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How to get your priorities right

There are lots to learn from ancient culture about better managing our priorities, writes Scott Stein.

For centuries, native people around the world had to prioritise what was important for them to survive. Many of them followed a Sacred Order —sequence followed to ensure survival in any given environment.  

If you look around our world today, many of us are having a more difficult time to identify what is important in our lives and how to prioritise where we put our energy and focus into. Even some of the research is showing how many people are feeling unfulfilled or a bit lost and start to question what is important.  

We can however learn from the ancient wisdom that was passed down from these native people if we use these three strategies to help us get our priorities right.

Strategy #1:  Track the signs

To get back on path and ensure that you are doing the things that matter, you need to be aware of what you are currently putting your time and energy into. This is more than just taking a minute to look up from your computer screen and think about your to-do list for the day. It is about taking an objective view of what you have been actually doing and checking to see if it is right or not.

Start tracking your past behaviour and where you have been spending your time. Think of yourself and an ancient tracker that is reviewing the "footprints" that have been left behind. What would all of your tracks and activities show about where you invested your time and energy? Would these "prints" show you spending time on the things that are important to you? With the people who are important to you?

Or would it show that you have been too busy on other things? By tracking the signs, you can look objectively around your current activity — and what you may need to start changing to getting you back on path.

Strategy #2:  Seek the wisdom of elders

As we get older, we gain more experience and insights into different situations, which often allows us to be more understanding or gain wisdom.  Unfortunately, our western society often does not value the wisdom and insights of the older generation. 

Native people had a deep respect for their elders because of the vast array of knowledge they held and would often seek them out when faced with a major decision. We should do this more often. You should identify a number of elders whom you respect and admire for their wisdom who could provide you with advice and guidance to help you get your priorities right. Often, they will allow you to see the things you don't and help you get back on path after a 10-minute conversation.

Strategy #3:  Listen to your inner vision  

Inner vision is the voice that comes from deep within our soul that communicates to us on a deeper level. It is not just a trivial voice in our head, it is our intuition, a gut feeling or a sixth sense that we can use to help us do the right thing.  

Think back to a time when you knew something deep inside to be true. You may not have had the facts or evidence but you knew it to be correct and this came into reality. As human beings were wired to be guided by this, we may just need to retrain ourselves and start listing to our inner vision — which will show us what is important to us.  

It is easy to get distracted and mix up what is important to us. However, by using these simple strategies, you can help get your priorities right.

Scott Stein is a leadership pathfinder and author of Leadership Hacks: Clever shortcuts to boost your impact and results

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