by: Staci Stallings
This revelation hit me the other day while I was listening to a speaker on having financial balance in your life. The author talked about a goal setting seminar he went to. The lesson he revealed is that too often when we set goals, we are setting the “have” part of the equation, then “doing” the work of getting to the goal without ever making the effort to “be” anything.
If you’re paying attention, there’s a math lesson that translates to this message. Any math person will tell you that there is a definite order to life. A + B = C, and if you get it out of that order, even the simplest of ideas can get overwhelmingly confusing. So this equation must begin with “be” not “do” or “have.”
For example, people set a goal of meeting the right person. That is the “have” that they want, so they begin “doing” the things the world says make sense to get to that goal. They go to bars, they go to church, they go to work, they go to parties, they go to school—all with the spoken or unspoken intention of acquiring what they do not have, a partner. Years ago they called females in college with this mindset, “Mrs. Majors.”
They were not in college to get a degree; they were in college to get a husband.
In today’s world some of these types—men and women—have the “have” and “do” parts down to a science. One manifestation of this is the book that became famous a decade or so ago called “The Rules.” This book purported to explain exactly what you had to “do” to get the goal of “having” a mate. The problem is that this is completely senseless when you understand the equation of “be-do-have.”
When you truly get this life lesson, it will have a profound impact on every aspect of your life. No longer will you focus solely on the goal—now you will focus on who you must first become, and the attainment of the goals will follow.
I know, it sounds Pollyanna. It sounds so simple. But it’s the simple-sounding things that are often the most difficult to actually do. I see this turmoil in teenagers a lot. They think that their identity is created by who they are with, what they wear, what their outward appearance is, the grades they get, the college they attend, what they do. The reality, however, is that identity is based on who you are not what you do.
That’s why you hear of 10- and 20-year high school reunions in which the popular kids are now struggling and some of the most unpopular kids are now the successful adults. When you understand this equation, it makes perfect sense. Think about it. In high school, the “popular” kids already “have.” They have the status, the good looks, the admiration of others. Why work for something you already have?
The unpopular kids on the other hand are forced to find their true identity not in the outer world, but in the inner world. So they work on themselves rather than on what the outside world says is important. Thus, 10 or 20 years down the road, they who have been forced to “be” are now “doing” and “having” in much greater proportion than those who “had” everything.
To be sure, this is a vast generalization. There are popular kids who take time out to work on themselves and “become,” and there are unpopular kids who want to “have” so badly that they contort who they are trying to fit in. The exceptions are there, but so is the rule.
You have to be before you can do, and you have to do before you can have. If you don’t, nothing you ever get will be enough. And if you do, whatever you have will be plenty. With this in mind, find some time today to fit a little “being” time into your “to-do” list. It may just turn out to be the best time investment you could ever make.