Things That Matter Most for a Great Life

If you want to have a great life, you must heed the wisdom of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”

To ensure what matters most is not left behind, clearly define what your most important priorities are. Zig Ziglar famously presented his top priorities in his wheel of life. Countless other important leaders have followed in his steps.

My priorities are the big picture of my life. They are the high-level categories that give my life purpose. I work to ensure everything I do fits into at least one of these categories.

My seven priorities are:

  1. Health. Good health is the most important priority I tend to put off. I will always eat healthier after today. I will always start exercising tomorrow. I will always rest as soon I get this project done. Without intentional focus on maintaining and improving my health, it easily gets left behind.
  2. Education. A very close second to good health is an active mind. I have become a voracious reader and am always learning something. My problem is not continuing to learn, but rather focusing my thirst for knowledge in meaningful pursuits.
  3. Work. For many, work is just something we have to do. I believe work is an opportunity to provide value to someone else’s life. As I improve my skills and learn new ones, I can better serve the needs and wants of others, and be better rewarded for it. And my sights are always on work that I love to do.
  4. Finances. For most of my adult life, I lived paycheck-to-paycheck and was loaded with debt. Now that I’m finally debt free with a good nest egg set aside, it’s hard to imagine how I put up with the stress of my former life for so long. These days, my focus is purely on building wealth.
  5. Olga. If there is one link that ties everything together, it is my wife Olga. As my best friend, lover, and partner in this great journey of life, she holds a status all on its own in my list. It’s easy to think, “We’ll have more time together once…” but as I peer into the future, not making more time now would be my biggest regret.
  6. Kids. When I have kids someday, they will hold this spot on my list. Until then, I continue to work on becoming a person deserving of being someone’s example.
  7. Family and friends. You will become the average of the people you surround yourself with, so we are lucky to be averaging up. We have family and friends we respect, admire, and appreciate. I am very focused on working my way out of a day job, so I have to be very intentional about spending time with the people I care about.

Near the end of each year I spend several focused hours thinking about my priorities. I review what I’ve accomplished (or failed to accomplish) in each category, and set vision for the year to come.

What is the one priority you want to focus more on?

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