Why You’re Feeling Unfulfilled Despite ‘Success’

What's best nextOne of the things I struggle with is keeping organized and on track to accomplish my goals. I found a great book on this topic called “What’s Best Next: How the Gospel Transforms the Way You Get Things Done”, by Matt Perman. Perman recently announced plans to launch an organization focused on helping Christians be more effective leaders, managers, and individual contributors.

Perman makes some great observations on why one can work with excellence and be greatly accomplished, but still feel unfulfilled (not an uncommon feeling these days).

The source of our lack of fulfillment is not just that the best of our intentions often get knocked away from us. The deeper reason is that we feel unfulfilled when there is a gap between what is most important to us (the realm of personal leadership) and what we are actually doing with our time (the realm of personal management). You are satisfied with your day when there is a match between what you value and how you spent your time. On the other hand, when what you actually work on and accomplish during the day is mostly different from what really matters to you, you feel unfulfilled. Not because you didn’t get much done — in many cases, you have — but because the things you were getting done weren’t the things that you value.

Perman goes on to note that Stephen Covey makes the case to base our values on objective principles that represent unchanging truth. But Perman says that it is not enough just set our values on principles, but to center our lives on God. He says:

The only way to find fulfillment and be productive in the ultimate sense is to center our entire lives — and therefore our productivity — on God. It is good to be principle-centered, but we need to go beyond being principle-centered to being God-centered.

He then explains the following reasons for why our principles need to be God-centered:

  1. God is foundational to true principles.
  2. God ultimately defines what the right things are to get done.
  3. God is “what matters most.”

…Perhaps the chief competitor to God-centeredness is simply making our own aims our center. This, then, leads us to be work-centered, or possession-centered, or pleasure-centered, or having any of those other centers. So it’s important to say that not only do we need to go beyond principle-centeredness to God-centeredness; we also need to avoid the trap of settling for any other center.

I’ve read a lot of other books about increasing personal productivity, but what’s different about What’s Best Next is that it builds a case for a God-centered, gospel-oriented perspective that focuses on the proper motivation to work with excellence — serving others, to the glory of God.

I’d highly recommend checking out what Matt Perman has to say.

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