The Importance of the Basics

‘It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out; it’s the pebble in your shoe’ – Muhammed Ali

I always wanted to be successful, to have a life, and not be overrun by fear and anxiety. I worked hard to learn through books on psychology and psychology what my problems were and how to address them. But my big mistake was to postpone my life until I had fixed myself.

Somethings in life just get pushed aside. In our drive to be better, live better our priority is going to be the work. But in our drive to climb upwards things get forgotten. We all know it. Yet what we let slide turns out to be the basis for success and happiness.

Health is one thing we forget too often. But also personal relationships. Even joy and fun often get sacrificed on the altar of success because we feel having fun means we’re not working hard enough.

Health is obviously important. Without health, we can’t do the work that means something to us or enjoy the time with people who matter to us if we’re suffering and unwell. It’s the foundation for everything else.

Relationships are another example. Workaholics will forget their friends and family, so connections wither and die. But without them, success can be hard. Our connections can provide us with opportunities we wouldn’t otherwise get. (It’s not what you know, it’s who you know).

Relationships are also meaningful pursuits themselves; they also help us relax and cope with the stresses we face.

The basics of health, connections are just part of a balanced lifestyle, and that leads to a sustainable life.

Here are some of the things you must never forget in your life.

  • Health. Exercise and diet. We all know we need to do it. Remember these can be enjoyable practices themselves.
  • Relationships. Our happiness is based upon the connection we have with others. Depression is often because we feel lonely, or a lack of meaning and connections.
  • Downtime. Those times when we put aside work, and take time to relax. Do things for the fun of it. Vacations, hobbies. Time away from the hard work to enjoy doing something.
  • Sleep. Need I say any more? Without enough sleep life is unsustainable. Poor concentration, stress, and ill-health are soon to follow. Worse still it affects other areas like relationships. Never compromise on sleep for too long.
  • Tidy, clean home. Clutter is stress. Because each pile of stuff lying around is a burden on you your already full todo list. It’s a task that lurks in the back of your mind.
  • Finances. Not managing your finances can mean losing money, spending far above your means, and the threat of repossession. Money problems are a source of a lot of stress.

Think of all of the above as a form of self-care. Maintenance work on your life just as maintenance on your car. People who ‘let themselves go’ are those who neglect one or more of the above. They neglect themselves.

The things that take us down are usually the things we’ve neglected. Without them life becomes a grind, a gritty struggle. With it, the machine moves a little more smoothly despite the occasional problems.

It’s a lot harder to deal with life’s upsets when we are burdened by ill health, isolated, or come back to a messy home.

When you are healthy, have a circle of friends, and a tidy house you feel supported, stronger, more capable. So when a challenge does arrive you’re better able to adjust and recover that equilibrium after being knocked out of balance.

Before you can do the great things, you need to take care of the little things.

By keeping up with the basics you can feel in more control of life.
Feeling in control can help us feel brave enough to face the stuff we can’t control. Tackling the basics is what lets us face all the others things with a braver heart, a calmer mind, and the persistence to keep going.

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