How many of you begin your week by writing a to-do list to track the things you want to accomplish over the next seven days?
How about writing a weekly ‘To Be’ list capturing the kinds of personal characteristics you would like to exhibit in the upcoming week?
A ‘to-be’ list does not focus on scheduled activities, but rather, focuses on discovering or developing who we are. We are often defined by what we do. When asked about our lives, we’re more likely to respond, “I’m a student,” or “I’m a graphic designer,” than, “I’m compassionate, supportive, or hard-working.”
Similarly, it is easier to write your weekly to-dos. In some way doing seems more concrete and objective than being.
I’m not saying one is better than the other. In fact, these aspects of our lives have a kind of symbiotic relationship. The things we want to accomplish work best when they are aligned with what we what our lives to be.
I recognize this subject generates considerable philosophical discussion. Rather than revisit those arguments, I’ll give you quotes from greater minds:
- “To do is to be” – Rene Descartes.
- “To be is to do” – Voltaire.
- “Do be do be do” – Frank Sinatra.
Leslie M. Bosserman shares her thoughts on this practice in an article posted at Holstee.
Why not make this a life experiment for the next 8 weeks?
This week, I want to:
- be the best husband I can be;
- be less critical of those with whom I disagree;
- listen more and speak less;
- be supportive of friends going through difficult times;
- more responsive to the requests from the people I serve.
It’s about becoming the people we would like to be.
It’s about becoming the person I would like to be!