The only thing in the Universe that produces results is action. Another way of saying the same thing: if you want a result, you must take actions consistent with the production of that result. There are no two ways about this.
(For example, reading this post will have the result of your knowing what’s in it. Doing what the post suggests will produce the result that you will understand your priorities, and yourself, more completely.)
Taking that as a given, you can tell a lot about yourself by observing the actions you take, and completely disregarding what you say about them, or about your priorities. Just make a list of all the things that demand your time, and compare. The comparison is dead simple: When there’s a conflict, which one wins most of the time? Completely ignore what you thought should have won, or what you imagine yourself doing in the future. Base it on reality. Base it on what you actually did. That thing is the higher priority.
Here’s what I learned my priorities are:
- Working my scheduled hours,
- Taking care of myself,
- Keeping the computers running, and fixing them when they break,
- Watching Netflix or playing videogames,
- Looking for a serious relationship,
- Not feeling like it,
- Practicing meditation,
- Blogging / Editing the wiki,
- Learning new things,
- Eating right,
- Going to the gym,
- Practicing my music,
- Cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, all that stuff.
As depressing as this probably seems, there’s no reason to be depressed about it. Better still, if you are unhappy about this, here’s a way to stop being unhappy about it. Keep reading.
(Yet) Another way of saying what I said at the top is this: your life is the way your life is because of how you’re living it. That’s all. Except for some rare and strange exceptions, your life really is under your control. The results you’ve produced in your life and the quality of your life are, almost certainly, perfectly consistent with the actions you’ve taken thus far. There is nothing wrong here. Everything is going exactly as it’s going. There is no inconsistency.
Even better: once you’ve acknowledged that your priorities are whatever they are, you have a lot more room to change them. Put your priority list where you can see it, and next time there’s a conflict, choose differently. Then measure again.