…I have no idea how to put pictures in yet using a Mac, so no pictures for this post. I have no idea how to do a lot of things on a Mac.