Context: I’d started to think about writing this journal at around 4:30pm and had been reading the readings, then the rollover hit and I couldn’t write anything; our company has had a massive slump from what it once was. So, I decided to go to Taekwon-Do, initially with the purpose of not having to think about things for a bit.
The problem that I had was that I felt rather down because of the team’s result, and didn’t know what to do with this feeling. In the past, when things go wrong, I tend to distance myself from the event so that I don’t feel so much after; a form of self-protection, I guess.
It was in the car driving to Taekwon-Do that I realised that this was exactly the kind of thing that Christensen (2010) was talking about. I’d put value on the “tangible accomplishments” (Christensen, 2010) and not on the stuff that’s tougher to see. I hadn’t put value on how well our team is developing; having a very structured meeting and being able to stay on task and efficient. Shareholder value is not what Management 300 is about (hence only 20% too; the summative journal more accurately would reflect learning). Grades are not what university is about. If I’m feeling down because of a drop in shareholder value, this should be nothing compared to what I should be feeling about drifting relationships with high school friends.
My Taekwon-Do friends reminded me of this, joking around and showing me that all that SHV and grades are is “immediate gratification”; there’s nothing satisfying about it in the long term, and it doesn’t sate that relationship-hunger that we have.
There’s a term in Computer Systems Engineering called “priority inversion”. It’s when tasks share a resource that can only be used by one task at a time, and a lower priority task blocks a higher priority task (simplified). It seems like something like that would be so hard to get wrong, but it’s actually common. And I think this is like that; if I can’t change to a lens that sees my purpose and priorities clearly (with a long-term perspective), then I’ll never feel satisfied. This is the true challenge. How do I propose to keep my purpose straight? I think Christensen’s (2010) first step is a good start – allocating my resources, especially my time. I spend a lot of time on uni work. And yes, uni is important and getting good grades is important. But not at the cost of higher priority things. And I think, additionally, that I do realise this at times, but I think – I have time to do that later. It can wait just a little longer. But if it’s really that important, then shouldn’t uni be the one waiting? It’s seeing the importance that is key. Another action – to continue reflecting, even after this course. Perhaps not always written down, but making sure that I know what my priorities are – have they changed? – and keeping track with that. Making sure that I’m allocating my resources in accordance with my priorities.
Who do I want to be? I don’t want to have a hollow life that’s tangible-accomplishment-oriented. I want to be able to take a step back, look at my life and say – yes, that’s me; that’s the people around me – look at us – now, aren’t we spectacular?
Christensen, C. M. (2010). How will you measure your life? Harvard Business Review, 88(7/8), 46-51.