Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Our "Busy Badge"

Out of sheer randomness I decided to buy a magazine I had never seen before. Its title, “Be the Best You.” Ok, don’t laugh. I was in the mood for a little inspiration and pick-me-up after getting little sleep and having many tasks on my to-do list for the week. As I read the magazine, it offered some cool quotes and pictures. Two of these particular quotes really stuck out to me. The first:

“Don’t complain. Don’t compare. Don’t covet someone else’s life, and don’t spend your valuable time wishing things were different.”

And the second:

“Is your life full of purposeful accomplishments, or just pointless activities?"

Both of these I ended up cutting out and taping to either side of my mirror so I see them every morning as I get ready. What do they mean to me? One thing…getting over mybusy badge.”

Busy badge?? What is that you are probably wondering? Plain and simple, the busy badge is the pride and joy that many people take in their over-involvement and over-commitment. I am guilty of it just as much as the next person. We feel like we have to do everything under the sun to be classified as “hard workers” or “successful young people.” As we get more involved, we find ourselves practically bragging about how busy we are! We feel that the more stuff we have on our plate the more we prove ourselves to be worthy to others.

The first quote describes common human characteristics: complaining constantly, comparing yourself to others, wanting what someone else has, and wishing things were different. All of these are culprits in the cause for our busy badge. When we see someone else achieve, sometimes the competitive side of us takes hold and we choose to attempt to one-up that individual. Or perhaps we see someone who is well-liked by their peers. We suddenly start becoming involved in what they are so we can somehow reach the level of social status as them. The list goes on and on.

For the past few mornings I have read this first quote aloud to myself. “Becky, don’t complain. Don’t compare. Don’t covet someone else’s life, and don’t waste your valuable time wishing things were different.” Just saying the words aloud reassures me that the life I am living is the best one for me. It may seem silly, but if you think that reciting such words aloud to yourself may make a difference, try it.

After reading this quote, I look over at the other one posing the questions “Is your life full of purposeful accomplishments, or just busy activities?” Immediately your mind may spin into pointless meetings, silly drama at school or work, that extra committee you signed up for just because you allowed yourself to be persuaded. All of these and more are pointless tasks that just consume the valuable time you have to really accomplish something with purpose.

Many of us have a paradigm. A paradigm that our busyness defines our success. The reality is that what we are busy with defines our success. This second quote is so powerful. Where are you spending your time? Is it purposeful, or is it meaningless? If you are spending your valuable time in areas that will not serve the greater good, then stop. Re-evaluate where it is your time is most impactful. You don’t have to wear a busy badge to feel significant.

I am guilty of the busy badge. However, my focus has shifted to being more selective in my time. This semester my focus is on school, Agriculture Ambassadors, Student Alumni Board, work for our Ag Assistant Dean, volunteer work, relationships, and personal development. That is it. Despite how easy it would be for me to get over involved in other groups on campus, I have chosen to refrain.
Part of growing up is re-distributing your time in your new priority areas. This past year, my priority was FFA. Now, I have the chance to adjust. It is never too late to throw away your busy badge and find the true value in what you are doing.

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