What’s really important?


As I look around me, I see the complexity and quantity of things that fill my world. I am amazed by the cost in many ways of this complexity of accumulation. I know that each time I acquired something new, I had a thought or emotional impulse that said, “I need that”. Yet, with each acquisition, I am both assuming some responsibility for maintaining in some way what was bought (Just think we have a whole industry for storing purchases that we can’t use). It must be dusted, moved, cleaned, operated….

The ongoing costs never entered my mind when I was at the moment of purchasing. The only thing I was clear about was “I need this”. What fueled this need. A lot of factors.. I wanted to be like someone else. I wanted to make things easier. I wanted to improve my circumstances..I wanted to feel good… Whatever the wanting (and I am not judging the wanting here), I never asked myself what will the ongoing requirement me to keep this new purchase going. If it is something that requires power, the power it will consume. If it is something that can break, the resources or knowledge to fix it when i breaks. If it is something I wear the costs to clean it. And so on…

This complexity of my world has run unbated for my whole life. Underlying the desires that have fueled this accumulation and complexity is a whole system that influences me to buy more. For the nature of business has almost completely centered on growth as the only objective. For if I am profitably growing, I am succeeding. If I am in the food industry, I want folks to eat more. If I am in the clothing industry, I want people to buy more clothes. The list continues even into our educational systems. We honor the school systems that are growing in student enrollment and improvement of test scores…

Yet we haven’t really examined the underlying belief that growth is the right objective for our existence. Rather than overlay onto you my beliefs, I will simply ask you a question. As you look now at the balance of your life, what do you choose to be guiding principle (belief) for the decisions you make about the accumulation and disposal of stuff in your world?

The answer will tell you more than I can.

Until later,


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Author: Thomas White

Over the past thirty-five years, Thomas White has created and led private and public organizations that initiated breakthroughs in areas as diverse as computer software, publishing, printing, market research, leadership development and organizational change. The common ingredients in his success are simple. He looked beyond the limitations that others believed and found real solutions to needs that business leaders have. He attracted the best talent to translate these innovative solutions into practical products and services that were of high value to customers. He created cultures where people love what they do, work at their best and produce extraordinary results. In addition to his role as a business leader, Thomas has been a pioneer and inventor of technologies in the computer-networking field. He is a patent holder for innovations in business process and workflow technology. As part of his passion for educating others about the interface of human and computer systems, he was the co-author of “New Tools for New Times, The Workflow Paradigm”. He has also written articles for numerous publications. In 2001, he turned his attention from leading companies to supporting leadership teams in creating organizations of excellence. After many years of being a part of the machine of change, Thomas recognized that business is the most powerful force in the world. It has a major impact on public policy and governments everywhere. It is a key influence on how we use our resources and sets an example of the values that shape communities from local to global. He formed the consulting firm of Profoundly Simple to be a guide for exemplary leaders - leaders who wisely uses the power they are entrusted with to serve their constituencies first and themselves second; leaders who know that it is good business to treat people with respect, honor the environment and act with impeccable integrity – leaders who inspire greatness in those around them and by doing so create great organizations that are notable examples of success. Feeling the itch to get back into the game again, Thomas joined with two long time friends, to start the C-Suite Network. This network of business leaders offers an online network, events, services, and insights to its 500,000 member community. In addition, the C-Suite Network produces and distributes television and radio content to an audience of over 5M per month

2 thoughts on “What’s really important?”

  1. Thomas,
    You raise some really important questions.
    I just came across another blog post that complements yours – have a look at: http://injenuity.com/archives/405

    I’ve certainly been thinking more about the “stuff” in my house – and why/if I really need it all. The issue of sustainability hadn’t entered into my thoughts yet, until your post.

    One thing I have done,though, is very consciously defined “growth” for my business in terms of time, instead of money. The last four years have been all about maintaining my income, but creating more time (so working less for more money, so that I can have more free time). Probably not that easy for everyone, but I’ve had the luxury of picking/choosing jobs and clients in my role as a consultant.

    And that gives me the time to be with my family more and to pursue volunteer activities that matter to me.

    Take care,

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