Many of us have busy fast paced lives. We have obligations, responsibilities, and other things being asked of us all the time. Often we are not given the choice between one good thing and one bad thing but rather it is two good things that we are given to choose. So instead of saying no to the bad choice we say yes to both of the good choices. Pretty soon this can leave us overwhelmed and beaten down. We then are left with giving a sub-par effort to the things that are important to us that we’ve said yes to.
If we don’t want to get caught up in the trap of saying yes to everything we have to have guiding principles that we are guiding our life by. In the book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey talks about beginning with the end in mind. This works with really anything whether it is with your life, project, career, your children, or even a time frame. For example, you might say by the end of this month I would like to be better at being present with my family. Having this end in mind will prove as invaluable when you are asked to spend your time doing something good and perhaps even enjoyable, but that does not contribute to your end in mind.
Lessons from the vineyard
I heard a great example of this from Issac Topin. He had wanted to get into the wine business and had a friend that offered to mentor him and show him the ins and outs of building a vineyard. Issac had done everything his mentor told him to do and after about three years his excitement was peaked when he had a full vineyard of new grapes that would grow into mature grapes that could then be harvested and made into wine.
His mentor understood what it took to truly make good wine had set out on this mentorship with a specific focus to help Issac make the best wine possible. So when he told Issac to cut half of the fruit off the vine and drop it to the ground, he was devastated. In his mind, this was perfectly good fruit and he had been cultivating this wine for the last three years and Issac wanted to cultivate all of the grapes and make them into wine. This might sound crazy right? To drop perfectly good fruit to the ground,
A plant, just as people, has a finite amount of energy. If the energy is spread around and put into all of that fruit you get average fruit because the energy is dispersed too much and it won’t produce good wine. To create great wine you cut half of the fruit off. Is the half you cut off good fruit?? YES! It is just as good as the other fruit but once you chop off half, the wine is not just twice as good, it is exponentially better.
Our lives are no different. We have busy lives, there are new opportunities coming our way all the time so it is very important to take a look at your fruit and be selective. Ask yourself if this is in alignment with what is most important for the path you have set for yourself? Does this contribute to the to the end I have in mind for whatever it is you are working on? For Issac, the End in his mind was to produce great wine so even though it may have been hard to say no to or cut off half of the fruit he did it because it was vital to his end.
When you are evaluating your journey towards the various ends you have in your mind ask yourself this question.