The Small Things

Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realise they were the big things

Kurt Vonnegut

We live in an age of opportunity, and it’s exciting. Anything is possible if you are prepared to put in the time and effort required to succeed. There is, however, the very real danger of getting so completely consumed by the pursuit of your goals, that you forget to live your life too.

As with anything in life, there needs to be a balance. In this instance, you need to find a balance between your personal and professional development, and everything else that’s important in your life. Focus too much on your journey, and you risk causing irreparable damage to your personal relationships and health.

One thing which always struck me as a teacher, was how children take time to pay attention to the world around them. They touch, smell and explore everything. They ask questions so that they can better understand the environment in which they find themselves. And it makes them happy. Somewhere along the line, however, education conditions this curiosity out of them and they are taught instead to develop tunnel vision, only focusing on that which is in front of them. Herein lies the problem.

Developing a laser-like focus will help you to become disciplined and successful in whatever you choose, but it also robs you of so much of life’s beauty. We only have so much time and energy to give each day, and focusing it all in one area, means that other aspects of your life get neglected.

Of course, you may well achieve the status and level of wealth which you crave, but you face losing precious time which could be better spent with friends and family. Life can be cruel, and we have no idea how much time we have with those closest to us. Ask yourself, is that which you chase more important than spending time with your loved ones? Is it more important than your physical and mental health?

If you don’t spend time with those you love, you will regret it if tragedy strikes and they are no longer there. You will remember the times when you chose your goals and work over spending time with them, and this hurts because it was avoidable but now there is nothing you can do to put it right. Neglect your partner and they might end your relationship because they refuse to play second-best to your dreams any longer. Again this is pain which is avoidable. Is money and status really more important than the people who you claim to love? If not, then prove to them that you love them by giving them your time and attention. All of it. Put your phone away and be with them.

Do you take time to sit in the garden, smelling the flowers and listening to the birds? Do you listen to your body, and pay attention to your activity levels and what you eat and drink? Or is your mental and physical health less important than whatever goal you are currently working towards?

Time is precious and once it is gone, it is completely gone. So, it’s best to use it wisely. There are enough hours in the day that you can work towards your goals AND take time to smell the roses or spend quality time with loved ones. Of course, you don’t have to if you don’t want to, but at the end of your days would you not rather look back on a fulfilled and happy life? This is surely better than the alternative, full of loneliness, ill health and a trail of broken relationships.

The choice is yours, so choose wisely.