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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Make a Plan

I've said it before: "First things first."

Recently, I've been working with a bunch of stories, called in Chinese "The Sutra of a Hundred Parables." There are only 98 (the first clue that there's something funny going on), and they "star," in every case, a "fool" who just doesn't get it.

I've been looking for common themes in these stories, and one that comes up over and over is the failure to put first things first.

For example, in one story, the king gives a fool a dead camel to eat. Before he butchers it, the fool discovers his knife is blunt, so he goes looking for a grindstone--which is on the second floor of his house. He sharpens the knife, goes downstairs, and sets to work. The knife gets dull again. So what does the fool do? He carries the camel upstairs. Here's a guy who doesn't know how to prioritize. What a fool.

But are we really any better?

How often do we set about to do things in B – C – A order, or C – A – B?

This is first and foremost a matter of mindfulness, taking that moment to stop and think: A – B – C.

So stop putting the cart before the horse, or traveling east to get west. It adds unnecessary stress to the necessary burdens of life.

Make a plan.

You'll be happier.

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