Are you spending your energies on things that matter? I thought I was.
I am an avid solar eclipse chaser. I have been to 12 total solar eclipses all over the world and intend to go to every eclipse for the rest of my life no matter where they occur.
The last eclipse was in the Pacific Ocean near Japan and I planned on seeing it from a cruise ship. I put a tremendous amount of mental and physical energy into preparing; making sure that my obligations at home were covered, getting the right clothes together, bringing the right equipment to observe the eclipse, preparing my computer so I could work on the plane, and so on. It occupied my thoughts every day for weeks, and it was a really big deal.
My mother died suddenly several years ago and I got yanked out of my world into a nightmare, driving about 90 minutes to identify her body in the morgue of a hospital near her home. My head was spinning and I felt pretty much numb inside after seeing her, and I went to a nearby restaurant. While I was waiting to be seated, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone; this incredible tragedy had just befallen me and everyone was acting, well, so normal. Life continued to go on as usual even though this was a really big deal.
After contemplating these two situations it occurred to me that I have done this in other parts of my life, and the results were not good. When I was working on my software, I spent hours and hours coding up a slick new feature that, as it turned out, nobody cared about except me. Sure, it was way cool when it was finished. Sure, I was proud of the results. But it did nothing to further my business interests.
When I was caring for my wife during her four bouts with breast cancer, I found myself carefully crafting the emails that I sent to our friends, agonizing over what things were important to share and how best to word them. Did it really matter? Maybe a little, but certainly not to the extent that I fretted. People just wanted to know what was going on and how she was doing; the wording didn’t matter! I wasn’t applying for a job or writing a novel.
Are you sure that your efforts are well placed?