Important v Urgent

As we come out of a four day weekend and back to our desk, I wanted to share a story with you that keeps me on track with what is important versus what is urgent.

A friend once told me of a discussion he heard where a paramedic had likened many people’s overly busy lives to a car accident.

He said when arriving at a scene of destruction, someone who is untrained in procedures will often tend to take notice of the victims who are screaming, have minor injuries and attracting a lot of attention.

In making this choice, they will neglect the ones who are not arousing attention and who are often quietly slipping away.

A trained professional paramedic will quickly identify, and first attend to those victims who are not conscious and getting oxygen or who are unconscious. This is because while the loud victims are able to move and are getting plenty of air to shout and scream, it is the silent victims who are in the most dangerous situation and whose needs are most important.

How often do we sacrifice the important for the urgent?

How often does that turn out to be only more important for someone else’s comfort and agenda rather than being a real emergency?

The moral to this parable was that most important things in your life will often not scream or cry out, said my friend, but will quietly slip away amid the din of the urgent and one day you will realise they are gone and that now the really important thing cannot be revived.

We need to constantly remind ourselves of what’s really important and be aware that time is always moving on.

We need time to reflect upon and determine what is of real value and who and what is worthy of the most of our attention and effort.

Our relationships with loved ones, our spiritual life, our finances and our overall health need to be kept in order at the first level, above all, to be good for the journey ahead.

While we need one eye on our future direction, we need the other not to neglect the responsibilities towards the people and necessities of where we are right now.

When we identify our talents, passions and purpose in the world it allows us a great gift, of not only knowing what to choose, but also the very great advantage of identifying all the stuff we can actually afford to ignore.

This focus frees Tourette’s and OCD people (like me) to prioritise our attention and energies; no longer ‘stopping to throw stones at every dog that barks’. Ask an older person and they often tell you that time is precious and to allocate it to things of real value that are going to last.

Things will always scream for our attention and ‘upset people’ will always be upset people because we did not attend to their ‘urgencies’ according to their requirements.

As Jim Rohn once said, “If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan and guess what they have planned for you – not much”.

Remember that being different is your biggest asset and you don’t have to be like everyone else. If you need a career coach, drop me an email or private message today to get you on the right track.

Dave Brebner.


About the Author:

Dave is an Adult Educator, Speaker and Youth leader living in Western Sydney, Australia where he teaches the Electrical Trades at the Western Sydney Institute. He has Diplomas in Business and Training, a Bachelors Degree in Adult Education, Vocational and Workplace Training and a Masters of Education with a major in Career Development. He has lived with Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Anxiety Disorders since an early age. He is married with 6 children. He is a passionate coach and mentor to young people especially in the vocational guidance and career development areas. Dave is a professional member of the Career Development Association of Australia and has authored a course on Living with Tourette’s which you can study and purchase online through his website –



Leave a Reply