THE TWELVE DAILY EMOTIONAL FITNESS TRAINING EXERCISES
Exercise Two: Remember what matters
He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
Friedrich Nietzsche, German Philosopher
The world is full of people after you to do this or that, buy this or that, join this or that. Keeping focused on what matters is difficult. Think for a minute about what matters most to you. Make a list. Here’s mine in order: My family, my friends, the children of the world, working for peace, finding peace, safe guarding the earth. Bet yours isn’t too different.
What about things like: finding a mate, getting a good education, getting a job, keeping a job, buying a car, buying a home, buying a bigger home, having children, providing for children? These are goals. Goals matter and a goal directed life is known to more satisfying, My goals? Number one: write and sell my Merlin and Meredyth novel. Number two: Make money doing good—Emotional Fitness Training’s business motto, a long time goal. and a long way from meeting the Make Money part, but still a goal. Both goals give my life focus and direction and keep me strong, but remembering what matters gives me much more.
Goals are not enough. Wise men and women across the centuries know more is needed. To keep you emotionally strong, the goals must relate to and be part of a wider mission. Every religion and every philosophy says the best lives are based on this mission: care for others as you want to be cared for. To me that means working for peace for all. That is my mission. When I remember what matters, I remember my mission. What is your mission?
Steven Covey author of the best-selling book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People suggests writing a personal mission statement to connect to “your own unique purpose and the profound satisfaction that comes in fulfilling it” A personal mission statement addresses two questions:
- What is my life about?
- What actions am I taking to show what my life is about?
In trying to sort out what matters most as a mission think about having 24 hours to live, 6 months to live, and 6 years to live. How would you spend each time allotment? Each brings its own thoughts about what matters and what you want your life to be about. Moreover, each will point to what matters most to you.
Also think about what you want said about you when death does carry you away. Think of the person you know best reading an honest eulogy. Someone who will make you real, not be afraid to speak of your flaws and challenges as well as your strengths and success. Maybe you should be that person. I have written my farewells and my eulogy.
Finally, think about what you want written on your grave stone that will sum up all that was good about you. I don’t care if I have a grave stone; but I would like people to say I was someone who walked many paths looking for peace. “Peace Seeker” would fit on a grave stone. So Peace is my mission and what I want my life to be about—practicing kindness is one of the major steps I take each day to live my mission. . .
Take the time over the next several days to write a mission statement and to get it printed up, framed and put where you can see it. Mine is small, and simply says “Seek peace through kindness.” But it has been slowly distilled from longer ones over the years. I use the slogan “Kindness matters” to remind me my mission and what matters. Find such a slogan for your personal mission.
How to practice Remember What Matters. Keep your printed mission statement where you can see it before you start your day. Haven’t written one, don’t think you have the time now? Then find a quote that reminds you of our higher purpose and print that up.. When you see either your written mission statement or the quote, take a Calming Breath, think about what matters, take another calming breath and go forth strengthened. Throughout the day, if your stress seems to be eroding, take a Calming Breath and think about what matters. Not magic, but strengthening.
…to leave the world a bit better… this is to have succeeded.
Ralph Waldo Emerson, American Philosopher
I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.
Jim Carrey, American actor
We have an obligation to put back into the world at least the equivalent of what he takes out of it.
Albert Einstein, Scientist