Too many folks worry too much about things that don’t matter, and too little about things that do.
You know the type.
Thoughts come to mind of that irritating blather that gets worse with each passing year. Those talking heads who ramble on with the latest talking points. Cultural divisiveness. Spats over things that are, in the broader scope, essentially meaningless.
It bugs me. It irritates me. In the end, does any of it matter?
Perhaps it’s time to talk about Things That Matter … And Things That Don’t.Too many folks worry too much about things that don't matter, and too little about things that do. Click To Tweet
Things That Matter … And Things That Don’t
We’ve all heard the expression about “Making a Mountain Out of A Molehill”. I like that saying, and find it appropriate for the many instances in my life where I worry too much about the things that don’t matter.
I wonder how many of us have gone through the trouble of Googling the definition of Molehill? Not many, I suspect. No worries, I went through the exercise for you, and present below the finding of my research:
The Definition Of Molehill
A small mound of earth. I like that. I have a few stubborn mole tunnels in my yard. It’s fun to stomp on them, and feel that little tunnel collapse beneath your feet.
But do they really matter?
Personal Mountains, Personal Molehills
More important than the definition, however, is the question: How many of us have taken some time to think about our “Personal Molehills”. You know, those things which aren’t very important to us, but still pop up in the front yard and steal our attention? Further, how many of us have thought about our Personal Mountains? Those BIG issues, which matter most to us?A lot of things matter in this life. And a lot of things don't. It's important to know the difference. Click To Tweet
Things That Matter
As I’ve been working on this post, I’ve been building a list of things that matter. I also started a list of things that don’t. If you’ve never done the exercise, I encourage you to build your own lists. It’s an interesting exercise and gives your brain something to think about. Thinking is good. If you haven’t done it lately, give it a try.
Here are some of the Things That Matter to me, pulled from my list in no particular order:
- Serious Illness
I thought a little longer on the topic, and came up with some that may not be as obvious:
Things That Matter should be the things we focus on. The things we seek to improve. The things we talk about.
We Should. But Do We?
Things That Don’t Matter
On the opposite side of the spectrum are the things that don’t matter. You may take some offense at my list, especially if you’re one of the folks behind the irritating blather mentioned in my intro. Putting all political correctness aside (hey, it’s MY list after all!), here’s some stuff that doesn’t matter:
- Material Things
- The Jones’
- Social Media
- Political Bickering
- Comic Books
- Office politics
- The Past
Sure, sports is fun, but does it REALLY matter who won the Super Bowl last year? Can you even remember? The same goes for politics. Sure, policy drives a lot of stuff in any country, but is it really worth the insane amount of blather that it generates?
Does It Really Matter?
A Focus On What Matters
As I look at my own life, I think I often have things upside down. It seems the things that matter the most are, at times, the things that I think about least. The things which matter least often seem to receive a disproportionate amount of my attention.
We Choose What We Think About.
Thoughts are powerful. Thoughts lead to ideas, ideas to action, action to consequences.
We Choose What We Do With Our Time.
Where we spend our time has a direct result on the impact of our actions.
If our thoughts and actions have consequences, doesn’t it seem logical that we should think and act most on those Things That Matter the most to us? Seems obvious, but I know in my own life it’s not always the case.
Be intentional, and choose to think more about the things that matter the most to you. Spend more time in those areas that are most important to you, and less time in the things that aren’t.
An Intentional Life
6 months into my retirement, I’m trying to become more intentional with my life. With my time. With my thoughts. With the Freedom I’ve earned through a 33-year commitment to Corporate America.
It’s time for me to choose what I want to do with my time.
You may want to consider doing the same.A life lived intentionally is a life well lived. Focus more on the things that matter, and less on the things that don't. Click To Tweet
Being intentional in life means an increased focus on the things that matter, and a decrease on the things that don’t. Each of us decide for ourselves what we spend our energy on. It just seems right that the areas we deem as important should receive a higher allocation of our time.
I came across this quote in Collecting Wisdom as I was writing this post, and felt it was symbolic of recognizing Things That Matter:
“You must not be afraid of your uniqueness and you must care less and less what people think of you. You have no responsibility to live up to what other people think you ought to accomplish. I have no responsiblity to be like they expect me to be.” Richard Feynman
A Story That Matters
As I’ve focused on Things That Matter over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed more things which deserve my attention. I’ve tried to be more intentional in reaching out to friends who are facing major health issues. I’ve tried to listen more, and talk less. I’m paying more attention to Things That Matter.
I connected with a reader named Boyd, and felt his story was worth sharing. In 2011, Boyd was suffering some flu-like symptoms as he was preparing for a trip to Chicago. He got some bloodwork tests done, and was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. They did a bone marrow biopsy and found out that 80% of the white blood cells were cancerous.
He was given a 10% chance of survival.
Rather than give up, Boyd decided to fight.
His wife earns an honorable mention for finding the hospital which saved his life. He went through aggressive chemotherapy and was fortunate to find a “one in a million” match for a stem cell transplant. He now has the DNA stem cells of an American serviceman. That man’s name is Nathan, and he’s recently returned to the USA after being stationed in Japan. Boyd has a goal of meeting him in 2019 to say Thank You in person.
I hope he does.
In spite of living with many health complications from the chemotherapy and radiation including brain and spinal cord trauma and severe fatigue issues that still plague him, he started running in 2013. And running. And running. He completed the Disney Marathon in 2015 and was hooked. He’s since run 7 marathons, including 3 in 2018, does numerous long distance charitable bike rides. More importantly, his cancer is now in remission. He shares his story on his Facebook page and raises funds for cancer through his endurance events.
Boyd and I had some exchanges as I was writing this post, and he shared the details of his story with me. Boyd was quick to point out that his Christian faith and support from church friends played a big role in his recovery. Things That Matter.
In one of our exchanges, he made the following comment, which I thought was the best way to conclude this post:I have learned a lot about focusing on the things that matter most. Boyd - leukemia survivor. Click To Tweet
He concluded by saying, “This is what life is all about. FI just opens the door to more opportunities. I choose to be grateful for all the opportunities life gives us!”
Things That Matter.
There are a lot of Things That Matter in life, and a lot of things that don’t.
Have you taken time to think about what’s truly important to you? Are you intentional in ensuring that the things that matter get the appropriate attention? Take some time this week to put together a list of Things That Matter … And Things That Don’t. Think about how you use your time, and be a bit more intentional with your life.
Your life will be better for it.
Your Turn: What matters in your life? Are there areas that don’t matter, but get a lot of your time? What are you doing about it? Has it made your life better? Let’s chat in the comments…