Excellent Priorities

” If something is important to you, you will make time for it. If not, you will make an excuse.”

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Boxing Day

I thought I had my priorities in order.

Like Black Friday, Boxing Day here in Canada, the day after Christmas, is known for stores heavily discounting many of their products. Stores fill-up early with consumers looking to get the best deal they can, often leading to big crowds by late-morning or early-afternoon.

Until today, I have always loved Boxing Day because like most people, I assume, I enjoy saving money and finding sales. In particular, I am a bit of a sneaker collector, having grown up in the 90’s in the midst of Air Jordan – mania.

It has been a yearly ritual for me to wake up at 5, and arrive at the mall for opening – usually for 7 AM. By arriving early, I am usually able to avoid the crowd of shoppers that will arrive by 10. and am usually able to find the sales and products that I am searching for.

However, my perception of Boxing Day, and particular, my priorities, changed in a big way today. Sometimes inspiration comes from the most unlikely of sources – and this time, it was from shopping!

Now let me say, I consider myself to be a person who uses his time well.  I like to think I have my priorities in order, maybe even more so than the next person does. I learned today that I still have some work to do.

The Nike Store

I arrived at the mall at 6:50 this morning, anticipating a small crowd as the mall would be opening at 7. My focus was going to be the Nike store, because I know they often have a 40% off sale.

As I entered the mall, I was astonished as to what I saw… a line of close to 400-500 people waiting just to get into the Nike store! This was at 6:50 AM…the store was still closed! What time did these people arrive at? It was at this exact moment, as I was waiting in line at 6:53 AM, as the 501st customer, something was terribly wrong with my priorities.

Partial line at Nike Store – 6:53 AM – Boxing Day

Priorities: A Few Things Stand Out…

  1. The previous two days, Christmas Day and Christmas Eve, I had already received two pieces of Nike gear as Christmas gifts. Now, THE NEXT DAY, I was back in line to purchase more.
  2. For a brief moment, I joinedabout 500 other customers, and was WILLING to wait 90 minutes just to get into the store, and then another 90 minutes to pay for my items. Including browsing, this could have been a 4-hour commitment.
  3. I was willing to get REALLY UNCOMFORTABLE to serve MY desires.
  4. THE PRIORITIES OF MANY PEOPLE ARE UNBALANCED. How many people in the photo above would complain about assisting a family member in need of help at 6:50 AM?
  5. MY TIME could be used MUCH better. Instead of waiting in line to purchase more clothes that I don’t need, I could be working out, reading, writing, meditating, spending time with my family, etc.
  6. MY MONEY could be used MUCH better. I could be donating whatever money I was willing to spend on myself to charity, or purchase gifts for people who are in need.

What I Learned

I left the mall today having learned a valuable lesson about myself. As a person who wants to make a positive impact in the world, I realized, like many people, my priorities are unbalanced. I have decided, instead of primarily serving myself and joining the hundreds of other consumers, I am committed now, to serving others on Boxing Day. Like Christmas, Boxing Day for me will now be a day associated with giving and serving.

I challenge you to reflect upon your priorities.  Like me, you may need to better balance your time and/or spending. Mark Twain said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” As I stood in line momentarily with 500 other people today, I found myself on the side of the majority. I was reminded that consumption is shallow and unfulfilling . That is why people wait in line at 6:50 AM for two hours to make purchases, THE DAY AFTER RECEIVING GIFTS!

Take an honest inventory of your priorities. Make sure each priority is balanced with what matters most to you. Time is the most valuable resource you have. Now spend it like it is.

Get better.

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