shellsYesterday I watched a short video called Shells. This video told the story of a young family going to the beach to collect shells.

The mother and father and two young sons had been collecting shell fragments quite sometime when they noticed a perfectly intact starfish “shell” floating just off the shore line. The youngest boy looked expectantly at the dad and the dad nodded yes.

The boy triumphantly dashed in the water only to stop one-third of the way to the starfish. He retreated back to the shoreline. He paused on shore for a moment and then dashed closer to the starfish but once again retreating to the shoreline. Once more time he dashed out into the surf — this time making it all the way to the starfish. Only to return again to the shore without the prized treasure.

His dad looked at him befuddled and asked what was wrong? The boy said my hands are full and  I can’t grab it. He held out his hands full of the shell fragments he had been collecting all morning.

The message of the video was simple… it asked what shell fragments do we hold onto while leaving our prize treasure floating away when it is so easily within our reach.  For me the video challenged me that by saying yes to many things that fill up my busy day I may inadvertently be saying no to the most important thing.

In business we call this  “opportunity cost”. We analyze the things we say yes to in the terms of what are we not doing as result of making this choice.

So my vow for today is consciously say yes to that which is most important to me.I hope by keeping a sea shell in my pocket I will find it a gentle reminder to say no.

What things are your shell fragment?