Tag Archives: wisdom

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?

Words for the Wise

Many of us have read or heard quotes or sayings or prayers that have impacted us in wonderful ways.  Some of us have even kept a special expression as a “mantra” or a driving “philosophy.”  Several have helped guide me over the years, and I often come across others that I find meaningful and helpful in given situations.  For those who follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you may have seen some of the ones I’ve shared.

There is one special quote that has guided me over many years, and though I sometimes wish I had always paid attention to it, I believe that even those times when I didn’t, I was meant to remember it at the perfect time and to learn the lesson from having drifted away from it.  Before I reveal that quote to you, let me share others I have found meaningful that you may enjoy, as well.

A favorite is by Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” This is important because we can never realize a dream we don’t have.  It’s like the lottery; you can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket (and I encourage you to play responsibly).  Another wisdom is by Anaïs Nin, who wrote, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”  From my study and practice, I know that there is great power in both of these quotations.  I am sure you have your favorites, and I would enjoy hearing from you if you care to share.

Of all the famous quotes and expressions I have come across over the years, the one that has guided me for decades is recognized as the “Serenity Prayer,” by Reinhold Niebuhr.  Though it has come to be used in recovery programs, particularly 12-step, it is applicable in every facet of life and circumstance.  Many of us get upset with situations over which we have no control, and yet, we expend so much energy that we suffer physically and emotionally.  Upon reflection, we know that makes no sense, so what might help?

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Once we give up the desire to control all beyond our control, we can then allow ourselves to enjoy all that is, to be grateful for what we have, and to dream beautiful dreams.  How cool is that?

Possibilities

For those of you who have been to or who are thinking of visiting my web site, you may notice some quotes on each of several pages. One of my favorites is by Emily Dickinson, in which she says, “Dwell in Possibility.” As simple as this is, it is a profound thought, one more powerful than she may have ever imagined. Another favorite quote is by Eleanor Roosevelt, who said, “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Both of these quotes cause us to think beyond our daily routine, beyond our lives as we see them, and that is powerful.

It is perfectly understandable that because our lives are so busy, so hectic, we have little time to dream. Actually, we have time, but most of us won’t take or make the time to dream. What if you took the time to dream, to dwell in what might be possible for you? What might you dream about, and what new possibilities could open up for you to accomplish?

When you were young, quite young, you may have had some dreams, and along the way, life happened. You may have shared your dreams with a family member or teacher or a good friend. It is possible that some of them may have been something less than enthusiastic and supportive. At some point, you may have begun to believe that maybe they were right and that you should be more realistic and practical and get on with your life, to do what normal people do. Perhaps you could no longer see yourself in that dream, and you may have forgotten it altogether.

That scenario has played out for many of us, and there is really nothing wrong with it. We have all done the best we could with what we had available to us (knowledge, wisdom, maturity) at the time. Those who were negative were so because at the time, that was all they knew. I know some parents may have seemed negative, not because they were really negative, but because they didn’t want their children to be disappointed upon a failure. Looking back, they may now have a different perspective.

The truth is that everything that exists today, even every convenience we take for granted and can’t imagine doing without, started as a dream, a glimmer, a mere possibility, often just a dream, a thought. So, what are you going to dream about? What might be possible for you if nothing else could get in the way? If you could imagine that everything you thought you had to do has been done, that now it is your time to create your life the way you want it, what might you dream? Dream big! When you shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you’ll be among the stars. How cool is that?