02/03/2015 06:09 pm ET Updated Apr 05, 2015

What Do You Stand For?

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"If you don't stand for something you'll fall for everything" -- Chuck D (Public Enemy), "Harder Than You Think"

What do you stand for?

It is, on the surface, a simple question. However it's one that often gets crowded out in life by other noise. Crowded out by other distractions.

We get distracted by shiny. We get distracted by the pursuit of more. We get distracted by what others think.

Our own thoughts get drowned out by conventional wisdom and the herd mentality. Following is so much easier after all.

We question ourselves but ironically we forget to ask ourselves the really important questions. One of those is what do I really want to stand for?

Do I want to be someone that is known for their integrity? Do I want to be someone that is known for being understanding? Do I want to be someone that is known for being compassionate? Do I want to be known as someone who gets things done? Do I want to be all of these and more?

What do I really want to stand for in life?

If We Don't Act Someone Else Will
If we don't ask ourselves what it is we stand for and act on the answers then we are at the mercy of others. We're at the mercy of demands on our time. We're at the mercy of requests that may not fit with who we are or who we want to be (because we haven't clearly defined who that is!)

Some of this external pressure can be from well-meaning sources. Friends, family, work colleagues. They may not be aware they are pushing us beyond where we want to be pushed. We may not even know until it's too late.

Better to try to set our own course than be pushed along someone elses.

Once we answer the "what do I stand for?" question and other important questions our focus gets tighter. We have something firmer and clearer to aim at.

It becomes easier to cast away the less important. Cast away the noise and zero in on the things that matter instead.

If your life gets cluttered and your priorities become scrambled by outside distractions and requests on your time, revisit this simple but probing question. What is it I want to stand for?

Carl is the proud owner of Frictionless Living which is focused on helping readers live a simpler and more personally satisfying life. He is also the author of several books including 22 Ways to Happier, 22 Ways to Simpler Living and Frictionless Email. To read more and/or contact him go to his site.

Follow Carl Phillips on Twitter: @FrictionlessLiv