Thursday, October 28, 2004

Step on a landmine

This is "The Landmine Test of Priorities," created after being inspired by a friend (Thanks, Sahar!).

After you have read the article below, do this: Imagine that you have stepped on a landmine. If you remove your foot, you die. If you don't, the landmine will automatically blow in a minute. Now time yourself for ONE MINUTE, and no more than just that, and put down a list of your priorities. In your mind, or on paper.

Let your mind be free of constraints when you take this exercise. Remember, you are on a landmine, and there is no past or future!

After one minute, you are BLOWN. Look at your list of priorities now. What matters most to you?

It's so easy to lose sense of what matters most. It's so hard to know, at times, what we really want. This thing that's called "setting priorities" in more formal words can be pretty tough.

But I've found a way to solve this issue. Simple: I Imagine that I have a foot on a land mine. Then I make a list of what really, really matters.

In the movie Behind Enemy Lines there is a scene where a soldier steps over a landmine and realizes it that very second. He stares at it with horror and disbelief. In the next few moments, he begs his companion to help him and is cruelly refused. (Of course, hardly anything could be done.) He eventually shoots himself to spare himself the agony of waiting for death alone in that silent, big jungle where the landmine was hidden.

A moment's observation can be worth a lifetime of learning. Life is pretty much like this jungle full of secret possibilities and hidden dangers, especially these days when we can't tell where the landmine of death is planted. This death itself can come in the form of actual physical death - or end of relationships, careers, buildings, and people around us. The death of anything that matters.

Death is a moment of truth. I wondered about the soldier who may have had a few minutes to think about his life. In the movie, he was a "bad guy" soldier - if he were good, at least like the central character in American Beauty, we could get a little insight in his last few thoughts.

Anyhow. Whenever I have a decision of importance to make, from keeping a friendship to switching career, I put a mental foot on an imaginary landmine. It quickly tells me what I really, really want and won't regret having done or achieved were I to go in the next few moments.


What did you think? Have you taken the Landmine Test yet? In the comments area below, you may post your own Landmine List of Priorities, and share with others. Try now!

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