The Greatest Challenge Today
The world challenges you on a daily basis. From the moment your feet hit the ground in the morning to the point where your head hits the pillow at night, you’re locked in battle. You will battle to keep your focus, to decide where to spend your energies, where to spend your money, who to befriend, how to succeed, how to find the easiest way to happiness. From the moment you’re born until the time you die, the battlefields will change but the battles will be constant.
You’re surrounded by noise in its various forms. Random ads trying to convince you to buy a product that will make your life better by making you more beautiful/famous/popular, gossip magazines screaming for your attention, Facebook feeds just waiting for your contribution to another pointless debate, meaningless meetings where you can spend hours discussing non-issues in an effort to find new ways of not making progress (Tip: If there are issues that keep popping up on your meeting agenda and no discernible progress has been made in their direction over the last 90 days, let them go. They’re wasting your time & you’re probably not going to get them done). Eventually it becomes easy to get so caught-up in fighting your battles that you lose sight of what you’re fighting for in the first place. The lines have become so blurred that we now equate activity to progress. Yet innately we’re all fighting to do work that has meaning.
The challenge isn’t to make yourself busier, it isn’t about making bigger to-do lists, it isn’t about scheduling every hour of your day to the max. There’s no scoreboard keeping track of how many conferences you attend, how many pages of meeting notes you take down or how many committees you’re a member of. Do you know why doing of all of the above and more won’t bring you fulfilment? How is it that doing more isn’t helping us become more? Because the metric we’re using to measure ourselves shouldn’t be about how busy we appear to be, it should be, “To what extent does my work matter?” As a society, this is one of the pressing questions we need to answer for ourselves.
How much of real-world, practical value exists in the subjects that children are taught at school? Do we award children and employees for reaching milestones & targets or do we award them for doing meaningful work? When you or your organisation hosts a conference or workshop, how much of actionable content will attendees leave with? It’s fine to have tonnes of committees, councils and institutions, but do they accomplish work that matters?
Quality management specialists & performance experts have long written about the need to sacrifice the allure of the trivial many in exchange for the ability to work on the important few. Do fewer things, take on less projects, decline membership on boards and committees if need be, so that above all else, you make an impact. You craft a fulfilling life. You leave your mark on the world. You do work that adds value so that you make an impact that helps human-beings lead better lives.
So that’s the challenge today, doing work that matters. Make sure yours does.