“Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.”

“Clarity about what matters provides clarity about what does not.”

Cal Newport, Professor at Georgetown University

Image from Unsplash by Claire Mueller

Someone once said that life is like a toilet paper roll — the more sheets you use the faster it spins.

Let’s say you begin life with 1,000 sheets. That’s 12 sheets per year, one for each month. How many of your sheets are left given your current age?

When you take a look back over your life, how much of it is a blur — or worse yet — was wasted on people and things that did not really matter?

With this hindsight, what intentional adjustments do you intend to make moving forward?


Create two list for yourself:

  1. What truly matters
  2. What doesn’t

With this clarity, sort your items into the categories of More, Less, Start, and Stop, to guide your future efforts.

Consider sharing your intentions with a family member, friend, colleague, or coach to support you now and in the future.

“The drop hollows out the stone, not by force but by falling often.”

“The drop hollows out the stone, not by force but by falling often.”

Ovid, ancient Roman Poet

Image from Unsplash by Gert Boers

What’s working and going well in your life?

What aspects of your world are not going as you wish?

Where can and do you look for the answers?

Too often, we point to things outside our control for why we feel stalled or stopped. When we do, how often do we appreciate the three fingers in our palms pointing back in our direction?

When we force things in our lives with heroic efforts and they don’t get the job done, we often give up.

It’s us stopping that stops us.

When we explore the aspects of our lives that are working, they work because we do.

It’s our drop by drop, moment by moment, day by day efforts that help us carve out a life of significance and success.


What areas of your life would benefit most from your drop-by-drop persistence?

Share your intentions with a coach, colleague, family member, or friend to help you keep your efforts going when things stop flowing.

“A firm commitment to do something today will always best an exuberant promise to act tomorrow.”

“A firm commitment to do something today will always best an exuberant promise to act tomorrow.”

Stephen St. Amant, author of Savenwood Blog

Image from Amazon

Most of us enter our days with good intentions. We have much to do and we set out to be highly productive, serve others, and leave things better than how we found them.

Benjamin Zender, who co-authored The Art of Possibility, uses an exercise with his musical prodigies when they work with him.

Since virtually everyone he works with has first chair talent, he asks them to write an essay titled How I Got My “A”.   Through this exercise, students focused on their own efforts and the actions they took, rather than their hopeful efforts and intent. The element of comparing their own efforts against themselves versus others also let them set their own bar of excellence.


What promises do you make to yourself and others that sometimes fall by the wayside?

What commitments will you keep today to deserve the “A” you desire?

Consider reading The Art of Possibility to discover more nuggets of wisdom to achieve and be your very best!

intentions have a shelf life

“Intentions have a shelf life.”

Image from Unsplash by Maria Lin Kim

When was the last time you went shopping for groceries?

What are the factors that have you select a particular item and place it in your cart?

How often do you examine the expiration dates and perhaps look to the back of each shelf to select the items with the best dates to limit spoilage and waste?

Our intentions are not like Twinkies!  They don’t have an indefinite shelf life in which they stay forever soft and fresh.

Just examine the practice of making New Year’s resolutions and see how many fall by the wayside in weeks or a few months.


What are your most important intentions?

How can and will you act on them with urgency in the coming days so that they have the greatest chance of being realized?

 We aim to be generous, kind and compassionate

We aim to be generous, kind and compassionate. Being human means that sometimes our intentions often miss the mark.

—Calm App Reflection

Image from Unsplash by Norbert Braun

For the past several years, many people — including me — have been looking inward at our lives. Being knocked off balance by a variety of factors has made us more mindful and aware of our place in the world, and has caused us to pursue greater meaning and purpose.

It has been quite gratifying to see countless acts of compassion, generosity, and kindness in my communities and throughout the world. I’ve done better, but not always my best, at exercising these attributes.

In such cases, forgiveness and the resolve to keep trying are noteworthy ways to express our best human intentions.


Where have your generous, kind, and compassionate efforts missed the mark?

Where would forgiveness and giving things another go help you fulfill more of your best intentions?