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By Michael Angier

The Principle of Vacuum

They say that nature abhors a vacuum. And so it is with our lives. Everyone is busy—everyone. Ask any retired people you know and they'll tell you they don't know where the time goes. Their life is full. And they're RETIRED.

You can't put any more into a full cup. And when our LIVES are filled to the brim, there's no room for anything else to come in.

As our lives become more and more frenetic, we often become stressed, our health suffers, we have less fun, and we feel more and more powerless. Our lives may feel out of control.

I think the idea of controlling time is a myth. There's no way to control time. All we can do is attempt to control EVENTS—and even many of THEM are out of our control.

What we need to do is take charge of the things over which we DO have control. This takes discipline. And it's not easy. With a finite amount of time available to us, we need to choose very carefully. This is our LIFE. It's not a dress rehearsal.

The same virtue of which we may be proud—that of sticking to something we've started—CAN work against us. Just because we elected to take something on doesn't mean we have to do it forever. We can make new choices, negotiate new agreements and still maintain our integrity.

In order to make room for what we want, we need to get rid of what we DON'T want. This is the principle of vacuum. Our lives fill up by choice or by default. And we need to choose. This requires a ruthless evaluation of everything we do and why we do it. We can make more time for ourselves by delegating, reducing or eliminating things we're now doing that we either don't like or don't provide the payoff we want.

It may not seem immediately apparent what or how something can be eliminated, but it can be done. It starts with making a list of everything you do that you don't like doing and everything that no longer has real value to you. Don't let the thought of, "But I have to do this," get in the way of making the list. Figuring out how you'll get it handled is another step. Simply make the list and be honest.

Once you've made the list of hate-to-do's and non- or low-payoff tasks, it's time to start prioritizing. One way is to think about what you'd do if you became incapacitated. How would these things get done? WOULD they get done? What would happen if they didn't? Who else might do it? Be sure to ask yourself what you're getting out of it, and compare it to other things you could be doing that would produce more or better results.

Like I said, it's not easy. But you can do it. Look for at least three things you're now doing that you will stop doing or have done by someone else. Think of how you'd feel if you were no longer obligated to do this thing. If it's one of relief, then that's one to go for.

Wayne Dyer says relationships that operate from obligation lack integrity. I agree. Your relationship with yourself and with others should be ones of integrity. We want to eliminate the feeling of obligation. This is being truly responsible.

Create some vacuum in your life. Make some room and watch new and better things flow in.


Your relationship with yourself and with others should be ones of integrity. We want to eliminate the feeling of obligation. This is being truly responsible.



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Last Updated 01/30/2004