Get Yourself Unhooked
A lot of people look back on their high school and college days with affection and maybe even a sense of loss. Life seemed simpler and freer back then, and in many respects it was. Your approach to time was more casual. You could throw yourself completely into something new and fascinating and still have time for friends, sports and hobbies. Time and possibilities seemed unlimited.
It’s a reality of life that as we get deeper into adulthood, there are more demands made on us, and each one is like another “hook” in you; another commitment, obligation, or item in the schedule. Collect enough hooks in you and it can easily start to feel that you are losing control of your own life.
Some of these hooks are there for good reasons such as having a family, paying a mortgage and growing a business. But many of the other hooks that accumulate become nuisances that slow you down unnecessarily.
This is something I’ve always tried to live by, but in recent years I have come to grasp its significance even more. I have always been a driven individual and that often meant taking on a variety of new responsibilities all the time. It was a point of pride for me that no matter how much I was doing I felt I could always do more.
Then I was motivated by a serious challenge—my late wife’s illness— to re-examine things. I started to entrust the people around me with more responsibility. I dropped a number of recurring issues from my agenda entirely. I began to remove the hooks from me.
I felt free again; it was great. I actually ended up being more productive because I was able to focus more of my attention on the things that mattered most. Ever since then, I have carefully scrutinized every new demand on my time before allowing it to get its hooks in me.
My advice is to not wait for a life crisis. Take a good look now at everything that fills your hours and ask yourself what really needs to be there, and what things you can unhook yourself from. Each hook you can remove gives you a little more relief and lets you move forward with more freedom and focus.