While I was referring to the priority list I wrote several years ago for my last blog post, I came across another piece I had written on the conditions of my central focus. My central focus is the same thing as my central passion, the Level 2 priority in my previous post. I have always referred to my primary passion as my "central focus" - I called it my central passion in the last post because "passion" seemed easier to recognize and identify at a glance, since my central focus was not a very important part of the post.
When I've had times in my life when I wasn't able to do what I wanted to do in terms of my central focus - like in college, when I couldn't get into any of the plays - most people did not accept how big of a deal this was. People expected me to carry on and be satisfied enough with the fun things in Level 3, while Level 2 was essentially blank. When I first wrote my priority list, I wrote an accompanying piece about what a central focus is, and the criteria that activities have to meet in order to be part of the central focus category. This is what I wrote at the time (slightly edited for better clarity/emphasis, but the 5 criteria are the same):
My central focus is, by definition, the thing I love the most, that I’m passionate about, and that I consider to be the most important thing in my life. Here are some conditions which any passion must meet in order to be considered my central focus:
1. A central focus must be all-consuming, something that I can look forward to and daydream about all the time, even when I’m doing something else.
2. A central focus must have some sort of big event to look forward to – a performance, getting to show everyone my book, etc. Anything that doesn’t lead to this (ex: an acting class that doesn’t focus on a final show, private journal projects) is not considered a central focus goal, unless it helps with a concurrent central focus goal that does lead to a big event.
3. I must know with reasonable certainty that the central focus will continue. This means that carrying out the central focus is either under my control (something I do on my own) or on a recurring schedule (an organized activity). If there is uncertainty as to whether I will be able to continue my central focus (ex: competitive auditions, other things that take up too much time, not knowing when I'll get the opportunity to do it again, etc.), this is a major problem, and my number one goal is to find an environment in which I can continue the activity with reasonable certainty.
4. A central focus must always be current, something that I can talk about when someone asks what I’ve been up to. As soon as one central focus event starts to become old news, to the point that it doesn't feel like an appropriate answer to the question, "What's up?" then it’s time to find a new one.
5. A central focus must be something that I can identify as. It must be a big enough part of my life to be able to call myself someone who does it, meaning that I would feel comfortable saying, "I'm a writer/actor/dancer/etc." It cannot be a situation where I feel like, "Well, I've been in some dance shows, but I don't feel like I do enough dance or have enough experience to refer to myself as a dancer." Being someone who does the activity must be a major part of who I am.
If I do not have a central focus goal that meets the above criteria, then my number one goal is to find one, or to force a current goal to meet these criteria.