Not More, But Better

Sometime around the wrap-up/start of the 2016/17 calendar, I was in what I could not know at the time were the final agonizing stages of discarding several other people’s lives and unearthing mine. This was not the effort of a single, sunny afternoon. It has, to date, been going on for over a decade. While not concluded (one wonders if that happens prior to recycling one’s last, gently-used breath), great progress has been made.

A box of nice objects went to some worthy recipients’ representatives just yesterday.

In the struggle to progress forward with my own present life while simultaneously living partially in the past of others, I have found myself needing a rule for making decisions about objects, activities, and even individuals. What I sought was to feel secure in avoiding the errors that produced the heartbreaking mess it had fallen my lot to sort out in my own physical and emotional world. I also wanted to be dead certain not to leave that same work for others when my time ends. Eventually, I came up with this:

Not more, but better.

This little phrase has been the measuring stick for everything I consider. It lets me decide with assurance what gets to come through the door and what gets shown the curb. It is my first principle in all such processes. It guides my days more than I could have imagined it would. It gives me comfort in a confusing world.

I could have offered this observation at any time, and I doubtless will refer back to it as applications that might be useful to a reader come to mind, but it seems timely to mention it now as we change years.

You are going to need to make many decisions, moment to moment, large and small, as the coming days unfold. Let me strongly recommend that you find your own guiding phrase against which you can measure the decisions you must make. It needs to be both deeply personal and broadly applicative. When your heart bell sounds and tells you that you’ve found the right words, hold them up like a ruler every time you perceive yourself to be deciding.

Pantone says “Ultraviolet 18-3838.” What principle will color your coming year?