i = information / d = data / p = process / a = action / V = Vocation

[(i > d) > p] + a = V

The legendary New Riders of the Purple Sage. 12 July 2012

I try to stay organized and focused on my governing values, but it hasn’t always worked out that way.  Along the path, I’ve written down some sage reminders on how to keep things straight in my life.  I don’t rigidly follow what I’ve learned, like a monk would the hours of the day with a set-in-stone menu of prayers and chants.  I do, however, believe that there is value to certain methods of focusing one’s time, like a prism divides light into colors, however hard it may be to adhere to following those methods.  I sometimes think of them as yardsticks that I try my best to measure up to.  Less than 100% is not failure.  Giving it up completely is failure.

The above formula is a rule that I came up with roughly twenty-five to thirty years ago when I began to seriously try to manage my time.  It was designed to help me to sort through all of the information that is out there for just that info that would directly apply to my governing values.  Information is everywhere and is seemingly growing exponentially by the second.  How does one cope with it?  How does one step around all of the crap to find the useful treasures?

World-renowned spoken word poet, Frank Messina, with the legendary New Riders of the Purple Sage. 12 July 2012.

1.)  With an expanding universe of information, one must first reduce the info to usable data i > d.  Information is reduced to data.

2.)  The result of only choosing the data (the gold from the crap) that is meaningful (information reduced to data) must then be filtered down further, or processed, through one’s governing values:  (i > d) > p.

3.)  Processing the data which is usable towards one’s governing values must then be added to action.  [(i > d) > p] + a.  One can’t just lay around pondering the data one has gleaned but ultimately has to act upon it.  There is a great Japanese proverb:  “Vision without action is a daydream.  Action without vision is a nightmare.”

4.)  The result is that one, ideally, is able to filter out only the data that is needed to fully realize one’s vocation, whatever that might be.   [(i > d) > p] + a = V.

Vo.ca.tion  n1.  An aptness for a certain kind of work.  2.  A calling of an individual by God.

Val.ue  n1.  Worth in usefulness or importance to the possessor.  2.  A principle or standard, as of behavior, that is considered important or desirable. [Old French valoir, to be strong, be worth.]

Coming to terms with one’s vocation or specific governing values are blogs for another day.  Once one accepts their ultimate focus, crossing a threshold of sorts, like Bob Dylan has (Artist:  songwriter, singer, performer, painter, writer) or like Mother Teresa did (Nun:  selfless caretaker and defender of the “monetarily valueless to society”), then one knows what data to glean, process and take action on in order to fully govern one’s own set of values.  It’s action with vision.

Frank Sinatra, Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane

[All above photos and text by Stephen Bort, copyright 2012.]