This morning during my morning walk I listened to Abraham-Hicks on audio as she explained the Law Of Attraction to someone at one of her seminars. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of LOA, because even though I don’t agree with everything it proposes, the majority of the message is positive and self-empowering. This morning Hicks offered a phrase I’ve never heard before—a “poop-to-value ratio.” She also explained that a friend of hers came up with the expression, but usually uses a more descriptive word than poop. Naturally, the audience laughed in acknowledgment. But even though it sounds a bit crude, what struck me as important was how clearly this phrase reminded me of the choices, decisions, and tradeoffs we each face every single day. And the best way to know if we’ve made the right choice for us is being aware of the poop-to-value ratio involved.
For example, in my opinion, I have one of the most amazing “jobs” in the world. I get to wake up every morning whenever I want. I have the freedom to travel to any location in the world, although I do prefer to have wifi. My time is my own to allocate where and what I do. Even better, most of the time I get to creatively write and express myself about things that matter deeply to me. I value what I do tremendously.
But what I’m also aware of are the downsides, or the “poop,” that goes along with the job. In other words, my work might look glamorous on the outside but it isn’t all fun and games. As any blogger or writer will tell you, when you sit down to meet your goal or deadlines and you don’t have anything relevant to say, it can seem overwhelming. And like most things, the more you try to force it, the harder it gets. It can also be a lonely business because much of the time you are sitting alone with your thoughts. And what about the money? As nearly every writer knows, if you want to make a decent living at your craft you have to work as hard, or harder, at writing and then promoting as any profession anywhere. Sure, it may sound like a dream job—but never forget, there is still some form of poop involved.
I’m also a pet owner. My dog Kloe entered our lives nearly seven years ago and she is such a part of my family that I can’t imagine Thom and my life without her. While she seldom snuggles on my lap and is as independent as I am—when she gives me attention it pulls at my heart and I feel special and loved. She also makes me laugh and adores taking walks. I know I am healthier and happier because of her, and her value in my life is very high.
But as any pet owner knows, there are responsibilities, or what I call a “poop factor.” And no, I’m not just talking about cleaning up after her. Every pet, and actually every person in our lives, has a poop factor too. With Kloe there is her daily care to consider. And even when I really don’t want to, she still needs exercise. Then there are always unexpected circumstances. A little over a week ago she was playing and acting like a little maniac and hurt her back right leg. We thought a day or two of rest would fix it, but when we tried taking a short walk later that week she was back to hobbling along on three legs. After researching it to see what the problem might be, I reluctantly made an appointment with a vet to get x-rays. There is a possibility she will need surgery—expensive surgery at that! Meanwhile, my daily walk seems empty without her guiding my way. So yes, no matter what the value, some form of poop is usually a factor.
The big question then is—what’s the poop-to-value ratio with the details in your life? With my work, there are so many more benefits to writing that it completely tips the scale to the positive. With Kloe it’s exactly the same. Because she means so much to us we will definitely do what we can to restore her to good health. And even if we couldn’t completely restore her, she is such a part of the family that we will do whatever we need to do to make her as happy as possible.
But, where the tricky part of all this comes in is with the choices and decisions we make along the way that aren’t as clear-cut. Much of the time we go through life taking twists and turns without considering the poop-to-value ratio at all. For example, think about the choice to buy a certain house or not. Most of the time we allow ourselves to romanticize what living in a certain house means and often blow the value all out of proportion without even considering the poop factor. Things like size, costs to maintain, monthly mortgage fees, utilities, commute time to where we work, the flow of design, neighborhood, amount of yard work required, all can turn out to be far more “poop” than we ever realize in value. But unless we take the time to consider the ratio in advance, we might be stuck tipping the scale in the wrong direction.
Of course, things do change and so do we. At one time Thom and I believed that having an upgraded home in an upscale neighborhood was important to us. Because we were doing well financially, it seemed to be the next logical progression to keep reaching for bigger and better. Rather than analyze the poop-to-value ratio, we jumped at the first house we saw that seemed to have every desirable quality we’d ever wanted.
Yet after living there for several years, we realized that even though the house was beautiful and our mortgage manageable, all the costs to maintain that home kept us from doing all the other things we’d really rather do. Plus, we had way more house than the two of us needed or used. So, as I’ve explained in my rightsizing book, by selling it and going entirely mortgage and loan free, the value we found for ourselves has been enormous. But don’t forget, I’m not just talking about things we buy. I’m talking about all our choices—from who we marry, to what we ate for lunch—each has a poop-to-value ratio.
Naturally, the biggest benefit of considering the poop-to-value ratio with any decision or choice is to clarify our thinking and be aware of what matters to us. Just like with rightsizing, what matters to you is likely quite different than what matters to me. That’s okay and as it should be—as long as we stay aware and know what matters to each of us alone. And then make the choices that support our highest values.
I’ve been wracking my brain all week to see if I could come up with even one thing that doesn’t have a poop-to-value ratio. Nope. Remember, every relationship in our lives, everything we own, all our activities, and yes, the food we put in our mouth—each requires a trade-off or has a poop-to-value ratio. Every single thing carries both positives and negatives aspects, along with consequences and responsibilities. Is it worth it? Is it right for us? Only we can decide for ourselves.
While would be lovely if our choices and decisions were black and white, with all good on one side and all bad on the other—life isn’t that simple. If we take the time to pay attention before blindly stumbling ahead, we would surely notice that everything comes in numerous shades of gray. Hopefully, the SMART choice is to stay as aware as possible and choose the best value we can find.
Okay, your turn. Can you think of one thing in your life that you do or have that has so much value that it dramatically outweighs the “poop?” Please share in the comments below.
P.S. Winners from last week’s book drawing will be announced next week.