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As we move into a new year, I like this simple, little reminder from Robert Service:

“Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out—it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.”

It’s true: there will always be little things that try to erode our joy and energy.

Someone has said that long-term relationships usually don’t fail because of a big blowup. It’s more because of the little things, day by day. The death by a thousand cuts.

And job satisfaction? More often, that gets eroded through the little annoying things, the petty office politics, the daily stresses.

That’s life, right? A lot of little stuff is going to happen this year.

But here’s the good news: we can fight back! We can say:

“Yes, I will have to deal with a lot of little things. But I am not going to let the little things keep me from getting to the ‘big worthwhile things’ in my life!”

Which raises a question: what are the big worthwhile things in my life?

What are the things that will enhance my relationships, enhance my personal growth as a human being, and enhance the quality of my daily experience?

What are things that will matter most on my last day? (Because you can count on it: those are the things that matter most today.)

Maybe, once in a while, we should take some quiet time to empty the sand out of our shoes…and think about that question.