This is my last post for 2012. What are those “things” that are important in life? I read an article some time ago, which helped me formulate this “list.” These are not “things” but rather ideas or maybe beliefs that are important in my life. I was thinking recently that although I can write about all these ideas, I must be sure I am trying to follow them as well – and to show my kids how to do the same. Implementation is the harder work. In one area of my life, I have done a poor job of implementing these tenets. That area will have my renewed focus. Life is a beautiful and difficult challenge!
Thoughts. We are what we think. We spend our lives in two forms of thought: fear and worry. These are life traps. Some thought is our ego. It is important to distinguish between a strong ego and a big ego. We must learn to be happy with who we are, not how big we are. Our journey in life must include a constant effort to pull away from fear and worry.
Interpretations. The things that happen to us in life only have the meaning we ascribe to them. It really doesn’t matter what it is, it is how we interpret it. We use memory to put the experience in a category … whether positive or negative, happy or sad. Our interpretations of the event has an enormous effect on the quality of our life.
Words and Actions. How we express ourselves is our statement in life. It’s how we are judged in the world. However, it’s not what people think about us, it’s what we think they think about us. Making mistakes is part of success in any area of life and there is no substitute for experience and experience comes from failure. This is powerfully important and includes relationships.
Feelings. Feelings are based on our interpretations. When we have a healthy view on life and ourselves, we are able to freely experience life and others.
Emotions. When we feel emotions, that is when we are truly alive — even when the emotions are negative. Mastering our emotions is one of the most important lessons in life.
People and Love. The people we hold near and dear to our heart, whether family or friends, we must work to keep them there. The loves of our life are the basis of our existence.
Vision. We have the power to create a vision for a future. Take advantage of that power.
I know this is long but please allow me to share a story I once heard – maybe you’ve heard it too … bears repeating today:
A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, he picked up a very large and empty jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks.
He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.
The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.
He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.
The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else.
He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”
“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.
The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car.
The sand is everything else. The small stuff.”
“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life.
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party and fix the disposal.
Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”
My love to each and every one of you for the new year. May you all experience growth and happiness.