Stuff, Focus, & Temptation

(I want to give George Carlin credit for inspiration regarding this post)

I have a mens group (The Selah Fellowship..more on them later) that meets twice a month and we have been talking about “stuff” on an off for about 6 months.  It all started when I read the book, The Power of Less, by Leo Babauta.  Leo also has a great blog I read as well that talks about Zen philosophy and the practical application of those tenets in everyday life.  All the guys in the group are at least 40 and in the phase of our lives when we are beginning to reflect on our stuff.  There were questions like:

  • How did we get so much stuff?
  • What good is the stuff?
  • Why does the stuff always break?
  • Why do we have to take care of all the stuff?

I made the statement that, had I the chance to do it all over again, I would strive for less stuff.  The simple reason is that once you have stuff, the stuff owns you.  Not only financially but from a focus standpoint as well.  It becomes what you think about and starts occupying your thoughts in place of the more important things like faith & family (you will notice I did not say “work” but that is another post altogether).  I have a very close friend who is retired and now owns more stuff than he did when he was working.  He said if someone had told him 10 years ago he would have all this stuff after he retired, he would have told them they were crazy.  Just goes to show how stuff sneaks up on you.

That is where focus comes into our conversation.  This is the one thing we can actually control in our lives and the one thing that can determine our level of success and fulfillment (enter your definitions of these words here…do not just adopt someone else’s definition as your own).  This is an ongoing challenge for me and I have openly stated to the group that I believe this to the core of many of our ills.  We allow our focus to be hi-jacked!  CUE TEMPTATION…(see this all neatly fits together?)

We buy in to the dream and begin thinking that STUFF will make us happy.  Imagine that…more money, nicer clothes, prettier spouse (I hope my wife is not reading this and begins to think she can trade up), more impressive title, the list goes on and on.  The reality is none of those things matter and none of them brings fulfillment or any long-term enjoyment.  In fact, all of those things just get in the way of the only thing that will bring joy and fulfillment to your life and that is…

One thing you will find with me is that I am not at all the prescriptive type.  I do not have the answers but do have many, many questions.  I can tell you what follows those three little dots for me but it will definitely not be the same for you.  That said, I would love to hear from you and find out what follows those three little dots in your little piece of the universe.

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1 Comment

Filed under The Human Condition

One response to “Stuff, Focus, & Temptation

  1. Heather

    Thank you for your perspective. I have recently come to realize that I am stuck in that same rut of thinking. While buying and having “stuff” temporarily gives me that feeling that I am happy and “successful” enough to buy/own it, I rarely reflect on it…and certainly never worship it. That said, my three little dots are the Father, the Son, & the Holy Spirit. My cup runneth over…and not with “stuff.” Thank you for the reminder!

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