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December 23, 2009
The Important Versus the Urgent


Some of the best things about the Christmas season are the traditions that are carried over from year to year and even generation to generation.  One of the  traditions that we celebrate at our house during the season is watching classic Christmas TV shows such as A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph. 

My all-time favorite activity, though, is watching Jimmy Stewart in "It’s a Wonderful Life".  Even after watching it some 25-30 times, I still try to fight back tears at the end... 

After contemplating suicide to solve his money problems, George Bailey, (through the help of his guardian angel), comes to realize that his life is truly important; if for no other reason other than the positive effect he has had on other people’s lives.

In the movie, George had big dreams, hopes and aspirations but more importantly he had core values consisting of family, home, sharing, community, helping others, hard work and integrity.  He always seemed to put other’s needs before his own...even spurning the opportunity to "cash-out", making himself rich while foresaking others...

I often think to myself on my drive home each day... what did I actually accomplish during my day?...Did I set a good example by doing the right things?...Did I help someone solve a problem?... Did I help to educate others?  Did I, myself, learn something today?  Did I do something important...or did I just do the urgent?

Doing the important versus the urgent is a hard thing to do...it takes discipline...it takes vision and long-term thinking...it takes prioritization...

...but when the phones are ringing...when there are e-mails to read...when there are dinner plans to make...or shopping to be done...or post office lines to wait in..."the urgent" somehow has become "the important"...

It doesn’t have to be that way...we are all in control of our own lives...we have the ability to turn off the phones, the computer and/or the TV...we have the power to consider what is important and what is "noise"...we decide what is important and what is urgent...

Myself...I value the people in my life...my family, friends colleagues...more than anything else...

I don’t need a guardian angel to help me to understand that I’ve made a positive impact in this world...in the same way that so many others have contributed to my own life...

I know that I am living a wonderful life and I am truly happy, appreciative and blessed that you and others are a part of it...you are very important...thank you...

Merry Christmas to you and yours...

Jim Kalb

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