Following up on yesterday’s post about one aspect of behavior — how much stuff you carry and how functional you are — that correlates with importance is how calm or rushed you are. Likewise, how purposeful or reactive you are.
People who know their priorities tend not to be rushed. They know what should be done in what order and they do it. So it’s not surprising that people who know their priorities also get where they want to go in life. So people who are successful tend not to be as rushed. They’re calmer because they know they’re doing what is most important.
People who don’t know their priorities don’t know in what order to do things. They can’t be as comfortable not knowing if they should be doing something else. For that matter, they don’t know when they should follow someone else’s advice since, for all they know, the other person might know better. So they have to react to other people. They switch back and forth between tasks, losing efficiency.
You’d think most people would prefer not to be rushed. Nonetheless, I haven’t observed people to favor calmness and effectiveness (hardly a scientific observation — just anecdotal evidence). Many choose rushed and reactive because to the untrained eye their bluster and activity can look like getting things done. But rushed and reactive is different from working quickly and efficiently.
It’s easy to trust and defer judgment to someone who is calm and secure. It’s hard to do so with someone flustered and frantic.
You probably want to be calm and secure. How do you do it? By knowing your priorities. How do you know your priorities? There are many ways, but they all lead to being more emotionally aware — that is, to know what your emotions are, how your emotional system works, what parts of your environment trigger what emotions, and what emotions motivate what behavior.
Why is emotional awareness so fundamental to importance? If something doesn’t affect your life, it’s hard to say it’s important. If it does affect your life, it motivates you do change something. Being motivational doesn’t have to mean it’s motivational like a motivational speaker, though it might. Anything that gets you to behave motivates you — hunger, thirst, and so on motivate you. And food and water are important to you, at least when you’re hungry and thirst.
Your emotions are your motivations. That means your motivations and emotions are at the root of what’s important to you. A glib explanation, but the root of it.
If you prefer being a CEO, top athlete, great musician, or excel in whatever you do, learn to be more calm by knowing your priorities, by understanding your emotions and emotional system. If you want to be a grunt or an admirer of others, don’t learn your emotions, react to others instead of charting your own course, and work hard without getting much important done.
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