“Never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think, it is of prime importance,Β however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you are cutting corners and shirking responsibility. You are special. Never neglect the little things. ~ Og Mandino

The title was a toss-up: Oops! or Neglect. The former seemed, catchy. The latter, foreboding. Catchy won.

On a piece of paper I started writing things we often neglect. In a couple of minutes I wrote the following:

  • bad habits
  • everyday pleasures
  • our minds
  • continuous learning
  • exercise
  • mental illness
  • common courtesy
  • good nutrition
  • hugs
  • car maintenance
  • connections
  • strangers
  • transitions
  • compassion
  • dental care
  • friends
  • charity
  • the homeless
  • good advice
  • learning disabilities
  • marriage
  • strangers
  • spiritual life
  • child abuse
  • parents
  • humor
  • asking for help
  • our emotions
  • animal cruelty
  • exploration
  • the elderly
  • to smile

Reflecting on this cursory list I wondered, why do people often neglect these? The answers are innumerable and we each have our own reasons (excuses).

I extracted from this list three things that, for me, are very important and I do not neglect. Before sharing them, I’d like to encourage you to come up with your own list. Then, from what you write, consider three that you believe deserve more of your time, energy, and intentional focus. My three:

Sleep. Sleep plays a vital role in good health and well-being. Getting enough quality sleep can help protect your mental health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. During sleep, your body is working to support healthy brain function (and you thought is was just time for your subconscious to play). πŸ™‚ Damage from sleep deficiency can occur in an instant (such as a car crash), or it can contribute to chronic health problems and harm you over time. It also contributes to how well you think, learn, react, work, and get along with others.

Being in the present moment. If you’re living in the present, you’re living in acceptance. You’re accepting life as it is now, not as how you wish it would have been. You realize everything is complete as it is. You can have peace in your heart knowing that everything that should happen will.

Β  Β Be moreΒ Self-aware. Get to know yourself. A little introspection might yield some discomfort but it’s likely to be revealing and helpful. Consider more deeply understanding your emotions, feelings, and what triggers them so you can effectively work through them and manage your responses. Tune into what’s going on in your body (another area you might be neglecting?) and learn from it. Discover your beliefs, assumptions, and expectations, and (just maybe!) how they affect what and why you neglect.

71 thoughts on “Oops!

  1. That is a long list, Eric!! And I don’t agree with all the things listed by you. I am making my own list and I would definitely keep friends out of it. Others that I would eliminate are: dental care, continuous learning, transitions, marriage – these concern us directly, so how can we neglect these? Car maintenance also is never neglected because my sweet hubby has to take care of that!

    • Oh, the intention was not to have you agree with my list, Balroop. πŸ™‚ Mine was simply shared to get the reflective ball rolling. The challenge is for readers to come up with their own list and to then figure out what, if anything, the might act upon. Believe it or not, though, people do neglect one of more (or many) of those I randomly selected.

  2. Another great blog. I’m still trying to catch up on sleep from my trip to Africa. And I find it hard to catch up on sleep. I’ll be making my own list as well.

  3. As I read through this list, the one that jumped out at me was “asking for help”. First, I don’t want to burden others, even though I know most people I know would never think that. Second, I am very independent and do not like the idea of having to rely on others for anything, even if I know they don’t mind. Third, I think I worry about rejection and being vulnerable. I tend to be overly sensitive and would be hurt if I asked for help and was met with resistance. So, this is the one I need to work on. I have others, but for now, one is enough for me! πŸ™‚

    • If you’re clear on/with one, Patty, then by all means, tackle it. No need to heap more on a plate for the sake of simultaneously addressing two or three. Kudos for knowing and acknowledging something that you’ve been neglecting and choosing to focus on it. All the best with your efforts!

  4. Excellent list! Though I lack enough sleep, it is not through neglect – Matter of fact, I’m reading this at 12:30 in the morning because I can’t sleep…

    I’ve a feeling that, once I’ve created my own list, and truly figure out what I’ve been neglecting, sleep will come…

    • Exactly, Dale. Work through the exercise, create (or rekindle) some awareness around things neglected, begin to address one or more of them and voila! Sleep will come. I do believe you’ve highlighted a great approach and anticipated outcome!

  5. I think that your list is a terrific way to bring awareness not just to large issues, such as animal abuse and mental illness, but to personal issues and needs as well, such as remembering to laugh. Great post! Also, thank you for the follow!

    • And this was just my list… hastily compiled. Each of us, once the exercise if given a little thought, may well be surprised by what shows up on ‘your’ list. Perhaps some of what you’ve considered as a minor neglect might rise to the top. Thank you for your thoughtful comment and for adding to this virtual exchange.

