My Prime Directive is: Be Safe, Kind, Gentle, Faithful, Loving, Collaborative and Patient with Everyone, Including Scott.
My Secondary Objectives include: Take Time in Nature, Help my Wife, Parents, Children and Friends, Exercise, Eat Healthily, Stay Informed, Make Money, Spend it Wisely, Save as much as possible and Give a portion of it away, Achieve Goals, Enjoy Praise, Deepen Friendships, Travel, Write Good Songs, Serve Children
My Don’t Do It List Includes arrogance, bullying, controlling, drinking alcohol, dismissiveness, isolating, prejudice, misogyny, rushing,
In my life, I’m just learning the difference between the Prime Directive (a term I borrowed from Star Trek) and my Secondary Objectives. Often, I received and believed the cultural message for men that being goal-oriented, rich and well-liked were the most important things in life. While most of us know that being loving to family and ourselves are paramount, many of us don’t act that way. We consistently place our goals ahead of our values. As I’ve often written, we Americans can become Human Doings.
As common, for me, is to forget my Prime Directive when I’m triggered or under stress. This reminds me of The Golden Rule which we all know and practice when we’re happy and life feels uncomplicated. But put us in a situation where we’re under duress and watch that Golden Rule become tarnished!
If you want to establish a Prime Directive, keep in mind that it’s not a switch we turn on once and then forget about it. Like many things, it requires constant maintenance. (Recovery, it’s said, is a process.) I think that the same is true for organizing our lives around our values instead of our goals. Society tells us to achieve stuff and it takes decades for that brainwashing to get undone. For me, it’s been a lifelong battle to stay focused on loving myself and others in times of trouble. More often, I want to PUSH and CONTROL my way through a problem. Just ask my wife.
Technology is one of the places where I can forget the PD. For example, as I write this blog I’ve been trying to install a musical software program on my computer. The installation process has failed over and over again and when that happens my knee-jerk reaction is to become 100% focused on fixing the issue. In the past, I’ve literally lost sleep and forgotten other responsibilities until I solved the issue. Using my own advice, though, I’m moving slower and being patient with myself and the tech support people. There’s no real rush to get this done and I can practice being kind and gentle, safe and patient while moving through this process. Again, getting the program installed (goal) is not as important at the Prime Directive of being safe, gentle, loving, etc.
It’s not that goals or any of my Secondary Objectives are unimportant. It’s more of a “cart before the horse” type of thing. In my opinion, we bring the Prime Directive to the Secondary Objectives. So, if I want to run a marathon, I train safely and gently at first and collaborate with someone who knows about running long distances. In so doing, I’m being wise and loving AND I’m more likely to achieve my goal without injury – physically or psychologically. In my case, my family and friends will also feel better that I’m being responsible as a 61-year-old runner.
What’s your Prime Directive? Are you following it more than not? And where do you need to consider making some adjustments?