What things really matter to you?

What is truly important?

Is it your stuff? Your phone? Your shoes? Your collection of ceramic elephants?

Hopefully the things that are important to you are not really things at all.

Your health, your family, your children, your friends, the planet, etc.

How can we be more conscious of remembering what really matters in life?

This topic is so cliché. We hear stories of it happening and movies that are based on it. The quintessential husband who works so much just to make a lot of money, all to the detriment of his health and family. Soon his wife wants a divorce, the kids hate him, he gets a fatal disease due to all the stress and his whole world starts falling apart.

He soon begins to realize that life wasn’t about the chase of the almighty dollar but about something much more.

It always begs the question:

Why do we need to wait for bad things to happen in order to wake us up to what truly matters?

There must be a better way!

Let me ask you a question.

If someone were to offer you 10 million dollars in exchange for your health and that no amount of money or technology would be able to buy back your health, would you make the exchange?

Of course not!

The same deal if you substitute your kids or other important things in life.

That goes to show that we value those things over money, yet, people STILL feel the need to chase the money.

Then why do so many of us still feel the need to accumulate houses full of stuff to keep up with their neighbors.

Their very existence seems to be tied to having material possessions.

Hmmm.

Some might say you need to hit rock bottom to truly change and I can see the truth in that.

But why wait?

Is that the ONLY option available?

Can you start right now without letting a tragedy hit you with a left hook to your face?

Yes.

How?

Reverse conditioning.

Right now, our society conditions us that money, fame, prestige, status – these are the things that truly matter (perhaps an unfortunate byproduct of the capitalistic system).

But what if your conditioning was that health mattered, relationships mattered, spiritual practice mattered, learning mattered, living mattered, becoming a better person mattered, developing your focus, discipline, and character mattered?

What if that was your conditioning?

And ironically, should you focus on those important things in life, you might have a good shot at making the big money as well, but that would just be icing on the cake. The cherry on top. If having money is even important to you.

And if you didn’t get that, you would still have what truly matters anyway so either way, you win.

You would still be focused on what’s important daily in your life and not stray.

So you need to do 2 things to effectively start reverse conditioning.

On the one hand, you need to cut out all the superficial conditioning that’s getting you to focus on things that don’t matter. Usual suspects include shopping catalogs, glamorous magazines, TV, movies, and one of the biggest being who you hang out with on a regular basis.

Wow, a total shift in the way you live and think but it can be done.

What is truly important to you?? It just can’t be stuff.

Take a look around your social circle and see what they truly value. Do they value the more important things in life or are they still all about the superficial?

If it’s the latter, it might be time to slowly phase them out of your social circle.

There was an article in USA Today that I remember about a wife of an executive who lost his high paying job during the recession. It entailed how they burned through their savings and pension and struggled to stay afloat and the article ended with a quote of her saying how she opened her closet door to see all the expensive purses and shoes and pocketbooks she bought before and realized how silly they were now when they seemed so important before.

That’s the power of deceptive conditioning right there.

You are going to have to dig deep inside yourself for this shift to happen, make no mistake about that. It will be hard and very challenging.

But you can make this change.

Take an objective look at what’s influencing you right now and act as a surgeon to cut out all sources of conditioning that get you to focus on the silly things.

Now you replace all that with sources of conditioning that remind and reinforce you of the more important things in life. You’ll find they’ll mostly come from books and the people you hang out with. Why books? Because books remain one of the few mediums that go in DEEP. Magazines, TV, movies – while some of them can go deep, the way they’re structured doesn’t really allow for consideration of the more important things while books do. Add to that, associating with people who truly focus on the more important things in life who prove it by the way they live and you’ve got a great recipe for reverse conditioning in this society.

Start a collection of quotes, articles, chapters that you can refer to in order to remind you of what’s really important in life. You literally need to immerse yourself in this to reverse the conditioning society has done to you.

Be conscious of what’s going on in your life. What’s the pull in your life?

