Mar 182013 2 Responses

How To Determine What To Do: At Work, In Marriage, In Life

I don’t run.

I don’t refuse a steak when offered.

I don’t get up at 4am, put on camouflage and cover myself in deer urine.

Why? Because I’m not a runner, a vegetarian or a hunter. Because I am not those things, there are certain things I do not do.

Years ago, I would not carry a pink backpack and play with dolls, but all of that changed when I became a father of a little girl. Now, it’s not unusual for me to have a pink coat in one hand, a pink backpack in another, and be discussing the latest quandary of a Max and Ruby cartoon. I do these things because I am a father.

One of the greatest questions people struggle to answer is “what should I do?” From the junior high student making their class schedule to the college student soon to graduate to the stressed out new mom running and house and a career, “What should I do” is one of the preeminent questions in every aspect of life.

From the big questions of life:

  • What job should I take?
  • In what city should I make my home?
  • What person should I marry?

to the everyday issues of life:

  • What should be my response to this offense?
  • What should be my reaction to this request?
  • What should be my decision on this problem?

the question of “what” haunts each of us on a daily basis.

As a parent, I spend most of my time telling my children what they should and shouldn’t do.

As a leader, I spend a majority of my time asking my co-workers what they are doing about certain issues.

As a citizen, I spend my energy focusing on what the government is or is not doing.

Life is most often defined by the “whats.”

  • What should I do with my life?
  • What should I do with this opportunity?
  • What should I do with this person?
  • What should I do with this time?

Life is lived in the “whats,” yet the “whats” of life should never be answered in isolation.

The “whats” of life must always be answered in the context of the “who” of life.

Who am I? And more importantly: Who do I want to be?

The Who should always precede the What.

Until we decide who we are and who we want to be, we can never fully answer what we should do in any given situation.

Why does a person struggle to lose weight? When it comes time to decide what to eat, they don’t make that decision based on who they want to be.

Why do marriages fail? In a thousand small decisions the couple is not making those decisions based on who they want to be.

Why do companies, churches, and communities drift from their original mission? They lose sight of who they want to be.

Many people struggle with the “what” questions, because they have never taken time to consider who they want to become. With no defining vision, it is nearly impossible to determine what action to take.

Yet when the “who” is defined, the “whats” become easier.

What I am to do always flows from who I want to be. Define the “who” and the “what” will follow.

 

                

2 Responses to How To Determine What To Do: At Work, In Marriage, In Life
  1. Caleb Reply

    Wow, first morning of spring break and I am struggling in my mind with so many questions about what I should be doing in this area of my life and in this are of my life and in this area of my life. Then I open Facebook and see the link to this post. Thanks.

  2. […] In order to know what we should do today, we need to know what day it is. Not every day is the same.... kevinathompson.com/know-today

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