What is Truly Important?

Many years ago I read a book by Richard Carlson entitled, “Don’t’ Sweat the Small Stuff… and it’s all small stuff.”  You may remember that book and may have even read it yourself.  I thought about that book and its theme because of a recent family tragedy, and I thought that as we embark on this new era (according to the Mayan calendar, at least, the world as we knew it ended), it might be worth revisiting.

Over the course of our lives, we are confronted with situations that require our courage, our strength, and our wisdom.  Sometimes we act wiser and with greater strength and courage than at other times, and that’s natural.  What I have learned over the many years I have been at this thing called, “life,” is to concentrate on those things that are most important, that contribute most to my true happiness and well-being.  I am a compassionate and considerate person, so I know I will always have others’ interests in mind, as well.  As a recovering people pleaser, however, I am careful to not focus on others to my own detriment.

As parents, we may be faced with the dilemma of disciplining a child or deciding that a particular action doesn’t warrant that level of attention, which is the “pick your battles” scenario.  Some decisions come easily, and others require that courage and strength, especially when there are no rules that govern or guide us.  This brings me back to the book and its theme, that we are well served by focusing on the truly important things in life and to realize that much of what we believe to be important may actually be rather unimportant.

As you think about the time ahead and how you will live this life with a new focus, evaluate those things in your life that you give most of your attention to.  Are they truly the most important, or do they have an urgency that seems to insist?  Sometimes we pay more attention to things that seem “urgent,” whether they are truly important or not.  In any given moment, consider what is most important, “right now.”  What will help you get closer to a goal or make you most happy?  What can you do that you can be most proud of when you reflect sometime later?  What will have the greatest positive impact on your relationship with your children, spouse, and others who are most important in your life?

When I am breathing my last breath, I will not wish I had spent more time at the office.  I will be most proud of those moments I spent doing things that brought me the most joy and that made a positive difference in the lives of those I love.  When you concentrate on what is truly important, you will realize your greatest joy.  How cool is that?

2 thoughts on “What is Truly Important?

  1. Thank you, Karl, for these thoughts. They bring to mind a Rumi quote I have been considering (I see Rumi’s name in your blog, so you probably know this one): “Be a lamp, a lifeboat, a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.” I see from your writing that you got there ahead of me, so I appreciate the encouragement! Your writing is not the “head’s up” people talk about – it is a hand up. –Elizabeth

    • Thank you, Elizabeth, for your kind words and for sharing the Rumi quote. I find his words perfect for so many of life’s experiences. Thank you also for reading and commenting. I write to express and also to share, and I am honored and grateful that my words reach and touch others. Wishing you all the best! – Karl

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