Overlooking the Unimportant

December 18, 2018 pwm1

“The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” 

—William James (by Notman Studios, 1902; Public Domain)

…More than at any other point in history, we are bombarded with a constant stream of stimuli which fight to gain our attention. The never-ending stream of news when we turn on our television or log into our computer. The pop-ups that insult our intelligence every time we visit a website (“YES! I want to learn how to make money by….” “No thanks, I already have all of the money I need”).

Enough! 99% of the debris being thrown at us each day won’t help us move forward toward our desired destination by one millimeter. In fact, it does the opposite—it distracts us and takes our attention away from what will move us forward! It is time to tune the garbage out.

It takes vigilance, but begin by simply being consciously aware of when something has stolen our attention. From the 42 new emails in our inbox, to the news story designed to inflame us, to the perceived slight lobbed at us by the person on the phone, let’s begin practicing the art of overlooking the unimportant.

By remaining focused on the horizon and keeping our feet on the path, we train our mind to be in tune with what will help us move forward, and we begin to simply overlook the rest.

—MSH, Penn Wealth

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