Do First That Which Matters With Those Who Matter

If we are doing innovative, creative, and useful work with and for people who truly matter, there should be very little time left for debating.

There are a limited number of hours in a day and, within those hours, we have a limited quantity of energy, focus, and attention. If we constantly give away our time and our mental resources to people and activities that give us little to no true value in return, not only do we gain nothing, but we actually lose our only non-renewable assets. We can never have that time back and we can never have back that which we could have done with that time instead.

For every piece of ourselves that we give away during the day on that which is trivial and meaningless in the grand scheme of things, there is that much less of us left for work that matters and for people who matter. The answer is not to become a hermit and to ignore what is going on around us. We simply need to learn to prioritize in such a way that people who matter and the work that matters come first.

Prioritizing our time and attention should begin with our most important work and with the most important people in our lives. They should not get our leftovers. They should not get the scraps of us, after the world has picked us clean of our worth. If we focus on doing good work for and with good people, we will find that there is very little left for distraction. By being selfish with our time and our mental resources, we allow room in our lives to be truly generous.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

-Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body, Severna Park’s Holistic Chamber of Commerce, and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

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