Growing up I always heard the phrase, “You must have the right tools for the job.” It was good advice. If you have ever tried to put something together without the right tools you know what I am talking about. Plain and simple, having the right tools makes the job easier to do, takes less time, and certainly improves the quality of the work.
The other day I took a good look in my toolbox and realized it was full of a lot of tools that I really don’t use that often. In fact, having those tools, that I seldom use, in the toolbox often slows me down from finding the right tool. Time after time, job after job, I dig through the tools looking for the right one.
I took a look around my garage. It was amazing to see all of my tools and equipment from this new perspective. I really have a lot of tools that I only use once in awhile, and a few, sadly, that I have never used. I paid a lot of money for some of those tools. When I purchased them it seemed I couldn’t live without them.
Is the same true in my life? Have I cluttered the useful with the less important? Have I filled my day with activities that occupy my time, and put-off the really important activities for another day? Do I hurry to check my email, but seldom pick up a book? Too often, I fear this is true.
There is a commercial for a Capital One Credit Card with the phrase, “What’s in your wallet?” Well, I’m not one to encourage the use of credit cards, perhaps that will be a later chapter, but I do love that phrase, “What’s in your wallet?”. It is a metaphor for our life. We need to stop and ask, “What’s in our life? Our year? Our Month? Our day? And, our hour? What will we fill it with?
Beware of the messages from our culture. The ‘message of the day’ is to fill our lives with as many activities and gadgets as we can. Multi-task. Faster-is-better. Results without effort. You have to have this particular thing right now, so go rush off and buy it.
Too often I watch near-collisions as drivers navigate the highways with a cell phone pinched between their neck and shoulder, one hand on the radio, and a Wendy’s Hamburger in the other. The dashboard has a Garmin GPS Naviagtion System attached to it along with a radar detector. Two children fend for themselves in the back seat while being babysat by a DVD player. Two tons of steel moving at seventy miles an hour with three precious lives on board.
We must simplify our lives.
Cell phones are wonderful. Text messaging is really cool. Email and my iPod are two of my favorite things. But they are just things. The technology of our world is amazing and growing at an alarming rate. Each of these techno-wonders must be used as tools, not distractions, but I am afraid that is exactly what is happening. Either we learn to master the tools we use, or we become enslaved to them.
We must stop and take an inventory of our lives. A wise man once told me, “Things were meant to be used, and people were meant to be loved. Too often we get it mixed up. We tend to love our things, and use people.”
How many times a day do we need to check our email? Does that text need to be sent while driving? Do I really need a new phone. Is what I’m doing right now the best use of my time? Do I really need more? Do I need to upgrade? How many hours of television or in front of the computer are enough? Could someone else benefit from my time? Is there someone I should call?
We have all we need.
What an awkward statement in this day and age. We are constantly being bombarded with the message of more, faster, smaller, upgrade, buy this, buy that, more, more, more! But it’s true, we have all we really need, and most of us had better start taking better care of what we have been given. You can have all the gadgets in the world, but if you are sick what good are they? You can have the latest and the greatest, but if you have no one to share them with, what is it worth?
Ask yourself this question:
“To live a good life, what do I really need?”
Live with that attitude of gratitude.
(Kelly Croy is an inspirational speaker, author, and performing artist. Visit Kelly’s website to invite him to perform at your next event.)