We usually don’t like to be questioned.
Those questions may come from our own children, our students or athletes, our colleagues, or even our bosses. We often get defensive when someone ends their sentence with a question mark. This is because questions make us go deeper…and we usually like to stay on the surface.
One man whose name is synonymous with questions is the Greek philosopher Socrates. In fact, his name is attributed to a technique he developed and we still use today. The Socratic Method is simple: continually ask questions to probe into a thought, idea, or paradigm until its flaws are exposed, or we understand it at such a deep level the idea stands triumphant.
We Must Let Our Mind Work
Today’s message is peppered with questions that will hopefully help us create space in our lives to ask ourselves some tough questions. The purpose is to help us form the habit of asking ourselves questions, so we are not defensive when others interrogate us. When we are confident in what believe, we are able to form healthier relationships with the people in our lives.
Our first set of questions is…
Do you feel overwhelmed by your daily agenda?
Do you have at least 5 minutes in your schedule where you can sit quietly with no distractions and allow your ideas and creativity to flow?
If YES, what are the benefits of your life from this time of solitude?
If NO, where can you create time in your schedule for this (it may require giving up some technology)?
In order to improve and reach our full potential, we must let our minds work. The best way for our mind to work so it can really digest ideas and be creative is to make time for ourselves. This is why societies that are based merely on survival do not typically flourish with art and creativity. It’s also why we can often be more efficient when we work fewer minutes or hours.
Be Intentional and Be Present
We can’t reflect and create when we’re in survival mode. Or when we are bombarded with information or simply moving from task to task to task.
If we want to become more, we have to do less.
I don’t like the term time management. It’s true we all have the same amount of time in one day. It’s an equal resource: 24 hours…1,440 minutes…86,400 seconds. But I don’t think our mindset should be to try to manage our time. However, we do need to have the mindset we should spend time on the things we claim to value in our life.
I’m also not a proponent of the term work-life balance. Because it doesn’t necessarily have to be equal. We don’t have to look at it as a juggling act. But I do think we need to be intentional with our time. We do need to be present with the people we are spending our time with.
So here are a couple of easy questions to ask ourselves here:
Did I spend time on the activities…and with the people…today that I value most?
Was I present and engaged in those activities…and with those people?
What changes do I need to make in this area of my life?
Fundamentals of Writing Our Own Story
If we truly want to reach our potential and be the best person we can be, we need to have time to reflect on the fundamentals of writing our own story.
What is my vision and how am I pursuing my dreams? Am I seeking excellence and growing my character skills? How can I rise above my storms and overcome my obstacles? In what ways can I be a lighthouse and lead others by serving? Do I know my integrity and am I living by my principles and values? How can I seek peace and fulfillment while enjoying the journey of my life?
We need to reflect on where we currently are on our journey. And we need to find time to develop ideas and create new avenues for growth as we move forward.
Creating Time in Our Schedule
For most people, the best opportunities for quiet time are first thing in the morning when they wake up or just before going to bed. For myself, I am much more productive when I first wake up in the morning. Once I get tired in the evening, it is hard for me to be creative. But maybe none of those times work for you.
Do you have time on your lunch break to give yourself quiet time?
Can you implement a quiet reading/writing/drawing/creativity time with your kids at home?
Can you make a commitment to only check your e-mail 3 times a day instead of 10 times (or more) a day?
Can you set a reminder on your phone to stop scrolling through social media at a certain time of the day that you normally do and put the phone away for 5 minutes?
We may have to change our schedule at least a few times a week. The ability to say no to certain things and be able to carve out just 5 minutes a day for reflection and creativity can change our lives dramatically. And it doesn’t just happen on its own. We have to be intentional about creating this time.
Doing less is not about being lazy or frivolous. It’s about creating time and space to ask ourselves questions that make us go deeper. This helps us experience peace when we understand the gifts and abilities we possess and the purpose of our lives. And it gives us the opportunity for fulfillment when we give our value away to others.
And here is today’s final question: Do you want to make an impact on this world?
We can become more by doing less and, ultimately, this will help us make a difference in the lives of others…
That’s how we Lead for Impact!