How much time do you waste on unimportant stuff? The truth is that many folks get excited when they buy a new toy, get a few likes on social media, or receive a compliment about how they look. In fact, buying something on sale or being told they don’t look their age can make their day. At the same time, getting cut off by a crazy driver, having to wait at the checkout line, or being put on hold can send them into a frenzy. But when you come to think about it, is that stuff really important?
The problem is that we let distractions and disruptions divert our attention from important things. The result is that even though you had a busy day, a lot of time was spent on things that don’t really matter very much. After all, being busy is not the same as being productive.
Every moment you focus on things that don’t matter, you lose time to spend on things that do.
Do What Matters Most
As the Dalai Lama said, “A meaningful life is not being rich, being popular, being highly educated or being perfect. It’s about being real, being humble, being strong and being able to share ourselves and touch the lives of others. It’s only then that we could have a full, happy and contented life.”
Here are 11 guideposts to help you focus on stuff that really matters:
Own your life. Your destiny lies in your hands — grab hold of it rather than relinquishing responsibility to others.
Stand for something. You have an opportunity to define your values and your life as you see fit, or you can go with the flow and let them be defined for you.
Make a difference. Find your purpose and live for something greater than yourself. While it’s tough to change the world, you can change the world around you.
Make relationships a priority. Do right by people. Give more than you take. Put others’ needs ahead of your own. Meet in the middle. Keep your promises. And never win at the expense of a relationship.
Bring out the best in people. Look for the spark of brilliance in others. Make people feel special and appreciated. Inspire them to do their best and to be their best.
Put family first. Be available, not just present. Celebrate traditions. Eat at least one meal as a family. And never stop courting your spouse.
Create magic moments. Moments, rather than possessions, are the true treasures of life. Material possessions get old and wear out. Memories last forever.
Be grateful. If you’re grateful for what you have, you’ll never want for more.
Nourish your mind, body, and soul. You’re careful about how you feed your body. Be equally prudent about how you nourish your mental, physical, and emotional/spiritual health.
Be an exemplary role model. Virtue isn’t demanding more of others; it’s expecting more of yourself. Lead by example. Do what’s right rather than what’s convenient.
Leave a legacy. Live the way you want to be remembered. You may not have the control to lengthen your life, but you can do much to deepen it.
What Really Matters?
Many of us take each day as it comes and then seem surprised to find where life has taken us. Do you prioritize areas of your life and make choices based on those priorities, or do you go with the flow and leave everything to chance? Being busy may make you feel good, but it’s meaningless unless your effort produces the desired outcome — a means to an end rather than an end in itself. So, add more time in your day by subtracting things that don’t really matter to you. As Peter F. Drucker, the management consultant, author, and educator, said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
Check out Frank’s latest book, The Path to a Meaningful Life.
What Matters Most to You?
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