Understanding What’s Critical

As Dwight D. Eisenhower is quoted in Six Crises by Richard Nixon, “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.” The universe responds to action. Within every moment a bias for action enables us to take advantage of the opportunities to fulfill our goals, meet our objectives and bring ourselves closer to the vision we create continuously as life unfolds within us. Each moment has the potential to be utilized in a manner that manifests our intent and it starts with observation.

As Ryan Holiday states in The Obstacle is the Way, “A business must take the operating constraints of the world around it as a given and work for whatever gains are possible.” Observing our position and its relation to our environment is situational awareness. We learn this in any active endeavor. In children’s martial arts classes some instructors ask a few basic questions to get kids to become aware of their situation. Where are we? What are we doing? What should we be doing? As we mentioned in the Managing Our Resources chapter, this situational awareness can be used on a regular basis to verify the targeted activities we have chosen or rather find ourselves doing to align with our vision, goals and objectives. This awareness can also allow us to observe potential threats to our position and provide flexibility to deal with the uncertainty presented in every moment of our lives. The present moment is the fringe of future uncertainty and the web of past responsibilities. When we merge with the fringe we enable ourselves to tinker with the possibilities that present themselves to us. We do this through understanding what’s critical to our objectives, goals, targets and by addressing the unfolding factors that directly influence our ability to manifest our intent. To state it in a simple manner, we have to address the small critical things in every moment. We are acting in tactical manners when we are fully engaged while at the same time addressing the critical things to gain our targets. Understanding what’s critical is the tough part. One way to go about this understanding is to ask ourselves, “Does this add value?”

Planning is indispensable, but as reality unfolds we have to be flexible.

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