What are you basing your life on?

Hope you enjoyed this post. Please subscribe to this blog and share this post using social media. Thanks and have an awesome day!

“Live Simply”

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43 thoughts on “How To Be Conscious Of What Really Matters

  1. So true. I think it takes a bad thing to happen for us to realise this, because somehow bad things give us clarity of thought. It takes hard work to remember it when things are good, like you say because we have been conditioned to go for money, status, power, fame etc. Thanks for posting.

  2. I really enjoy your writing style. Doesn’t it always take some sort of catalyst to initiate change and then something to anchor it? Your posting today has prompted me to do one of my own, with a reflective state of mind. Thank you.

  3. A great post. I have paid off ALL my debt FINALLY and am focusing on how to move more mindfully into the second half of my life. I am looking at a house full of “stuff” and it is not even that bad compared to some but I don’t need most of it. “Can’t take it with ya” is what I’ve come to realize. I even had a dream one night about “my stuff” and how attached I am to it. I think we will always be challenged where we hold on as life changes continually–that is it’s nature. Keep up the great posts. If you feel so inclined–check out my blog writingthroughitall we have a similar approach. Blessings….

  4. Well written. Thank you. I have also shared it on my facebook page. I used to feel so weird about having people to my apartment because it’s an older style with older appliances and fixtures but I’m so comfortable living here and people tell me it’s cozy and comfortable!

    1. Dianna–I so agree. I am struggling with the same—the culture says–if one does not have stainless steel appliances and granite countertops–we don’t measure up. I don’t yet my house is cozy and functional and surrounded by nature which is “real”. Blessings

  5. I 100% agree with your point on books and peers being the best outlet to a minimalist lifestyle. However, my family are the ones who struggle with materialism and money and I definitely will not phase them out of my life. I don’t press the issue with them, I just try to lead by example but instead end up being the mean mom who always says no. Any suggestions (or previous posts) on teaching without preaching or nagging?

    1. Let me think about that for a day. I think the leading by example is one of the best ways. Ultimately people have to choose their own path. I get accused of being preachy when it comes to minimalist living sometimes. I am trying to curb that.

      Thanks so much for commenting

  6. My husband’s stroke was my wake up call. While he recovered with very little residual effects, it’s allowed me to know how important health and happiness are. A blessing that, at the time, felt like a tragedy. Thankfully, I’ve had 10 years of “in the moment”. Love your blog. Glad you were selected for Freshly Pressed, as I’m not sure I would have found it otherwise.

  7. Last night, I met-up with a few of my friends who graduated last year and started working. They each had been working about 70-80 hour weeks the past couple months (busy season for tax people).

    I asked them if they liked work and if they thought they could stick with it. They said they didn’t have much free time anymore… but that the money was good and they would probaably stick with it until they had kids or something.

    It just made me think… is the money worth it? Why do you need to have a kid in order to have free time?

  8. Do you have any suggestions/previous posts on how to encourage/teach these types of life lessons to our families with a more active approach because my passive lead by example approach has not payed off in the slightest; I am always tagged as the mean mom who says no.

    1. Hmmm. Let me ponder how to take an active minimalist lifestyle approach with others. Are there specific questions or issues? Does it revolve around spending money or getting rid of stuff you already have for example? Is it your kids you are having trouble with? If yes,how old are they?

      1. My biggest concern at the moment is my olderst (preteen). She is at the phase where she wants what all her friends have including designer clothing, cell phones, ipods… I want her to understand why those things aren’t important but all I get in response from her is how “uncool” I am. I am okay with being “uncool” and I know this is just another phase in her life but I really am striving to build a foundation she can fall back on in the future when she is older. However, in the present some peace in our relationship would also be nice. Does this make sense?
        One more thing… in your post you talk about books as good resources; do you have any favorites?

