I have been asking questions to myself to try to understand the priorities in my life. Very often I don’t recognize my habitual tendencies and priorities. I just follow my instincts and believe all is going to be ok.
The problem is that most of my actions come from a very unconscious process, where I don’t have the way to choose the best conditions to evolve. It means that my reactions depend upon a less than accurate perception.
A perception that doesn’t allow me to organize and focus in order to concentrate on my goals.
When I realized my unconscious and automatic priorities, I noticed that, because I was denying my feelings, I couldn’t see my needs. Below is a diagram of how I was organizing my priorities:
- Fear of making mistakes or other related issues (e.g., what people think about me)
- Focus on the Goal alone (being successful is more important than to plan strategies)
- Focus on the Process -(When I have time from my fear)
- Enjoyment/Shame (If everything is ok I deserve …, otherwise I deserve to be punished)
Here are my updated priorities:
- Enjoyment (it is my life)
- Focus on the process (It is the only thing that really matters)
- Plans to reach the goals (Planning and targets are always changing)
- Openness to deal with fear in the moment, and to learn with it.
“We can throw away the habit of a lifetime in a few minutes if we use our brains.”
I was working with an actor, a student of mine, and after he performed a monolog, we discussed about his experience, and he described in his words: “Sometimes I was free and clear, but other times I was worrying about the lines. I asked: “Do you believe that your priority was to worry about the lines, or that your priority was to be present and enjoy the process?
After some consideration, he said that in the back of his mind the doubt about the lines was really taking up a big part of his thinking.
I asked him to do it again, this time allowing himself to not know the lines, and at the same time, direct his thoughts toward the present moment, to notice his breathing and to enjoy himself.
He followed my suggestion, and ended up doing a more connected and more truthful version of the work. He didn’t focus on the things he couldn’t control. Instead, he allowed himself to experience and see the facts, see what was really there. He was giving himself permission to enjoy the process of doing his work (which includes making mistakes).
I asked him about his feelings about the work he just did, and he said that it was more powerful and enjoyable. He was able to be present, and the fear of not being right, fell farther bellow in his priorities than his desire to explore the text and character.
Here some questions to see what kind of habitual thinking you have and how this impacts your priorities:
- Do I have problems or challenges?
- Do I think life is complicated or do I just accept the challenges?
- Do I believe that I need to change others, or do I just need to focus on changing my own self?
- Do I speak to myself harshly when I make mistakes?
In future posts, I will be deepening our conversation with more tips and strategies that could help you in the process of clarifying your priorities and your process.