In today’s post to his blog, Jack’s Winning Words, Pastor Freed shared this bit of advice – “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t worry; don’t hurry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” (Walter Hagen) [ED. – Walter Hagen was the Jack Nicolas or Tiger Woods of golf in the early part of the Twentieth Century.]
It is really a shame that so many do not realize and heed the advice that Hagen was giving in that quote until they are in their senior years (me included). When we are younger we tend to get all wrapped up in our ideas that a “successful” life entails being focused upon success in our jobs and earning more and more money, so that we can buy more and more things. Eventually we realize that things are not really that important and that our relationships are what really matters. Unfortunately, many men tend to realize that after it is too late to enjoy some of life’s best moments – moments and memories of our children growing up that we miss because, “daddy had to work and couldn’t be here”.
It is hard to smell the flowers along the way when your attention is totally focused upon getting that next deal or promotion. The phrase “it’s lonely at the top” was probably coined as much for the belated realization of all that was sacrificed on the way there as anything. It’s lonely because they ignored those important relationships and let time with spouses, children and friends slip away.
It is critically important to constantly evaluate why you are working, more so than to focus upon how hard you are working. You may think that you are working to give your family more and more things, when all they really want is more and more of your time and attention. There may be little that you can do to reduce the amount of time that you must focus upon your job; however, you can prioritize how you spend your time away from the job and that should be focused upon your family and friends.
So, take Hagen’s advice – slow down and stop to smell the flowers along the way. Accumulate good memories of time spent with family and friends with the same fervor as you try to accumulate money and possessions. “I’ll get to that tomorrow” is not a valid strategy. Tomorrow may never come and how sad it would be that you missed today, too.
Don’t wait. Do it now.