My husband and I have been having conversation lately about the power of distraction and getting bogged down in the details and minutiae of life.

I think it was Thoreau who said that life often is frittered away by details.

For instance, we have been frittering our lives away with the details of getting a new post light out near our driveway ever since a huge branch fell off a tree and crushed our old one.

Oh, the details!! Picking a new one. Buying it. Returning it because it is broken. Buying a new one. Putting it on. Looking at it. Deciding it is too small and looks stupid. Taking it off. Packing it up. Returning it.

And, now we need to find another new one.

I came across this quote from Epictetus, a Greek Philosopher, who lived a long, long time ago.

He describes our thoughts perfectly:

There is a time and place for diversion and amusements, but you should never allow them to override your true purposes. If you were on a voyage and the ship anchored in a harbor, you might go ashore for water. Along the way, you might happen to pick up a shellfish or a plant. But be careful; listen for the call of the captain. Keep your attention directed at the ship. Getting distracted by trifles is the easiest thing in the world.

What are your trifles?

What details cause you to fritter your life away?

How can you better stay attuned to the call of the captain?