Prioritizing Life’s Greatest Pursuits


Every day, we are faced with countless decisions about where to focus our energy, our attention, our time, and our resources.

From career advancements and personal hobbies to symbols of success and social media status updates, our efforts are often directed towards external, tangible achievements that others will applaud. But how often do we pause to reflect on whether the decisions we make and life’s greatest pursuits align?

Consider this: it is common to find shelves filled with books on business strategies and professional development. We eagerly join mastermind groups to enhance our profit margins or tackle projects to climb the corporate ladder or pad our resumé.

But when was the last time we picked up a book on becoming a better parent, partner, or friend? How often do we gather with others to discuss how to grow in selflessness, honesty, and kindness? Why do so many of the groups we join focus on financial success rather than growing in virtue and character?

Or think about all the financial investments we make in enhancing our outer appearance—clothing, accessories, beauty products, monthly payments to the gym down the street. None of those things are bad in and of themselves, of course.

But when was the last time we spent money to grow in morality or integrity? Have you ever made a financial investment to grow your character?  We hire personal trainers to build our physical bodies, but rarely financially invest in the pursuit of compassion or empathy or self-control.

We hire coaches to help us improve our golf game, our tennis game, or our pickleball skills, but when was the last time we sought out a coach to help us become more loving, selfless, or thoughtful?

We spend hours and years searching endlessly for the perfect partner, but how much effort do we put into intentionally becoming a better partner ourselves?

Or consider how much time and how many days we waste on activities like watching television, playing video games, or scrolling social media. What exactly are we trying to become? Better at watching TV? Unintentionally, we invest time getting better at wasting time—rather than investing that time in pursuits that bring lasting meaning and joy.

It would be wise for all of us to step back from time-to-time and ask ourselves, “What am I working hard to become? Am I investing my energy, attention, time, and resources in getting better at the right things?”

It has been said, “Don’t tell me what you value, show me your calendar and your checkbook, and I’ll tell you what you value.” And I think there is some benefit to the sentiment (it certainly stings when we hear it and calls us to reevaluate our lives).

But I’m not convinced the quote is entirely true. I don’t think most people would say they want to be better at making money than being a loving parent. Most people wouldn’t say they value golf or tennis more than being a good friend. And nobody says their greatest goal in life is just to own a house full of clutter.

When we speak of our greatest values in life, we almost all speak of the same things: faith, relationships, making a positive difference in someone’s life.

It just seems that somewhere along the way, we get very unintentional in where we invest our resources. Culture swoops in and hijacks our passions and resources, leading us down a different path. We begin investing in things that don’t matter in the long run.

That is why it is so important for each of us, on a regular basis, to evaluate what pursuits we have made most important.

Imagine if we redirected some of our efforts from pursuits that bring temporary satisfaction to those that foster lasting fulfillment. What if we dedicated time each week to becoming better parents, more supportive partners, and more understanding friends? What if we invested in personal development not just for career advancement, but to cultivate virtues like patience, gratitude, and humility?

The benefits would be profound—not just personally but culturally as well.

By prioritizing more of life’s greatest pursuits, we’d not only improve our own well-being but also positively impact the lives of those around us. When we invest in becoming better people, everyone wins.

Can you imagine if our world invested as much time in learning how to be selfless as we did in learning how to get rich? Or if we spent as much time with our kids teaching them virtue as we did sports? Or if we spent as much energy filtering our inner-self as we did our photos for social media?

Everything would change—starting with us.

Our lives are shaped every day by the choices we make and the investments we prioritize.

While it is natural to seek success and improvement in different areas, and there is nothing wrong with that, let us not forget to intentionally invest in life’s greatest pursuits as well.

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