I recently started reading a book titled “Essentialism” and found something a bit surprising. It is about setting your priority. After doing some research to verify the writers’ claim, I want to share it with you.
Lets start with the meaning and origin of the word : “Priority”.
According to the dictionary, it originated in the 14th century as a noun for the word prior which means the first or former thing.
It stayed as a singular word with no plural for five centuries till in 1940, when we first started using a plural for it: “priorities”. To verify this, lets look at the number of occurrences of the two words in English literature for the past 3 centuries using this tool Google Ngram viewer:
Notice the bump in usage of the plural in the 1940s and the subsequent rise in the 70s. But does it really make sense? Can you have more than one “first” thing?
How many times do we setup more than one priority. Instead of choosing amongst the alternatives, which involves a trade-off, we try to do everything. Try to have-it-all. Often, in my case, I don’t succeed spectacularly in even a single one of them. So from now on, whenever you set your priority, remember it is Singular.