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Leadership Thought #336 – What’s Important In Life?

April 16, 2012

Free Woman in White Long Sleeve Shirt Standing Near White and Gray House during Daytime Stock Photo

Occasionally, we need to remind ourselves what’s important in life.

I’ve always thought that the whole concept of work-life balance is a bit of an illusion.  It’s difficult for me to imagine someone who has a life that is always completely in balance.  Things don’t always work out this way.  It’s like the idea of a 50/50 partnership or marriage.  Rarely do both partners put in the same amount of effort all the time.  What you hope is that in the end, it all balances out properly.  I view my life in the same way.  There will be periods when some things take precedence over others and that’s okay as long as it doesn’t become a lifelong habit.  However, there are certain aspects of our existence we should be paying attention to all the time (to varying degrees as needed).  We ignore any of these items in the long-term to our own detriment.

  • Family – we all have some semblance of a family, and this is usually the bedrock of our existence.  The unit can either expand or contract, but it is critical, nonetheless. We all need people who love us just for who we are and how we are connected to them.  People who have poor family relationships are at a major disadvantage in life.
  • Friendships – I have always believed that life is defined by the quality of your relationships and outside of your family there is no more critical component to your happiness than who you decide to spend your social time with.  Without exception, these people should be a positive influence in your life and should be cultivated as such.  Remove negative influences as quickly as possible.
  • Health – health is one of those things many of us don’t really think about until it becomes an issue, however many studies have proven that there is a direct correlation between your quality of life and health status.  The good news is that practicing healthier lifestyle habits works and makes an enormous difference across the board in life.  Not exercising, drinking, and eating irresponsibly only leads down one path.
  • Work – far too many people dislike their jobs and get minimal personal satisfaction out of their work.  You will spend a considerable amount of time working in your life and not liking what you do is a recipe for unhappiness.  Don’t become a slave to a paycheck. Strive to do something that is meaningful to you and tap into your natural talents and passions.  And, never work for a company or organization that is misaligned with your personal core values.
  • Faith In Something Bigger – whether you are religious or not there needs to be some quasi-spiritual force that guides your life. Life will feel meaningless unless it is part of a larger definition of self and helps you understand how you fit into the “big picture” of existence.
  • Charity – no matter where you sit on the socio-economic hierarchy, there will always be those less fortunate than you.  Countless studies have proven the importance of giving back and volunteering as a key component of a happy life.  Most people who are unhappy spend too much time thinking about themselves and miss innumerable opportunities to help others.
  • Personal Economics – money can be a source of stress or security in your life.  The choice is always up to you.   Our financial reality is a direct reflection of how we view the importance of money and material things over other issues.
  • Hobbies – all of us should have something we just do for the pure joy of doing it.  As we age it’s easy to lose sight of our inner child and the whole concept of play.  If we are not careful, adults become too serious and responsible.  Not everything in life must have a deeper agenda than simply enjoying the passage of time.

Sadly, we often sacrifice the important for the unimportant. Life happens and distracts us and before you know it, decades have flown by. Don’t let this happen to you. Be focused, determined, and intentional when it comes to what makes you happy!