Keeping Track of What Matters

This week’s Thanksgiving day blog may be coming a day late, but then is Thanksgiving day itself really a time for business blog writing or reading? Well, we can leave our opinions on that to ourselves. But it would be remiss to let this week go without saying something about the holiday that the majority of Americans celebrated yesterday – it being, after all, the one true American holiday. There is a lot that I could write about Thanksgiving that, to be honest, a lot of people have already written. Thanksgiving is a time when most of us take at least a portion of the day to step back and think – about the ways we are blessed, and what we are grateful to have in our lives.

In other words, most of us take some time to focus on and keep track of what matters (and this is Scoreboard, after all). Because the things that we are grateful for – whether the big ones that come to us easily, or the small ones we have to hunt to come up with, are what do really matter to our lives. Some of us even spend the month of November finding different things each day to express thankfulness for, and vowing to spend more of the year in gratitude, because thinking about the ways that we are blessed makes us feel blessed. Being purposeful about keeping track of the things that add to our lives is something we recognize as beneficial. And then somehow, as soon as the holiday is over, most of us will – if we are honest – go back to keeping careful track of the annoying or frustrating little things that don’t really matter at all.

For instance, your commute to work probably did not come up at the dinner table yesterday as something you are particularly grateful for. Especially if you commute to work during certain hours in any larger U.S. city. So this is likely not something on that list of things that ‘really matter’ in your life – and yet, in the moment, or in the Sunday evening leading up to when you’ll have to face that moment again, it can be the only thing that we think about. It can become everything that matters. And maybe you even keep track of how many red lights you hit, or how may people cut you off. Tally up how rude American drivers are becoming, and how more and more roads are congested with traffic and construction and you have to give yourself longer and longer to get anywhere.

And suddenly, your list of “important things to keep track of” doesn’t include anything that makes you feel blessed or grateful. If it helps, think of this photo as visual.

A mental clothesline where you pin up everything you want to keep track of during the day. And normally, by the time you get to work on the Monday after Thanksgiving, all your clothespins will be holding up things like That Really Rude Driver in the New Tahoe, Stoplight #99, That Extra Mile of One Lane Construction, Your Car’s Stupid Unbalanced Tire… And maybe, as idealistic as it sounds, when you get to work your first step – if you want to start out your day on a positive mental note – should be to purposefully unclip each of these “not really important things,” and clip up that one absolutely exquisite tree you saw at one of the 99 stoplights (assuming obviously at this point that you are in the far south… where there are still pretty trees… and maybe this analogy is weak, but you know, look at the pretty leaf).

So we’ll just end on this mantra, keep track of what really matters. Of the things that add even a bit of joy to your day. Sometimes, track the pretty leaf.


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