In search of some public attention

by The Happy Rock on May 6, 2007

The fourth of Gordon MacDonald’s laws is : Unmanaged Time Gets Invested in Things that Gain Public Acclamation

This one might not be as obvious to spot as the others, but it very well could be the most dangerous. Without a plan for the use of our time, we can be tempted to pursue actions that might garner us some praise from others. I picture a busy father, who takes his son out to buy the newest toy, rather then plan some quality time were he can help build up his son’s character and deepen their relationship. He truly wants to be a good father, but the disorganization in his life may be deterring him from fully accomplishing that goal.

I think the principle at work here is that if we are not able to accomplish and take joy in the achievement of personal goals, then we are inclined to seek actions that will give us fleeting positive responses from others. We desire to feel good about ourselves, so if we are not receiving internal rewards from our personal life, we will go externally to feel good about ourselves. A person who is truly in tune with their joys and dreams and working hard to achieve them, will probably see that the actions the garner public attention and fame may not be the best use of their time.

-The Happy Rock

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Double Eagle May 6, 2007 at 1:35 pm

The father-son analogy is a good one. However, I think sometimes it’s not so much the disorganization that makes the father buy the newest toy, but it’s the acclamation itself. Maybe I’m a little off base not being a father myself, but I’m sure every dad wants to be the hero to some degree. And like you said, buying that new toy will give an instant dose of that, while doing things instead that will build character and deepen the relationship might never give that little acclamation, but will give much greater rewards in the long term. The father needs to be willing to give up that instant gratification, if necessary. While it might be the result of a busy, chaotic schedule, it just as easily might not.


The Happy Rock May 6, 2007 at 11:26 pm

Double Eagle,

Thanks for the great comment. I think you nailed the analysis of the analogy better than I did. Your comment ties the analogy directly back to the public acclamation law. The disorganization is what causes the dad’s time to be unmanaged, and the purchase of the toy is the symptom of that lack of planning as the law hints.

Thanks for the great input!

-The Happy Rock


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