The most important things in life aren’t things.

The most important things in life aren’t things. – Anthony J. DeAngelo

Two people, from the looks of how they are sitting, friends. Both are surrounded by things, and are ignoring each other. What’s more important, people or things?

What does that mean?
Think for a moment about what is most important to you. How many of them were things, rather than people or ideals? Did your cell phone, your car, your house, your job, or some other ‘thing’ make the list? If not, you’re ahead of the game, congratulations.

For the rest of us, it’s time to reconsider our priorities, and what we consider to be of great value in our lives. To me, even family heirlooms have to take a back seat to my family, the individual people in my life, freedom, and justice.

While my family heirlooms probably wouldn’t get me enough cash to fill my car with gas, they are still valuable for sentimental reasons. But if the house were on fire, and I had time to grab one thing, ‘things’ wouldn’t even cross my mind. I’d be making sure everyone was out before exiting the building myself..

Why is aren’t things important?  
Things. When said by itself, the word can almost sound creepy. The unidentified or unidentifiable are referred to as “things.” Scary movies are made about things that attack us, eat us or otherwise make life miserable, right?

But in real life, we are surrounded by things. We buy things, we sell things. We use things, we replace things. Some more often than others. From razors to cell phones to laptops to cars to houses, odds are you’re going to have more than one of them over your lifetime, right?

However, while you may love many people in your life, I would hope you don’t think of them as ‘things,’ to be replaced when a new model comes out, or something flashier catches your eye. Yes, they may come and go, but they are far more important than mere things.

Where can I apply this in my life?
I would start by asking this question: Why do things have value to us? Well, that would depend on the thing, wouldn’t it? Think about some of the things of yours that you think are valuable, for whatever reason, or for some things, more than one reason.

Some things have sentimental value, like a cheesy little trophy from a sports event or spelling bee from your youth. Some things have intrinsic value, like money, jewels, or items made of precious metal. Other things may have value because of demand, such as a popular line of clothes or the latest cell phone.

Now think about the people in your life. While you may have a pesky sibling, or a nasty ex, I would hope that you would chose to save them over your cell phone if both were in a burning building. I would hope not, I would hope you would chose the person over the thing.

Yes, you’d lose one of the coolest cell phones on the planet. Yes, the draft of your first novel may well go up in flames. You’d lose the phone number of the hottie you talked to the other night. But things, by their nature, are replaceable. People are not.

Yes, there are more people out there in the world, but each is unique, irreplaceable. No new person could exactly take the place of one who was lost. Where our ‘things’ are, by design, exactly the same. Yes, we can customize things, and often do. But we could re-customize a lost phone.

Let’s briefly consider another non-thing that I consider important; our ideals. How much cash would it take to get you to give up an essential freedom? What if you were paid in cell phones or with a nice car? Is freedom more valuable to you than mere things?

Would you turn a blind eye to justice and let a guilty person escape justice in exchange for some cash, cell phones, cars, houses, or any other thing? Especially if the crime was particularly violent or hurt a large number of people? Is justice more valuable to you than mere things?

Have you ever spent much time thinking about ‘things’ in this manner before? If I ever had, it was certainly quite some time ago, and likely not in so broad a context. Regardless of what you found yourself valuing at the beginning, I hope you have a slightly broader view now.

Only you can make the decision of what you will value, and how much you will value them. Only you can prioritize the things in your life. I hope that you will find life more and more valuable each passing day.

From: Twitter, @_inspirational_
confirmed at :
Photo by Pink Sherbet Photography


About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in affection, choice, contemplation, freedom, justice, value and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to The most important things in life aren’t things.

  1. The New Self says:

    You’ve made some good points pertaining to what’s most important in life. I couldn’t agree more with your title, that “things” are not the most important “things” in life! This is probably the important question that we need to consider; after all we only get one life, why waste it? There are some other points regarding this question that you might think are helpful in your study at

  2. Lars says:

    Indeed – see this related survey conducted in Japan post 3.11 earthquake:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s