Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Two and a Half Things

I met Doug in the lunch room at work last week and we had a fantastic conversation about parenting and values. He talked about how he learned that he could only ever do two-and-a-half things well at any given time, and he's written it up this week:
"When my kids were still young, I wanted to be a good father, a good husband, a good worker, a good rugby player, a good rugby coach, a good friend, a well-read person, a musical person, and a person who was physically fit. I tried to do ALL these things for a period of time. I did not feel fulfilled. I felt tired.

That's when I learned that you can only do 2 1/2 things well. So, I made some tough choices. I focused on being a good Dad, focused on excelling in my work, and any remaining time (whatever there was) was dedicated to continuously building my great relationship with my wife. My rugby playing/coaching went out the window. Our social life virtually disappeared. Reading, music and exercise - gone. But I loved and was energized by the vast majority of my days."
Of course he's generalizing, but I thought it really captured the essence of the tradeoffs we make with our time (and money). Every challenge I've felt as a new parent has been related to this truth -- you can't do it all.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

I think so too, Jory. The part I quoted was very similar to the version he told me in the lunch room the week before, and it gave me goosebumps in person because it summed up much of what I've struggled with in the last couple of years.

We try to do way too much, and expect that we can be stars in every part of our lives, but it's a recipe for failure and burnout.