Stephen Covey's words of wisdom -- "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." -- are certainly poignant, but it's not always so simple to identify the main thing -- or keep it the main thing. With so many aspects of life to balance -- work, relationships, the pursuit of personal passions -- it's no wonder that that main thing often gets lost amidst the lengthy to-do lists and the impromptu must-do's.
But Covey has a point. For each of us, there should be a main thing -- the thing that fuels us, that motivates us, that keeps us engaged and interested in life. The main thing could be a hobby, a career, even a relationship (though I wouldn't advise making another person your main thing...). Your main thing could be a state of mind, a life-long dream, a career path. No matter what your main thing is, we should all strive to keep the main thing, the main thing. Easier said than done, right? Below are some ideas for identifying the main thing -- and keeping it the main thing -- in your life.
3 Methods for Maintaining the Main Thing
1. Evaluate your current situation.
Think about how you spend your time. Think about the people in your life. Are these things exciting you? Motivating you? Are they in tune with the path you want to be on? If not, what does excite you? What makes you want to get up in the morning with a big smile on your face? If that's not what you're doing every single day, then you're missing out on the main thing and it's time to make some changes. Remember: no one is going to make the main thing your priority for you. It's up to you to identify what makes you thrilled to be alive -- your main thing -- and it's up to you to make sure you prioritize it in your life.
2. Make it part of your daily routine.
If you want your main thing to stay in focus, you've got to put it where you can see it. Don't put it off until someday -- or even until the weekends. Make sure you do what you feel passionate about every single day. Pencil it in on your calendar. Schedule it as a meeting. Do whatever you need to do to make time for the main thing in your life. If you don't actively find a way to incorporate the main thing into your life on a regular basis, it will become out of focus, blurry, and it will become less and less of a priority for you. If you want the main thing to be the main thing, you have to keep it in the forefront. Zoom in on it daily.
3. Create a to-don't list.
Make a list of things that do (or could) get in the way of the main thing. Are any of the things on the list currently part of your life? If they are, stop doing/seeing/being them -- or minimize them if you can't cut them out altogether. Anything standing n the way of your main thing is essentially standing in the way of you. While I’d recommend directing your attention to how to incorporate more of your main thing into your life (positive over negative!), knowing what will stand in the way of the main thing is also important when it comes to keeping the main thing, the main thing.
Of course, keeping the main thing -- whatever that might be -- the main thing is difficult with all of life's distractions and detours. It will take effort, perseverance, and determination to keep the main thing in focus. But life's short. Don't you want what matters most to you to be what you spend most of your time and energy on? I certainly do. Don't waste any more time on the sideshows, on the things that don't really mean that much to you. Life is short. Keep the main thing, the main thing.