  9. A quote from my favourite author I like to refer to when I get caught up in stuff:
    “Excess is excrement, … Excrement retained in the body is a poison.” – Ursula K. Le Guin

  10. How can I get to the very first entry of your blog, so I can read it from the beginning? All I can figure out to
    do is to keep hitting the previous button, which is very tiresome. If your blog has been going on for a few years, I could be pressing that button forever!

  11. This reminds me of how I felt right before surgery: “Not one thing matters and every one person matters.” I was reminded at that time who is important and why they are. It can be a struggle to separate oneself from the materialistic world but by doing so, there is so much more to gain. I love your blog and the way you write!

    Cheers,
    LIFT

  12. I really like your blog! I was raised to highly value material possessions, so getting past this has been hard. The first big step I’ve made is putting my health first. A lot of people think I’m strange for spending most of my money on groceries, but I can’t think of anything else more important. I do get that “keeping up with the joneses” itch from time to time, but I have to remind myself that it’s not what is important. My fiance has been a huge help with this, and it makes me sad to see that you had the opposite experience. A lot of people out there agree with you, you’ll find one.

    1. Being on the same page as your partner is so important and a lot of don’t ask those important questions when we meet someone and get into a relationship.

      Glad you are putting your health first! Spending on healthy quality food is not a bad thing!

  13. Agreed, money cant buy you happiness. My greatest challenge is that sometimes good health, family and peace of mind only seem accessible through money ! It may be an illusion/ perception but what do you do when you’re near and dear ones expect that paycheck on account of all the investment in your expensive upbringing and education?

    And how to deal with the disappointment of those who willingly sacrificed much so you could have this chance at ‘success’?

  14. Hi from Hamburg/Germany. Good thoughts in this dramatically changing world. For me it was the death of my mom, which has changed me and my life tremendously. And it´s still going on. All the best for you and for those you love.

  15. Hello,
    For the last 30 minutes I ve been reading your blogs. I caught you on the main page and I’m now a fan of yours. My husband and I live a simple life. And, when I read your blog, I couldn’t stop myself from asking him to join me to read your blog. It is a pleasure to meet your blog! Thank you for sharing such wonderful thoughts and we ll look forward to a lot more of them!

  16. Our wake-up call to living simply is dying. My husband and I have what is known as uranium poisoning, and for the past 3 years have fought the battle. We recognize that we will lose the battle of living forever (don’t we all, anyway?!). . . but through this weird experience, we have short sold our home, gave all our our furniture away, and live in a motorhome. Believe it or not, you CAN junk up a motorhome just like anyother space we inhabit – so we’re in the process of simplifying again. I’ll be darned if I leave a bunch of junk around for family or friends to have to contend with. They deserve better from me than that. Your blog is inspiring and spiritual to me (my husband still fiights his pack-rat instincts…but he’s coming around!). Thank you for your ideas – I love them!

  17. My grand dad’s demise was a wake up call. He lived the life of a saint. Even his death happened with a smile and peace on his face. 🙂 It doesn’t mean that he didn’t accumulate wealth.. It is just that he didn’t get obsessed with that wealth… And he mastered the skill of SHARING it with everyone. Be it cause of village school or donations or his own kids, he shared it all…. 🙂

    ” But what if your conditioning was that health mattered, relationships mattered, spiritual practice mattered, learning mattered, living mattered, becoming a better person mattered, developing your focus, discipline, and character mattered?” It’s very tough to stand by these words, but I’m sure if it worth trying for.. 🙂 Awesome work..

    1. Yeah, it can be tough to follow the path of giving to others and not be a consumer-holic in this wacky world we find ourselves, but you know….it is possible to be done, and living a life with love and caring instead of accumulation of stuff is a very satisfying way to live. STUFF – you can’t take it with you. So, what’s the point?! The point is – live a live worth living with love and care for others and yes….ourselves…thanks for a great blog. You are very inspiring; don’t go away, okay?!

  18. For me it was graduating college and realizing I’d have to support myself at some point. Somehow stuff becomes less important when you have to come up with the money yourself.

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