Sajed Bhandari

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Archive for the ‘Living Simply’ Category

On Priorities

My mother and I had a discussion on priorities before I left Minnesota.  We sat on the couch and discussed careers if I recall correctly.  My mother, like every other good Muslim mother, wanted her son (me) to become a doctor.  This article is not about medicine by any means, however.  I told my mom that on my deathbed, I have a general idea of what I will be thinking about.  I will think about my parents, my family, and my friends.  I explained to her that I wont be very concerned with which zip code I lived in during my life, how much was in my bank account, and what car I drove to work or even what it is that I worked as.  She understood.   My parents are the best, just letting you all know.  I listen to the stories my friends tell me about their parents and I feel blessed that I was given the mom and dad that I was given.

This article is not about my parents either however.  What it is about is priorities and needs.  Over the last year, I had a growing obsession with the idea of living simply.  This obsession was a combination of the Zen teachings I was introduced to thanks to http://zenhabits.net/minimalism-rethunk/, the life of Rasulillah SAW and the very constrained budget of a then recent graduate into The Great Recession (not sure if “constrained budget” is an understatement or euphemism in this context).  This combination forced me to question what were my priorities, what were my needs?

I was faced with a limited supply of resources  (Time and Money) and a seemingly infinite demand of desires that I thought I needed.  But I began to evaluate my consumption.  Did I need to eat out everyday?  Did I need to go out every night?  Did I need to eat certain types of foods?  These were some of the questions I asked myself.  The particular questions however were not important.  What was important was the need to reevaluate my desires and understand what I needed and what I did not need.  This reevaluation lead me to the understanding that my demands were not actually infinite at all, rather they were very limited and finite.  This would allow for an optimized allocation of my resources amongst my demands.

Things I Need (in no particular order):

1)      Family (includes the loved one.)

2)      Friends

3)      Reading

4)      Writing

5)      Personal growth (intellectual, physical and spiritual)

Things I do not Need (in no particular order):

1)      Excessive Money

2)      Prestige

3)      Fame

4)      Influence

5)      Material Wealth in the form of land, buildings and equipment

A note on the Category: Things I do not need.  I limited this category to things I do not need yet still desired.  If it was a list of things I do not need and do not desire then the list would be rather large and have to included, a gunshot to the stomach, failing grades,  and Hannah Montana (actually all teeny bopper acts).

This list allows me to focus on my priorities.  If the only things I really care about are family, friends, reading, writing and personal growth, then those are the things I ought to focus on right now and become mindful of.  Many people choose careers that offer high-end salaries because they desire security, stability and such.  That road to a six-figure salary is wrought with distractions from what a person truly holds as important.  Even that person who is seeking a high salary at the end of the day wants the money to enjoy it with his family, friends and what have you.

I decided that instead of pushing off focusing on what is important to me until I had enough money to retire or at least have a “comfortable” life, I would become mindful of these things right now.  I am happy with my family, my friends and everything else on that list at the moment.  I do not wish to focus on anything else.  Does this mean I am going to go live in a cave and not worry about getting into a career?  Absolutely not.  I just cannot have my career as the main focus in my life.  I need to see a career as the portion of my life that allows me to enjoy the things I want to be enjoying.  This is the key to my happiness right now.

This article dealt with addressing what I desire.  The next article iA will discuss why I desire.  I am not so sure I have an answer for that question but I would like to think out loud iA.

– Sajed Bhandari

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Written by sajedbhandari

June 15, 2010 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Living Simply