My Muse said something to me the other day that was very helpful. I’m going to paraphrase. She said, this:
You have only one problem. You haven’t reached your goal yet.
That was brilliant…and true. That’s my only real problem. For the last few days I have focused on work and money problems, and none of them was my problem. They were obstacles. Or perhaps they were part of the terrain, but they weren’t problems. I can only handle one problem at a time. My only problem is that I haven’t yet reached my goal.
Why is this so helpful? In one of my earliest blogs I mentioned that a strategy the Enemy uses is distraction. There are so many things to distract us. Some of them even seem good, like a movie or engaging in something fun. Some are meaningless, like online games or other forms of entertainment. Some are bad, like peoples’ dramas, or my own dramas. But there are other distractions as well, things that seem pressing and necessary, such as the things I’ve mentioned above, work, money and relationships.
Part of the reason these three are more problematic is that they are often more closely aligned with my Purpose. For example, I need money to get my house on the beach. I need to maintain my health and emotional growth so that one day I can spend all my days with my Muse. There are also key relationships in my life that I cannot ignore.
So what do I do? How do I reach my goal and still do what’s necessary.
First, I have to be very clear about what I want.
House on the beach with my Muse
That’s what I have to tell myself regularly. That’s what keeps me going. As I’ve said before, my house on the beach is literal, but it also represents the achievement of personal, financial, spiritual and professional goals. It is the culmination of one phase of life, and the beginning of a new one. When I get this house, then I will set new goals. But for now this goal is enough. The problem is I haven’t reached this goal. That’s really my only problem.
So what do I do about al the other “problems” and distractions? I categorize everything in three ways.
1. This is a distraction. It should not be in my life and I need to eliminate it as quickly as possible. Perhaps I can ignore it or let someone else handle it. It might be something I should have no involvement with at all. My intention is to get rid of it as quickly as possible. The distraction is like a rodent. I don’t want it in my house.
2. This is a normal part of life. This is the list of tasks and obligations that come with loved ones, jobs or other commitments. I don’t want to eliminate these, nor can I; but I don’t want to spend any more time than I have to in order to fulfill these commitments. These events, while sometimes annoying, are the best times to practice presence and gratitude.
3. Finally, there are the elements of Purpose that don’t seem directly connected, but they are. This might include spending time with loved ones and not being task oriented. It might include study, or creating a budget or exercise. These are the events that not only keep me going, but they also remind me of why I do what I do. If I have a choice between writing and spending time with someone I love, I will just as often make the person I love my priority, because, as I’ve said many times, the Purpose of Purpose is love. This is why self-discipline and a schedule are so important. I need time to write so that I have time for other areas of my life. This is why vigilance is also important.
Does any of this sound easy? It isn’t. But things that come cheaply are rarely worth anything. This is why I prefer the word “vigilance” to the word “balance.” Balance is rarely possible, but vigilance isn’t. I can keep my eye on a lot of things throughout the days. Everything worth watching leads me towards my goal. That’s all I really have to watch, because I’m not there yet. And that’s my only problem. And the only way to beat that problem is to Get Started and Keep Going.