I’m convinced that success and happiness are based primarily on one behavior: Doing what matters and not what doesn’t.

What matters? That’s entirely up to you. Identify it, focus on it and don’t stray too much. It’s not a one-time thing, mind you. What matters to us changes over time.

What doesn’t matter? Distraction. Instant gratification. Magical thinking. Following fools. Cultural norms. Self indulgence. Self obsession. It’s a long, long list.

Funny thing is, business strategy is exactly the same. Companies have to figure out what they’re best at, focus on doing just that, and say no to the rest. That’s a pretty big deal in the corporate world. It’s the reason for Apple’s breakout success and Yahoo’s abject failure (per today’s Fox Business ValleyBeat column).

Granted, you have to take chances, experiment, and try new things to figure out what matters. But once you do, that’s what you do.

In business as in life, if you spend it scattered or fooling yourself into believing that what doesn’t matter does, you’ll likely end up broke and miserable.

Take some time and think about it. What matters to you? That’s how you should spend your life. If not, maybe it’s time for a change.

Image credit: Duck Dynasty

  • It’s amazing how the answer is simple yet so many try to complicate it.

  • Davo M

    As usual, spot on. Thanks Steve

  • Leona Corazona

    this is brilliant but all too often I think we humans will be quick to take on ‘what matters’ to our mothers or fathers or neighbours before we stop, take a deep breath, and look within to answer this question and it’s primarily the reason why so many people are so frustrated in the workplace. hopefully folks realise it sooner rather than later for their own emotional health and well being – thanks Steve for this insightful article.

    • Steve Tobak

      Yes, inertia is a powerful force: it’s so easy just to keep doing what we’ve been doing. Thanks Leona!