Do you find that you spend your time worrying about unimportant things, while ignoring big ones?
If so, you’re not alone. Focusing on trivial things is such a part of the human condition, there are even adages warning against it.
For example, take the phrase, “Penny wise, pound foolish.” Saving money on little things is meaningless if you waste money on big-ticket items.
Also, consider the saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” If we can only focus on the important things in life, it will save us time and even health in the end.
And yet, we often obsess over tiny details. Why would a person may behave this way?
For one, you may not know how to attack a big problem, but you can solve a small one. Thus, you turn your attention to what you know how to do. I can’t fix climate change, so I’m going to obsess on cleaning my house.
Alternately, you may not even realize there is a bigger issue. For example, you may be promoting one political opponent over another, without realizing that money in politics is a corrupting influence on both parties.
Sometimes, a smaller concern is simply more appealing. Ultimately, watching a TV show may not be important, but it’s more fun than doing your taxes.
Whatever the reason, every one of does this to some extent.
To combat this, we need to accurately determine the relative importance of things. In addition, we need to have the determination to tackle the big problems or issues as they come up.
Are there specific minor things that you find yourself obsessing over, at the expense of more significant issues? What unimportant things do you focus on too much?
Related questions: What is important? Is our attention fractured? What deserves your attention?