  6. Eric loving your space and I like your three. I never neglect saying I love you or thanking my family for the daily things they do for me. I never neglect the chance to make someone feel special. Love this post.

    • Thanks, Kath, for your kind words and for sharing what you never neglect. I believe that is just as important as acknowledging what we do neglect. The value and significance is in what we are committed to remembering and choose to regularly act upon. Imagine the potential outcomes if we shifted a few more to that everyday list from the list of things we currently neglect. πŸ™‚ Thanks, much, for your warming words.

  7. I like the list, Eric. What stood out for me were friends: I have been neglecting them caught up in my own world and musings, because I am going through a very introverted period. I know, though, that true friends understand such needs.

    • I believe many of us will find “friends” on our ‘neglect list,’ Monika. And not be particularly proud of that. Yet to your comment, true friends do understand phases that we are going through. I sense that they be waiting for you with open and accepting arms when you shift from temporarily neglecting them to re-embracing them.

  8. That’s along list, Eric! I’m not sure my list would be quite that long, for the very reasons in your listed of things you focus on. I feel that If we take care of ourselves in the ways you specified, then we are not neglecting anything. We have the energy and the focus at the right time to be present to any of the items on the longer list. Being gentle with ourselves supports our ability to discern in any given situation, what is best. At least, this is true for me. πŸ™‚

    • The list that I spontaneously drew up, Carrie, was more of a proforma. Think of it as a conversation starter. I simply threw things at the wall and that’s what stuck. πŸ™‚ And yes, what is true for you may be a different view for another. I was just doing some intentional soul stirring with this exercise and post. Neglect is real for many people. Once they acknowledge it, some (many?) may be inclined to change what they realize. I believe it is gift to live in a heightened state of being such that we are not neglecting anything. Not everyone is there yet. πŸ™‚ Appreciate the sharing of your perspective and experiences.

      • indeed, Eric. Very well said. I have become more and more aware of our own self judgment and in the space of presence, seek to allow things to be as they are, right now, rather than judging myself for what I may not be doing about or with anything. And then there is being human. I am a list maker from way back. I suppose the difference between then and now is that I look at a list with many things still left to “do” and ask myself if or when they need to be done. Very thought provoking post. thank you!

    • Thanks for commenting, Rashmi. The list’s length is unimportant; it could have been shorter or longer. The purpose of the list was to get readers to think about things they neglect. Mine were simply possible areas of neglect. It is good to read that you do not neglect many things, but might there be one or two when you give this greater thought? πŸ™‚

  9. Sleep, I have a difficult time ‘ending’ my day. πŸ™‚ That’s good. Not getting enough sleep, not so good.

    I’m sure we can all add to this list, while recognizing and owning many of the neglects on it.

    • So I’m wondering, friend, is your as described sleep situation a neglect? I get that it’s difficult to end your day but are you intentionally deferring or deflecting needed sleep because other things are more important? If this were the case, would it not simply be a matter of choosing which was more important? So many interesting questions here. I’ll stop. πŸ™‚

      • πŸ™‚ Well, I try to choose what’s important. But sometimes my brain just won’t shut off. So trying to sleep is pointless. The older I get the less I want to sleep. On my days off I have a natural pattern of 7 hours of sleep. Perfect. Worknights I struggle to get that. I want to “do” so much. Sigh. I know, balance, right? πŸ™‚

  10. Thanks Eric. I neglect some of the things on your list but not all. I agree with the three you don’t neglect and strive to get enough sleep, stay in the moment and become more self aware. Nice reminder!

    • I don’t believe any of us neglect all that I listed, Geralyn. That’d be a pretty dismal person. Thanks for acknowledging the three that I shared. Any thought to going through the exercise yourself? ” πŸ™‚

  11. Great post Eric. It makes me think! I’m with you on your top 3. I sleep really well, have many daily mindfulness practices and am an avid inner explorer.
    What I didn’t realize is that others don’t sleep well.
    I also thought that “serving others” is something to add to the list. Perhaps we overlook it when we are wrapped up in ourselves due to lack of sleep and others things on the list!

    • “Serving others” definitely qualifies for a neglect list, Val. Thanks for pointing that one out. Given the encouraged exercise, it’s even more important that we determine what, if anything, we want to do about what we neglect. However, a first step is identifying those things we neglect when we are “…wrapped up in ourselves.” Good and appreciated observations!

  12. Some of those items made me smile – car maintenance πŸ™‚ I also think that if you take care of yourself first then you’re in a far better position to help and relate to your fellow human beings.

    • Agreed, Roy, even moderate dosings of extreme self-care keeps one’s tanks fueled, thus providing people with the capacity to “relate to” and share compasionate action with humankind. Thanks for adding to the ‘conversation.’

