The Eisenhower Principle 

J. Keith Hughey

Founder

 Volume XX, Number 25 (Issue 977) June 20, 2022

The Eisenhower Principle 

Sixty-eight years ago, in a speech to the World Council of Churches, then President Dwight Eisenhower stated he faced two kinds of problems, those that are urgent and those that are important. He continued by saying the important are never urgent and the urgent are never important.

Recognizing and navigating this distinction within a difference is the very thing that enables someone to be effective (accomplishing the important) as well as efficient (handling the urgent when required). As Eisenhower saw it, the important are connected to our goals. The urgent, on the other hand, are frequently associated with someone else’s goals. Learning to master this struggle is key to the scale and scope of one’s success – keeping in mind the nature and measure of success, like one’s potential, is uniquely personal to each of us.

With that as preamble, there are two questions each of us should be prepared to answer. The first is what is important? The second is what gives you a sense of urgency?

You can answer the first question for yourself since that is an entirely personal call. The only advice I will offer is to recognize that some of the importants will remain with you throughout your life while others, namely the secondary ones, are apt to change depending upon the season of your life. If you have never given it serious thought, you may need some time. And since I do not want to influence your answers any more than I already have, I’ll keep my answers to the first question to myself for now.

As for the urgent, I do not mind sharing what pulls my chain, starting with an impending deadline – especially one that carries the weight of a promise made. Other times, it is the stark realization that a window of opportunity could close at a moment’s notice and be lost forever if I do not act now. Occasionally, urgency can be found in the desire to make room for something that I enjoy. Then, there is the urgency that attaches itself to, as Eisenhower said, someone else’s priorities. When that is the case, what we do and where we focus may be determined by our ability to say, “No!”

Of course, any time that “urgent” assignment comes from someone we cannot or do not want to say no to, then we do the urgent. But maybe, just maybe, in addressing their urgent we are also honoring our important. Think about it!

Soli Deo Gloria
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.Keith Hughey

Mobile: (210)260-0955
E-mail: keith@jkeithhughey.com Web site: www.jkeithhughey.com

Psalm 90:12

Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance

Copyright 2022 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at www.jkeithhughey.com. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

Sixty-eight years ago, in a speech to the World Council of Churches, then President Dwight Eisenhower stated he faced two kinds of problems, those that are urgent and those that are important. He continued by saying the important are never urgent and the urgent are never important.
Recognizing and navigating this distinction within a difference is the very thing that enables someone to be effective (accomplishing the important) as well as efficient (handling the urgent when required). As Eisenhower saw it, the important are connected to our goals. The urgent, on the other hand, are frequently associated with someone else’s goals. Learning to master this struggle is key to the scale and scope of one’s success – keeping in mind the nature and measure of success, like one’s potential, is uniquely personal to each of us.
With that as preamble, there are two questions each of us should be prepared to answer. The first is what is important? The second is what gives you a sense of urgency?
You can answer the first question for yourself since that is an entirely personal call. The only advice I will offer is to recognize that some of the importants will remain with you throughout your life while others, namely the secondary ones, are apt to change depending upon the season of your life. If you have never given it serious thought, you may need some time. And since I do not want to influence your answers any more than I already have, I’ll keep my answers to the first question to myself for now.
As for the urgent, I do not mind sharing what pulls my chain, starting with an impending deadline – especially one that carries the weight of a promise made. Other times, it is the stark realization that a window of opportunity could close at a moment’s notice and be lost forever if I do not act now. Occasionally, urgency can be found in the desire to make room for something that I enjoy. Then, there is the urgency that attaches itself to, as Eisenhower said, someone else’s priorities. When that is the case, what we do and where we focus may be determined by our ability to say, “No!”
Of course, any time that “urgent” assignment comes from someone we cannot or do not want to say no to, then we do the urgent. But maybe, just maybe, in addressing their urgent we are also honoring our important. Think about it!


Soli Deo Gloria


“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

Keith Hughey
Mobile: (210)260-0955
E-mail: keith@jkeithhughey.com


Transforming Potential into Unmatched Performance
Copyright 2022 by J. Keith Hughey. All rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted for reproduction and redistribution of this essay as provided under the copyright laws of the United States of America. The entire early library of Monday Morning Musings issues may be found at www.jkeithhughey.com. Your comments are welcome and encouraged.

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