My Friend’s Personal Motto: First Things First

A friend of mine has a personal motto which she often drops in conversation: “First things first.” I never knew exactly what she meant by that, and finally I asked her.

“‘First things first,’” she explained, “means a lot of things. It reminds me to keep my priorities straight: it’s more important to go to my daughter’s school play than to go to an acquaintance’s book party. It reminds me to make necessary preparations: have breakfast before a job interview. And it reminds me to make time for the things that aren’t urgent, and can get shoved out of the way, but which over time, are very important: make time to exercise. First things first.”Breakfast

Ever since she explained it, I’ve found that phrase running through my head. It’s a good motto; it binds up a lot of different but related ideas in one memorable phrase. I’ve never had a personal motto before, but we do have a family motto. Our family motto? “No whining.”

Do you have a personal motto or a family motto? The exercise of articulating a motto reminds me of writing my Personal Commandments. A very interesting and worthwhile thing to do.

The days are long, but the years are short.

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