I want to be a soccer coaching-chess grandmaster-chef-musician-powerlifter-stock trader-pastor/scholar. It goes without saying that I want to be an exceptional husband and father (I have 3 children). I would also like to run a half ultra-marathon soon.
Unfortunately there are only 24 hours in a day. Therefore, it is very important in the course of your life to realize that you simply can’t do everything you want. You have to choose. Of course, it is possible to be mediocre at any number of things simultaneously. But I have no interest in mediocrity. I want to excel.
What does that mean for me right now? It means I put all my energies into a few focused goals. Let me run through my goals briefly. Soccer coaching – my kids don’t like soccer so I can’t coach them. Chess grandmaster – I don’t have 4 hours a day to spare. Chef – I can’t afford the food. Musician – I can’t sing even when I try. Powerlifter – can’t afford gym fees or an injury. Stock trader – My family is living off our money with next to nothing coming in so I can’t risk it. Pastor – Not ready yet. Scholar – well I guess this is all that’s left. (Half ultra will have to wait until I get a gym membership).
Even after you’ve picked a focus there are decisions. In terms of my goal, becoming a Bible scholar, I have a near infinite number of things to study. What I need to be studying is not necessarily the same as what I want to be studying. The question is -“what do I need to do to reach my goal?” Right now my short term goal is getting into a good PhD program. That means I need a 4.0 GPA and a near perfect GRE. And it means that I need to learn German and French by May 2013, mostly done summer 2012. Would I chose any of these? No. But they are what I need to focus on. That means I can’t learn Greek as well as I would like. It means I can’t learn the Bible as well as I would like yet. It means I can’t spend time improving the quality of my writing. Those things will come, but years down the road.
Apply this process to your own life. What are your primary goals in life? How do you get there? What other interests (distractions) do you need to remove to accomplish these goals?