Communication essentials: priorities v. priority

I have a problem.

The problem? Prioritizing.

Up until now, I have just kind of lived with it, doing my best to prioritize the day, focus on the fires and not let anything critical slip through the cracks. It all eventually evens out. Right?

Well, maybe. Or maybe not.

Or maybe … we weren’t meant to have priorities? As in more than one.

Hear me out.

I recently read* that the word priority came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular and meant “the very first thing”. For 500 years, it stayed singular until it became pluralized, and we started talking about priorities.

The world moves fast. We do a lot of things at once. But doing them doesn’t mean they’re a priority. In fact, what is a priority?

Well, by that very old but very accurate definition — it still means the very first thing.

I think that’s relevant in 2022. Because when you have so many things … it only makes sense to focus on the one most important thing.

The adage “the grass is greener where you water it the most” still rings true. Are you watering the area that needs it the most?

Or are you trying to water so much that nothing’s getting green.


Scott McKain, Iconic
Greg McKeown, Essentialism, the Disciplined Pursuit of Less