INTRODUCTION: THE MOST IMPORTANT NUMBER

Most of us have at least a general idea of what we think our lives should look like: the kind of work we do, the quality of our personal relationships, our health and self-care, what we do for fun, what role faith and spirituality play in our lives, and the impact we want to make on our community or even on a global scale. We may want all these things, some of these things, or only a few. It's not about following a formula or a prescription—rather it's about your values being expressed in the way you live.

The challenge, however, is that certain aspects or components of our lives can overshadow the rest. In some cases, they consume so much of our time, energy, and attention that there is not much time left for the other areas we say are important to us. Maybe our work takes almost all our time because we have convinced ourselves that we should be in constant motion. Maybe we focus so much on a leisure activity or sport that it eats away at the time we say we want to spend with other people—family, friends, and loved ones. Or maybe we don't make our health enough of a priority in terms of time commitment. In other words, there's cognitive dissonance: we say certain things are important to us, but our actions don't match those words. There is a disconnect, and not just for a few days or over the course of a busy week or two. I'm talking about chronic imbalance—that feeling of being constantly short of time and attention, always rushing ...

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