Learn how to separate the majors and the minors. A lot of people don’t do well simply because they major in minor things.” –– Jim Rohn
The quote completely summarizes a quality I have been trying to teach but unable to articulate effectively! I see people “majoring in minor things” so often and it is counterproductive to creating the life we desire.
Many people spend much of their day focusing on things that are “minor”–in the big scheme of things they just don’t matter. Yet, people use their vital mental and physical energy analyzing, judging and worrying over these “minor” things. Then when it comes time to work on the “majors”–they have very little energy left. Yet, they wonder why their situation isn’t changing.
We have to use our energy on the “right” things if we are going to see results that are worthwhile. Focusing on “little things” doesn’t necessarily mean we are thinking negatively, it simply means we are using our energy in the wrong place, and we haven’t yet internalized how valuable this vital energy is.
Let me give you some examples:
Example A: You receive an email at work. The email is ambiguous and you feel that part of it is negative, but you aren’t sure. The email isn’t over a “deal” that will make-or-break your career. You get wrapped up in “What does it really mean?” You forward the emails to others asking their opinion. It gnaws at you while driving home. It shades your attitude for the remainder of the day because you have given it so much focus and energy.
Example B; You buy something new and it breaks or doesn’t work right. You get very angry that it doesn’t work. You tell your family and your friends and anyone else who will listen about this poor purchase.
Example C: You send a nice gift to someone and they don’t respond with a phone call or a thank you. You spend time talking to others about how this person has poor manners. You get worked up that you aren’t appreciated.
Is responding in any of the above three ways wrong? NO! Is it going to help you get where you want to be? NO!
You see, in each example we give our energy over to something that doesn’t align with our long-term vision. To give energy to one thing, we must pull energy from another. None of us are 24-7 energy producers–that is why we sleep. Responding in these ways isn’t wrong or bad, but it does deplete the energy we have for living our dreams. When we act in the ways above we “major in minor things.” When we do so, the impact we have will be minor–not major.
How might we respond in these examples?
Example A: If the email is truly worrisome, call the person directly and ask for clarification or if something is on their mind. Call with the intention of clarification–not confrontation.
Example B: Just pack up the broken item and return it.
Example C: Remember that the joy of giving should be in the giving itself, not in the expectation of a response from someone else. If it really gnawing at you, call the person to confirm they received the item. They will likely thank you during the call.
In each of these 3 action examples we accomplished three things:
First, we didn’t use any more energy than absolutely essential to deal with the task. Second, we didn’t let our thoughts take over and continue to dwell on the situation and use more vital energy. Third, we involved as few people as possible, so we didn’t spread negativity or misunderstanding.
Try it! Where do you commonly get caught up with minor things? Look at the past 30 days and identify areas where you often get “stuck.” Come up with a new response that reserves your vital energy and allows a quick and productive response. Then implement it.