November 18, 2010

All-Star Panel: Single Guys and Girls Answer Your Questions

I'm excited to bring back our All-Star Single Panel to answer the question of the month from one of our readers! I'm also excited to introduce two new faces to the panel...I think you'll love the additional insight they bring to the group. Don't forget to email your questions at any time to hsimkins@gw.edu.

QUESTION from a reader:
It's so easy for me to forget what the most important things in life are. The mundane/entertaining/daily necessities tend to crowd out the investments in key relationships/spiritual necessities/deeper joys & realizations.  What are some good ways to habitualize making what's most important, most important when it comes to my daily rituals and how I live my life?

ANSWERS from our panel:

Todd is a totally awesome single guy living in Arlington, VA.

Wish I knew. Seriously. This is a fight that few people have ever won outright. I certainly haven't. The best that I've come up with is to set some time aside every week to step back and evaluate life. If you don't get out of the stream of life every once in awhile, you'll have no idea just where the current is taking you. I also try to do the least important things in life first. I know that seems backwards, but no matter what we always manage to find time to do the things that have to get done.  So if we do the things we want to get done first, then both our wants and our needs usually get satisfied in the end.


Sharon is single and an incredible woman living and working as a Nutritional Health Coach in St. George, UT.

For some reason, making the most out of time is something I have been intensely aware of for as long as I can remember. As a result, I believe my productivity level is higher than the average, and yet I still am learning how to focus more of my time on the very best, and this what I have learned:

I believe motivation is the first issue to address ("He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how" Nietzsche). What are my goals? What do I want my life to look like? This we've heard over and over again. However, even after this picture has been created, goals are made, the framework is there, is it still hard to day after day take the small steps necessary to get there? It could be that the goal is not truly in line with passions and talents, but it could be that all of us get tired and distracted. It's much easier to come home from work, sit in front of a computer, get on the phone with friends, even just clean and do the immediate, but not urgent things that don't take much thought, and never get to the really vital things.

The key I've found to this, as cliche as it may sound, is prayer. I find that if I've talked to God at least at the beginning and ending of my day, my motivation is significantly, unmistakeably, higher than it is otherwise. Even if the whole conversation is: "Thank you my life and help me to do better. Bless blank who is struggling", it makes all the difference. And trust me, I've tested this time and time and time again until there's no question in my mind there's a connection. And the only reason I can tell you why this is, is because God is the source of hope. After all, if we have no faith or hope that any of it will matter in the end, that we are capable of accomplishing our dreams, what is the point of trying?

I met a very interesting mid single not too long ago who had been single for most of his life. In a relatively short period of time, he had accomplished an impressive list including, finishing 12+ marathons, multiple ironmans, pilot school, spoke multiple languages, had traveled extensively, worked for NASA, owned his own company, and consequently started medical school this Fall. Now, I'd like to think he's an exceptional example, and not all of us are blessed with the same talents. However, in the short period of time that I knew him, he spoke extensively about the power of our beliefs and how he knew this was key to his accomplishing so much.

One of the things he recommended to me was to read the book, The Road Less Traveled. I haven't read a lot of it yet, but one of the very first things he (M. Scott Peck) talks about, is delayed gratification. This one concept is helping me currently be better at prioritizing my time and getting to the best things rather than just spending my time doing the good things. For me it translates into this: if I'm procrastinating it, that's probably where I need to start. Force yourself to do the big things first, and then you can do the easier, more enjoyable things without that nagging thought that you should be doing something else. If you need to make a list at the beginning of the week, or every morning to keep in mind just what the "big rocks" you need to put in your time jar first are, do that. Maybe put a big calendar on your wall as a continual visual reminder (if you forget everything like I do). And then don't let yourself get away with procrastinating any longer.

"In truth, the only difference between those who have failed & those who have succeeded lies in the difference of their habits. Thus I will form good habits and become their slaves." Og Mandino

Ben is single and a super amazing guy living in Arlington, VA.

Making the long term investment in the things I know are important when there are so many other immediate demands on my time is something I also find hard to do consistently.  Here are three suggestions I think can make it easier, but they too require exercising some discipline:  1) Schedule the important but hard to do things first, then fill in the rest of your time with the other pressing but less essential things - and stick to your schedule.   2) Write down specific, objectively-measurable goals that relate to the most important things in your life.  Set aside a time each day/week to record your results and track how you are doing over time.   3) Get a partner to work on the goal with you so you can hold each other accountable.  (Bonus suggestion:  Read "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People".)



Liz is a familiar face on this blog! She's a remarkable single woman living in Washington, DC.

Wow, this is a tough question with a lot of dimensions. There are a few questions I think you have to ask yourself here:

1) Are your current desires going to bring you happiness if they are achieved?
 2) Are the desires you have prioritized well? Good, better, best.  3) Are you making the tough decisions in life every day to reach those desires?

I really liked what Elder Uchtdorf said in conference about satisfaction coming from having good relationships with God, with our families, with our fellow man, and with ourselves. Few moments in life can rival moments of mutual understanding, support, and love. If we're going to shoot for that level of achievement we have to put off laziness as well as myopic desires for worldly success. I feel so much more peace in my life when I focus on making the difficult decisions my relationships require - to forgive, to pray sincerely, to accept the joy that's offered to me, to try to use my work in this life to help others, to try to understand others, to just be kind. If you aren't experiencing satisfaction I would suggest assessing your time and focus to see if your routines and rituals are in line with your true desires. Not much else really seems to matter (or help you rest as easy on your pillow at night).

1 comment:

  1. These are great responses. Thanks for the helpful questions/comments each moth!

    ReplyDelete