What is your priority?
What is the thing your habits, thoughts, mannerisms and basically everything you do slowly moving you towards? You, like most normal Kenyans 20-something year olds probably have absolutely no idea what i’m going on about huh?
I was moved by this article on A Life Less Bullshit (check the article out here) on prioritizing your life and it got me thinking: “What the hell are my habits moving me towards?” Of course there was the kawaida “Oh my God! Jesus take the wheel!” moment, a bit of panic and kicking and screaming, the declaration that I will get my life together NOW and a few days later, back to the same old crap. Isn’t that the 4-stage process we all go through when something potentially life-altering happens to us? Let me refresh your memory.
Step 1: Go ape shit: – Make a declaration that you will change your life. And a drastic change at that. Your life must know who’s boss. I am sure anyone who’s tried to go on a diet or get serious with working out, or begin saving or get serious with their studies (I swear every semester would begin like this!) can relate.
Step 2: Actually trying to implement these sweeping changes – Newly-Saved Christians will usually delete all their secular music (I would know because I’ve done this, twelve times :-( ) and vow never to listen to anything that speaks of anything but God (which is perfectly alright by the way). If you’re trying to diet this will entail you not eating your daily dose of fries, soda, bread, fried chicken, burgers and pizza that you must consume at least 4 times a day to survive; if it’s saving it’ll mean you cutting down your consumption and aiming to save 99.95% of your income starting tomorrow and for the folks studying it will usually mean writing a study plan that will have you studying 25 hours a day and having no social life whatsoever while guaranteeing you score 99% in every unit you take.
Step 3: In trying to implement your completely ridiculous, fantastical, whimsical, comical and impractical plan, you will quickly realize that you simply cannot. You, like the rest of humanity, is resigned to the fate of being just a mortal man. You are not from Krypton, green and hulky all over, you do not own a super-hammer thing or have the sheer will power – like that of politicians to annoying Kenyans at least 7 times a week – to do it. You cannot change your lifestyle over night. So you slip up- and eat the burger and fries for lunch, buy that completely pointless accessory on your way home, listen to the radio station that so happens to play all the wiggly music you ever heard, and watch all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad at a go.
Step 4: Back to where you started – You find yourself back where you started. Only this time, you are worse off. You are now sure you “cannot do it,” “are not strong enough,” or whatever other negative self-talk your mind tricks you into making.
In recent months I have been kind of forced by life to take a whole “long term” outlook at things and stuff. It’s a long story, you definitely do not have the time to read that sob story. I’m serious, you don’t. You may think you do, but you don’t :-) Back to the point: priority.
Thinking about my habits I realized that my priority was being stressed out. Reading every stupid blog that comes out about why ladies are the reason men cheat, caring what car I want to drive in a couple of years, planning the NEW YEARS dunda in August (turn down 4 what?), “balling out of control,” stopping fights in Westlands, bribing bouncers for people while fighting off prostitutes from my friends (hehehe), avoiding alcoblow by taking every dark alley known to man, strolling into the house at 7:30am on Sunday morning and scrolling through my social media streams every hour was definitely NOT going to make me the rich and happy person I want to be. A few days of reflection later I made the conscious decision that my priority is (now) my peace of mind.
What does that mean for me? It means I am living a life that has minimal stress; I am simply not paying any attention to things beyond my control. I am paying keener attention to my personal health and overall well-being. I am putting a lot of emphasis on my personal development and simplifying my life (check out this article for some wisdom on this whole weird zen-y monk-y vibe i’m talking about) as much as possible; de-cluttering the BS.
How am I doing this?
- Eating better – less red meat, plenty of water, less coffee, less refined foods
- Throwing out the stuff I don’t need and investing in fewer, better-quality items
- Reading daily
- Minimising the time spent on TV and video games (yes, even as the new Last of Us and FIFA 15 are about to come out)
- Reducing the time I spend on social media (you can check out why I quit Instagram here )
- Slowing down the pace at which I do things
- Deliberately choosing each morning that I will be happy
- Forgiving immediately (obviously this is a constant work in progress)
- Expecting less (again, a constant work in progress)
- Being more mindful (although I’m not yet where I want to be with this)
- Minimising the noise
- Saving and investing – as in, actually making this a real thing I do permanently, not just for a few months until I find something to spend my money on and proceed to quickly max out my cards :-D
- Enjoying the more now (Check out this amazing article on inhabiting the moment)
- Challenging the assumptions, biases and stereotypes and adopting a “just do it” mindset
- Savoring and cherishing the small stuff. Like cold orange juice as it flows down your throat, sweet paw paw, washing your hands with warm water on a cold ass day, thoughtful text messages from people I would not ordinarily expect, and people in my life in general -they are all gifts, they are all temporary, they all matter.
- Being a bit more plain – “telling it like it is” more, saying “No” a lot more and being more literal – which makes it weird sometimes when someone says a joke and I’m like *crickets* :-D
Life is way better now.
I am skipping steps 3 and 4 and hey, I don’t know but it helps that my account balances don’t make me feel like listening to Uliza Kiatu 45 times in a row ;-)
What’s your priority? Where are your habits taking you? What changes do you know you ought to make?