Marc Lesser gave a talk "Accomplishing more by doing less" at Google. While the talk is a bit too long for my favor there was a very interesting exercise he got his audience to do: He asked each to talk 3 minutes with his neighbor about one thing that one is doing being somehow an "extra" - something, that if not done, would make a big difference.
So I was asking myself: Why am I doing that - if I would stop it - would make a big difference?
My answer is: I was searching for some big project I am working on, some life plan but I cannot really find such a big thing that would really make a big difference. If not me, then somebody else will manage projects or write software - this is not MY extra. Even writing a life hacking blog is not my extra. ;-)
I am working to get my family and me fed, that is the most important of my doing. I think my extra is that I am there for my family because they love me. - If I am away I am earning money to contribute on their economic situation and when I am with them they are happy being together with me. I am a valuable person for my family. If I would escape or pass away it would make a big difference for them.
It is no matter what work I do, if I develop software, clean the toilets (indeed I do that also as we do not have a cleaning lady at home ;-) ) or if I would manage a company. Maybe I could find a big project it is worth putting a lot of effort into. But reality shows that there are only very few people like Gandhi or Einstein. Although there are websites listing a lot of important people, the biggest part of human beings are sitting at some cash desk, doing some office work or being another type of "simple" worker. It does not mean that these people cannot be outstanding performer in their workspace or in their branch. Lately I read about the most dangerous jobs and the most dangerous job listed at careerbuilder is being a fisherman! And how much fish are we eating without being aware of that! Thanks to all those doing dangerous jobs for our comfort! They are not considered as being so important because they seem to be easily replaceable by others but in the sum they are important. But while doing things that are or can be done by many others also - how can you be outstanding anyway?
So the second big lesson from asking me that question is: It is less important WHAT I do, it is more important - and makes more difference HOW I do it!
When I come home and do something together with my family it is much more important that I am present, listen to them and handle them with care. The awareness of being together affectionately is far more important than the particular thing we are doing.
And again (earlier posted in "To be important") I remember a part of a song text: It's nice to be important - it's more important to be nice!
Maybe we work on some very important project - maybe we will in the future and maybe not. Good, if we can look back and say that HOW we did our job, HOW we treated our family and friends, was good.
Related posts: To be important, Who cares?, The most important things to know, Humor heals, Respect by attention, About religions, Imagine the missing, Finding the proper priorities, Between short and long term goals, Ethic economy, Prudential innovation, Cost of substitution.