Deconstructing Linwood Storm’s Personal Priority Pyramid

Melvin Van Peebles (Dir. of 'Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song' and 'Watermelon Man')

“Looking back on his initial film experience, he says, “It cost me my wife, two children, and my car.” To help pay for the film, he held three jobs at once and took in a roomer. “One day my wife said, ‘What would you say if I told you I was sleeping with the roomer?’ I said, ‘I’d raise his rent.'” ― On pages 14-15 of ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song: A Guerilla Filmmaking Manifesto‘ [Mario Van Peebles discussing his father’s passion and determination for filmmaking.]

I believe in basing my “next move” on principles, guidelines, and an order of tasks that contribute to the progression of important objectives required to complete beneficial goals. Placing my mindset on paper has assisted with maintaining a peaceful reminder that also acts as a reference whenever I do feel “lost”. Rather than squander my twenties, I chose to build early and take advantage of my creative drive that seems to dissipate in most as time goes by. I’m currently the same age as my parents when they gave birth to me and yet I remain, to my knowledge, childless. That is not to say I don’t plan on having a family, however, I do realize that I would prefer to be in the most comfortable position to do so instead of limiting myself in a situation that may not always favor what I would like to pursue. From the freedom of international travel to taking a lazy day with a few comic book series that I would like to catch up on. The ability to optimize a period during the day is imperative to having an enjoyable lifestyle, regardless of the class that I’m in.

For this article, I will be giving a breakdown of the Personal Priority Pyramid that I’ve constructed and continue to abide by.

  • Health is prioritized the most because without being able to function properly, I cannot prepare myself for what lies ahead. Keeping in shape throughout the week by weight lifting (I use the ‘Stronglifts 5×5’ app) and running 3-6 miles with ‘Strava’ has gotten my body used to constant activity. Thus discouraging sedentary behavior. As a vegetarian or vegan, I typically meal-prep and own a 6-Section Pill Organizer for my supplements such as Zinc, Maca Root, and multivitamins. I keep in mind to receive eight-hours of sleep by shutting down all electronics and using a mask to block potential light. While I don’t traditionally pray, I schedule daily sessions of mediation for thirty-minutes to help “align myself with the universe”. I’ve found it to be more constructive than simply talking to myself.

  • Financial Freedom is next, as I see it as a means of achieving my vision. I make sure that necessary bills are paid off, business is growing instead of stagnating, certain projects are being handled even if they are moving relatively slow, and percentages from passive income are carefully invested while regularly monitored. Mint’s Budget Tracker & Planner is a very handy app that I have and still recommend. Prior to the service, I used Good Budget, which relies on the envelope budgeting system. Both can be concurrently effective. At the end of the day, practicing minimalism has condensed expenses and allowed me to finance what I need to or splurge using discretionary income.

  • Underneath Financial Freedom is Leisure Time and what I look forward to when I desire to play video games (which may consume a few hours) reading a book or traveling over the weekend, as I’ve previously mentioned, and marathoning a television series, if not three or four works of cinema. Leisure Time can be spent alone, with a significant other, friend, or family member, however, it is ultimately my decision to choose how I spend it and confirm that everyone who’s close understands this.

  • Speaking of Family, because I do not have a wife (and never will) or children to look after, this category would be for immediate members like my parents or brothers and then get-togethers to meet extended relatives. Otherwise, I would place the relationships between mother(s) of my children(s) and my offspring first. Of course, the latter would create further sub-sections that may include homeschooling and activities related to raising or bonding with them.

  • My social circle of Friends typically have similar missions as I do, so we all are quite often busy. With that said, I still find it key to check-in, communicate, and arrange events that we can catch-up at. Similarly, I use various occasions to network so that I may expand my community and evolve as an individual. Charity falls within this bracket because it supports my legacy on this planet. I want my descendants to be proud of their given surname and what was accomplished with it.

  • Last, but not least, are Lover(s). I have always found sex to be easy to acquire as a man of value, so I don’t view it as an urge to consistently quell outside of an arrangement or intimate relationship, and neither interferes with my lifestyle or they are deemed distractions. In romantic “entanglements”, I have allocated a portion of finances for dates, “toys”, and contraceptives. Whether they are monogamous or polyamorous, the amount set aside does not change.

Creating a diagram was fundamental for not only myself, but to those who have inquired about my organized path and how they fit into it. Without prioritizing my health, I may not have the strength to pursue financial freedom. Without having financial freedom, I cannot afford the leisure time I need to reboot my brain. The absence of leisure time increases stress and affects my health, so it makes bonding with family an irritatable experience. Friends can act as a “break” from family, even if members of my family are considered friends, or a different perspective that aids the gratitude of one. I use lovers as a quick dopamine rush or muse, depending on how serious the relationship is. The chemicals released work much like a drug. Hence why they can easily become distractions that would be detrimental if near the foundation of my pyramid.

The structure of one’s life pyramid should ultimately be unique and support his journey. A system that functions well for me might not work for the average man whose happiness requires an individualistic arrangement of their own layers. My design can be likened to personal philosophy, while others are more practices of a daily schedule. I suggest taking the time to list what is essential for your overall advancement and figuring out six categories to split them in to. Once you have a visual, opportunities will become clearer as they arise, and saying “no” to what doesn’t bring you satisfaction will roll off the tongue.

The willpower needed to live up to your full potential always exists and there’s no better time to start becoming one of the best versions of yourself in the multiverse than now!