That Most Important Thing

"Untitled" by artist Maddalena Ambrosio, 2013, Part of the Locus Solus exhibit at Arter Gallery, Istanbul, 2022.

Do you find it challenging to make decisions or manage change? Are your decision factors fuzzy? Does it stress you out to determine what’s next? One of the most helpful tools for a successful outcome is identifying and focusing on your Most Important Thing.

What do I mean by that term? It’s simple, yet complex.

Where are you rooted? What grounds you?

What is at the core of your being able to do what you love? What is essential to your life?

It’s Personal

Our Most Important Thing (M.I.T.) is very personal. I’m sure you’ve learned by now that we are all very unique individuals. Our core, our inner being, is even very different from that of our best friend.

How others may judge your M.I.T. isn’t valid. Your Most Important Thing is that which speaks to your inner being, to your core. It is the foundation on which you build, or want to build, your life.

Making a decision is easier and produces more successful outcomes when you keep your Most Important Thing at the forefront of your mind. When you are faced with a choice or decision, your success will depend in large part on how it relates to and affects your M.I.T.  

Our Most Important Thing usually sits in the background of our minds. It’s the subconscious desire, passion, and focus that we don’t often think about or voice. How our M.I.T. influences the success of the decisions and choices we make may be sub-conscious, but it exists. Your focus, energy and enthusiasm will be much greater when your choices and decisions are as closely aligned with your M.I.T. as possible.

Life isn’t perfect nor always accommodating. We don’t always have the options for a perfectly aligned choice or decision, but there is one thing to keep in mind. The choices we make in life create or eliminate our future possibilities and opportunities. Bringing that Most Important Thing to our conscious level when we make choices and decisions will have a positive effect on our satisfaction and success.

The Need To Identify And Define Our Core

Identifying and clarifying your Most Important Thing is a deep thinking, soul searching exercise. You have to dig down to the roots. Use a long, quiet, meditative session. Work on it over a period of time. Since we are all unique, we’ll all have different ways to approach the exercise. Here is one exercise to get you started:

1. List three important things in your life. No names or relationships, not Susan, Steve or “my sister.”  It could be anything, but for examples, the following things could be at your core:

  • emotional or physical safety,
  • financial security,
  • personal growth,
  • a sense of accomplishment,
  • a child’s future security,
  • education,
  • independence,
  • health,
  • adventure,
  • addressing a critical world need,
  • freedom,
  • ANYTHING that is most important to you

2. Identify the element or “thing” on your list that you would most consider or re-consider when making a choice about the following:

  • Taking a job in a foreign country
  • Taking an expensive trip
  • Being an organ donor
  • Having a second piece of chocolate cake
  • Buying a second home
  • Buying a sports car
  • Moving to a larger or smaller home
  • Moving to (or out of) Hawaii
  • Taking a work sabbatical
  • Changing your family structure
  • Coming home late from work
  • Draining your savings for a new car
  • Having a (another) child
  • Going back to school
  • Changing your eating patterns and food choices
  • Having elective or cosmetic surgery

If you segmented your very important things into one for work, one for family, one for your free time, what if you have to choose what to do with a decision that affects all three?  Which one rises to the top?

Unique, Broad, Phased?

Your M.I.T. is very unique and personal. It can be broad. It can change as you go through different life phases. Yet, at each time in your life, your Most Important Thing at that time is ONE thing.

Learn what it is and your choices and decisions will be more satisfying. Managing change will become easier because your choices and decisions will be better focused.

Sharing a personal insight, my M.I.T. is “discovery.” I apply it very broadly to my choices on the allocation of my time, money and energy. When changes appear, that’s what I keep in mind as I look for available choices and make my decisions.

I had to dig deep for that knowledge. I didn’t identify it in a three minute exercise, or three hours of contemplation. It rose up after several weeks of conscious and subconscious thinking. I dug down to the roots, and I found gold.

What is the Most Important Thing in your life? It is something you most want to protect and preserve because it is fulfilling. It is the core of your being able to do what you love and what is essential for you.

Take your time in answering.

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