The Main Thing
In one of my recent posts, I mentioned the unfortunate and untimely passing of a contemporary leadership champion, Stephen A. Covey. While the length of this post could be nothing but a list of his quotable quotes, one stands out: The main thing about the Main Thing is the Main Thing. So, permit me a little license with this quote since, based on 61 years of observations when I say: The main thing about the Main Thing is elbow juice.
What puts this into perspective right now are the Olympics. For four years, over 2000 athletes put their blood, sweat, and tears into preparation for one thing: to land a spot on the podium. That podium was their “main thing.” Yet, to have something as the main thing means having to say “no” to a bunch of minor things. I suspect for Gabby Douglas, the American gymnast phenom, it meant saying no to watching 90 minutes of American Idol because her coach wanted her on the balance beam. Or, for Claressa Shields, the young woman from Flint who became the first female boxer from the U.S. to win a gold medal, it meant staying in “fightin’ shape” by saying no to Dairy Queen with a bunch of her high school friends.
The same could be said for how we spend hour-upon-hour texting, playing video games, or chatting with 10,000 friends on Facebook. I’m not suggesting that you claim total abstinence from these activities. I’m just wondering at what price do we automatically do these things. And is that price the “main thing?”
What are you willing to say “no” to?
It just seems that we Americans are occupying time and space by not engaging the main things. Such engagement begins with the questions–questions such as:
- What are the things in my life(your family, your health, your career) that matter most?
- How satisfied are you with the amount of thinking you’ve devoted to these things?
- By saying “yes” to the important things, what are you willing to say “no” to?
And then this one: what are you willing to do today to tackle your “main things?”
Michelangelo said this: The greatest danger for most of us is not that we aim too high and we miss the mark, but that we aim too low and we reach it. It’s definitely time to “go for the gold.” Enough majoring on the minors. Make your thing the main thing.