An oft quoted saying, “May you live in interesting times”, is attributed to a Chinese proverb but is likely a miss-quote and was originally purported to be a traditional Chinese curse. “Interesting times” ironically suggested disorder and conflict. With that in mind, I guess we might be living in “interesting times”.
As I pondered on this proverb I wondered, what is one to make of these “interesting times”? Along with an everchanging landscape, most of us find ourselves juggling an increasing number of responsibilities requiring time and effort already in short supply. I find myself wondering exactly how I’m ever going to get things accomplished and maintain some semblance of sanity.
With that I’ve decided it’s long past time to restore order and take control of those limited resources -time and effort. First task in restoring order and eliminating conflict is to declutter, reorganize, prioritize, and focus on the more important things. We all prioritize things either intentionally and unintentionally, hoping to create a balance between work and family.
Balance isn’t as easy as it once was, but we can do things that bring order and a measure of tranquility and balance to our lives. As I began this process I realized I had allowed things and people into the “circle of trust” who perhaps would be more enjoyable from a distance. The things we accumulate can become an anchor but so can bad habits, distractions and other things that we may actually think make our life simpler or more enjoyable but often do neither.
Recently I took an inventory of the many news sources, magazines, cable subscriptions, on line monitoring and other services I’ve been paying for to see exactly how much I really used or benefited from. Perhaps not surprising the answer was very little for most of them. So I’ve reduced not just my expenses, but more importantly, I’ve freed up time to spend more productively. As we begin this new year it’s a good time to go through the literal and figurative closets. Removing clutter and freeing up space, time and money will allow us to bring more order and peace to our lives. By prioritizing and focusing on the important things we show appreciation and gratitude towards the important people in our life.
Working with many families and businesses over the years I have seen that those who have clear priorities, both professionally and personally, seem to enjoy life more, regardless of financial accomplishments. Life is about priorities and about the people you help and those who help you. Let’s make this year about those people and may we all live in “uninteresting times”!
Read the Quarterly Economic News report from Mack Financial Group, Inc. and M Holdings Securities, Inc.
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Through the Actuarial Industry Partnership Program (IPP) at the University of Michigan, sponsored by the Society of Actuaries, M Financial Group collaborated with interns on two projects.