Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Farnsworth's First Law of Life, Leadership, and Vacuums


Unless you fill your time with passion and purpose, worthless clutter will get sucked into your life.
No matter how you do the math, it always adds up to 168 hours per week. Whether you’re male or female; old or young; beautiful or plain; married, single, or somewhere in between, everyone gets the same number: 168.
The issue is never the number of hours; it is always what we choose to do with those hours.
Nature abhors a vacuum. If we don’t fill our time with worthwhile activity, all kinds of clutter will rush in to fill the void. Before long, all that stuff smothers the life out of us.
During my 60 years on this planet, I have witnessed a quantum leap in the number of ways we can spend our time. While the amount of currency we have in our pockets has stayed the same — 168 per week — the size of the bazaar has mushroomed and the glimmer of the merchandise has gotten much shinier.
Sometimes shinier is not better. Lately it seems that much of what is for sale in the marketplace of life serves only to distract and amuse us, rather than nourish, inspire, strengthen, and connect us.
If we’re not careful, we can end up spending a large chunk of those 168 hours surfing, tweeting, watching sports, working puzzles, playing video games, and mastering virtual worlds. While such distractions may not be harmfulper se, they can cut into our capacity to make a difference in the real world and can prevent us from experiencing a more abundant life.
The hours and the energy we spend killing angry birds (or whatever is your addiction of choice) are lost forever to doing things of more lasting value, like reading to our children, learning to paint, teaching a grandchild to fish, planting green beans, taking a walk with our spouse, strengthening our faith, or sharing stories with a shut-in.
Unfortunately, an inclination to do good is no longer sufficient to withstand the allure of mindless amusement. The siren call of distractions is so powerful today that only those who have found a deeper, more passionate purpose in their being and who use their time to bring that purpose to life are able to resist it.
Discovering why we are here, our purpose for being, is the only sure way to protect ourselves from the curse of shallow amusement. Knowing our purpose fills our life with direction and meaning, and crowds out clutter and drivel.
It also helps us find our passion and learn what makes us come alive. When we are doing what we truly love, we have no need for vacuous distractions.
It is not crucial whether following our purpose and passion is our vocation or an avocation. What is important is that it engages us, inspires us, and drives us to excellence.
When we fill that space at our core with purpose and passion, we eliminate the vacuum that sucks in less meaningful ways of using our time. We are energized and empowered to transform the real world, and we find lasting joy in doing so. The result is a life of greater abundance.

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