I loved recess.
For those few moments every day, my teacher stopped telling me to quiet down. I got a break from being squeezed into those little half desks you had to turn sideways to cram yourself into.
One of our favorite games on the playground didn’t really have a name. A group of guys gathered together until a ball appeared and one guy took off running. Everybody else chased him and tried to knock him down, smash him, and pretty much pound on him until he dropped the ball.
Looking back on it now, it’s a pretty dumb game. You can’t keep score. There aren’t winners and losers. The game doesn’t really even have rules or a clear objective. There was no why behind the what. Everyone just tried to tackle the man with the ball.
When you stop and think about it, this makes for a fairly pointless game – but when we unknowingly adopt this as our approach to life, the results are even more frustrating.
Coaching, pastoring and working with people for more than 20 years has given me the opportunity to see many people live this way. They’re always running around, they’re wearing themselves out, they’re constantly in motion…but there’s no clear objective.
They pile up enough 60 hour work weeks to get the promotion, which will allow them to get the lake house, the better school for their kids, the next tier of luxury vehicle, the more exotic vacation…the life everybody’s chasing.
All the effort, all the energy expended, and yet there’s no clear WHY behind the WHAT.
In our culture, we wear busyness like a badge of honor. The more we run around doing things, the more significant we’re supposed to feel. And just like the recess game, it’s easy to see everybody else running around and jump right in.
Instead, we need to start with the end in mind.
- What am I trying to accomplish through my life?
- How is what I’m doing everyday helping me to get there?
- Will what I’m doing today matter a year from now? 10 years? 50 years?
If what I’m doing everyday doesn’t help me get there – or worse, actually prevents me from getting there – I could spend my whole life simply trying to tackle the man with the ball. I’m not telling you to quit your job. Instead, I’m asking if you’re prioritizing the right relationships, making time for the critical conversations you’ve been avoiding, and taking small steps every day to invest in your future.