    • Humbled here, Kim, that you will encourage your family to give the exercise a whirl. Thank you! If you’re comfortable/willing to to share what emerged, I suspect other readers (myself included!) would appreciate reading some of your family’s insights. πŸ™‚

  13. Three good selections from your long list. I’m better on the sleep front than I’ve ever been, but number 2 and 3 still need much work and continued attention. It seems that the more I work on those, the more I realize that I’m not “there” yet.

    • I guess I’m unsure if getting “there” is really a necessary goal. Making progress, growing as beings, and becoming more aware of what we neglect and what we choose to do about it, if anything, might be just as valuable as getting there — recognizing that “there” is likely different for each of us. πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing a bit of your own personal experience, Tiny.

  14. As always a thought provoking post with beautiful presentation. I have been neglecting something very important to me as of late…..writing…..Oh, the excuses are a plenty. I have to suck it up though, and bang the key!

    • So what is preventing your from banging away, Ryan? We periodically see your writing on WP; is there a more substantive writing initiative looming? One of my fave sayings, “Excuses only serve the man who makes them.” πŸ™‚

      Thanks for your kind comment about the post.

  15. Sleep and present moment awareness go a long way toward making sure we focus on what matters most to us. When I am well-rested, I am happy, enthusiastic, upbeat, positive, and at peace. In the flow of life. I “remember” to meditate each day, eat right, and get daily exercise. I enjoy life, relax, and overflow with vitality and gratitude . . . and all that positivity spills out on those around me as I remain Awake and Aware.

    In contrast, when I’m overtired, and forget to stay in the NOW, I’m cranky and irritable and the toxic sludge of negativity keeps me from “going with the flow.” So things slip through the cracks until, exhausted from struggling against the current, I go back to Step One and get some sleep.

    • I like the “full loop” experience/explanation, Nancy. Yours is a clear visual of what we can be and how we can remain aware, so as to not get caught in places that yield undesirable redirections. Let’s face it though, “life” happens and we do neglect things that are important. The result can find us wondering how did we get here, but if our focus is clear, we’ll soon be able to find our way back. πŸ™‚

  16. Oo..hmm..good exercise to do.
    I know there are quite a few things I do not pay much attention to and I feel that an actual written down list would be of big help.
    Thank you for sharing! πŸ™‚

  17. Hi! I am new to this blog … I also write a blog.. I write a blog about my emotional healing … I love the different writings you have on here, I will have to take more time to look around …

    my name is Karen.. nice to meet you


  18. Hi Eric! It was time I made my way to your wonderful blog! What a great post. You got my juices flowing and brain cells jumping. πŸ™‚ I rarely neglect everyday pleasures. I find joy in many little things that can be easily missed by most. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. And food… πŸ™‚

    • Well, thank you! Your comment is kind and appreciated. All about food here, too!

      So… it’s good to be clear on what we know we don’t neglect. Might there be something in your life that could use a little more time/effort/attention? πŸ™‚

  19. I think people are generally just focus at what’s more present, the task at hand, or the things that makes more sense or more tangible at the moment. It doesn’t necessarily mean neglect. I completely agree that these little things can mean so much. It’s especially illuminating when these little things surprise you when least expected. Every little thing counts. But all I’m saying, you should allow yourself to ponder too much on every little thing.

  20. You raise a good point, Rommel. I often write about being in the moment and “flow,” and I am a avid advocate for both. Yet one could wonder what people are possibly neglecting when often, exclusively, in the moment? To your remarks, every little thing does count! What I was hoping to encourage was to simply be more aware of a couple of things that each of us considers important and worthy of our time/energy — that we might, inadvertently be neglecting. πŸ™‚

    I hear your good perspectives and always appreciate your adding to our virtual conversations.

    • Thank you. By your comment, Andre, you’ve already acknowledged the need and an opportunity! Here’s to your choosing to pick a couple of your ‘neglects’ and deciding what you’re going to do about them. πŸ™‚

  21. Great list… I had a friend once tell me that their start to the next day begins the night before with a conscious thought about “sleep” ~ and that has stuck with me, as a great night leads to a great morning and good momentum. Pity that I often ignore it until later into the night πŸ™‚

    This post matches so well with your previous posts, especially the last one about change… Going to bed early, avoiding sugar and focus not only on physical health but also taking care of small/annoying issues (chores) so mentally I am not overwhelmed when bigger issues arise. Cheers!

  22. Laughing here, with you. I have those nights, too. But I do like your friend’s share; the concept of it generating momentum makes good sense. Thanks for acknowledging the alignment between posts. Sometimes it’s intentional; other times it happens organically.

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