Hugh Jackman On Prioritising His Life
By Sukh Singh, Associate Partner, Lighthouse International
Most people might look at someone like Hugh Jackman - a highly successful, talented, handsome actor who is mostly known for playing a violent, aggressive mutant with claws in the popular X-Men movies. So what's his secret? A strong work ethic? Working out lots for his Wolverine movies? A unique hair-stylist?
Well, among other things, Hugh Jackman knows very, very well, what his priorities are, and he sticks to them.
"My father is my rock. He taught me loyalty, dependability, being there day in, day out no matter what."
- Hugh Jackman
In an interview with CNN's 60 Minutes, the Australian actor/singer/dancer shared his journey and experiences through his career as well as his family. It is a humbling, inspiring lesson on putting first things first in our lives - meaning, making sure we take care of what's really important to us.
As a quick contrast, if you were to ask your average person, "what's most important to you in life?"
What do you think they'd say?
Something along the lines of health, family, friends and happiness...
Then if you were to ask them how much time and energy they actually spend on those important things, what do you think they'd say to that?
That's the sad truth - that we know what is actually important to us, but we actually put more time in what's urgent, or what's important to other people! Bills, deadlines, rent, meetings, the list goes on and on!
The Jackman Family Rule
In the 13 minute video below, you'll see that Hugh Jackman and his family have one rule - they never spend more than 2 weeks apart. Now, with a filming schedule that takes him around the world, that's a hard rule to keep. The family moves around with him, and where possible he makes an effort to be back home with his family when he's not shooting a film. In other words, they always make a plan to keep their rule; it's a sacred choice they've all committed to. Why?
Why Does Hugh Jackman Prioritise His Family So Much?
This isn't just some cool family rule the Jackmans came up with because they read it in a book. When Mr Jackman was a young child, his mother left the family - and left his father to look after a young Hugh and his four other siblings. His father knows that both he and Hugh's mother didn't look after their children in the best way. It clearly stuck in his conscience and it's something he's passed on to his son, to make sure he learns from the past. Speaking on the advice his father gives him,
"It's always about the family...it's not about work. Y'know, 'How's Deb?' [his wife]... I think that's him... maybe feeling he put too much time into his career. He doesn't want me to make that same mistake."
So if there's something important to you, make sure you know exactly why it's important. Don't just say it because that's what you're expected to say. Make sure it's genuine.
What Happens When We Don't Put First Things First
Despite this, none of us are perfect. There are going to be plenty of times when we don't prioritise our lives properly. In fact, most of us don't even honour our priorities on a daily basis - and doesn't it feel horrible? To know that day in, day out, we're busy rushing around trying to complete a million and one tasks, and at the end of the day, we've neglected what or who's most important to us? (That includes neglecting ourselves too - our health and happiness). Why does it feel so bad? And how does this relate to our success in life?
Because fundamentally, we are breaking ourselves against the principle of integrity. If we don't have integrity to our priorities, what is the foundation for our lives? If we don't have integrity to ourselves, how can we have integrity to others? Our goals? Our happiness?
You can see this point in the video below, at 8.25 minutes, when Mr Jackman is talking about that family rule, knowing that he'd recently broken it despite his best efforts. You can see how much it hurts...
There's a lot to take from this interview, I hope you've enjoyed and learnt from it. If you want to learn more about prioritising your life, click here for nuggets of wisdom from U.S. President Eisenhower!