It’s important to declutter our actions by doing what know know to be the right things.
The things we do, the actions we take, are expressions of our identity. Other people only evaluate and, yes, judge our minds and our hearts by what they see us doing. They take stock of how closely our words align with our deeds. How we feel about ourselves is often based on what we did or didn’t do, and how well or how poorly we did it. That’s why it’s important to get rid of the pointless tasks and meaningless activity in our lives, to make more space to accomplishing the most essential and important things and to do those things as well as we possibly can.
Too often we prioritize our actions based on outside influences, rather than our own understanding of needs and wants, our own moral compass, or our own sense of ethics. It’s frustrating when the boss, or the client, wants something that you know is wrong, or wants something done in a way that you know is going to waste resources and still yield a poor result, but we learn to live with that. We only have so much influence there, and hopefully over time we can get those people to trust our judgment and expertise. Where we run into real problems is when we cave to influences that we do have control over.
We do the wrong things for the wrong reasons, which boil down to discomfort and fear. By being different, we risk ridicule and opposition. It’s easier to move with the herd, to let other people make plans and decisions, even when you know that it’s wrong or ineffective. We don’t stand up for ourselves, our ideas, our beliefs. We don’t stand up for other people, for the rights and dignity of those who are different or out of step with the zeitgeist. We go along to get along, and we deprive the world and ourselves of our voice, our creativity, and our basic humanity.
The actions we choose are often based on scarcity of resources. We don’t always seek the fast and easy way because we’re lazy, but because we have too many other things to do. We try to multitask, because we’re expected to or because we honestly think we can do several things at once with any degree of accuracy and effectiveness, short-changing everything. We don’t use the best materials or ingredients, we don’t hire the best help, we don’t put forth all of our energy, because we approach everything as a zero-sum game.
The key is to do fewer things, more effectively. Cut out the things that don’t matter, even if other people insist that they do. Focus on the things that are actually important, not the things that other people are focused on at the moment. Know your own mind, and set your own priorities. It’s important to declutter our actions by doing what we know to be the right things.