One of the most insightful lessons I have learnt through my own coaching was when my coach told me — "things may be important, but will you make it important?"... Reflecting on this, it may seem obvious, but it definitely caught me off guard.
We often assume that things are important, work, family, big personal goals... either because someone else expects something from us or because it feels like it should be important to us. However, if something seems important, but we haven't achieved much progress, is it really important to us? And if so, why haven't we made it important?
The dilemma is that we often make important what is kind of important and reasonably achieveable, not what matters most. It is not unusual that what is most important is a bit fuzzy and matters in the long run. Thus, it gets left to procrastination.
For example, I might feel that taking care of my health is important to me. So, I should exercise, eat better quality food etc. However, many other things tend to be more urgent, projects at work, being responsible to our family etc. Therefore, I might feel that I don't have the mental bandwidth to plan my meals, regularly take time to exercise, and anyway I am feeling fine now, so maybe my health is ok. Of course, 20 years later I may see things from a different perspective, but it's hard to fully engage with that.
Another challenge is Climate Change. Many agree that it's a really serious crisis for society, but our actions collectively or individually don't match. This is, in part, because it is hard for us to tangibly understand what is truly important, and to imagine the consequences.
To address such topics is complex. However, by shifting perspective to "make important" versus what we think "is important" or "should be important", we empower ourselves to make choices. Not everything can be important at all times, but we can choose what we make important, now. Tomorrow, next week, next month, we get to choose again.
Thus, if I know my health is important, but I feel fine. I can choose not to make it important right now, but looking back over the past month, or the past six months, if I think it's important, but I haven't made it important, perhaps it's time to take action. And vice versa, if I think Climate Change matters, I could choose to make it important today and take some action. Small steps make a difference, and I am not committed to what I do next. Tomorrow, next week, perhaps other things need to be made important in my life.
The power lies in our choice. However, it is important to recognise that when we do not choose, we still choose, just carelessly.