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Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Plate

“Keep your eyes on your own plate and enjoy your meal!” This was my mom’s repetitive mantra at the dinner table in the late 70’s as she surely fought off the urge to dropkick my brother and I while we argued about who got more mashed potatoes, or too many vegetables, or not the same amount of rice, etc…

At the time, I don’t think she was trying to convey wisdom as much as she was simply trying to get us to shut-up, but still, there is DEEP wisdom in this mantra. How would your life be different if you kept your eyes on your own plate and enjoyed your meal?

We seem to go through life chasing the intangible. We even have an expression, “keeping up with the Jones’” that we use to describe this chase. At some point in our lives, usually when it’s too late, we realize the Jones’ are full of shit… they are in debt too, they have marital problems too, they have issues with their kids too, they stress about their career too… while you were trying to keep up with them, they were trying to keep up with you. Now you’re both in it deep.

Keep your eyes on your own plate and enjoy your meal. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t endeavor for more; I think it’s our human nature to move towards growth and success. But when doing so, don’t let the quest for more blind you to what you already have.

Give yourself the time to be grateful for what you already have. Let the gratitude for today fuel you on your journey towards tomorrow. There is no greater way to dilute your own blessings than to compare them with, what you perceive, is the blessings of another. Enjoy what you have. Be grateful. Move in the direction of your own personal growth and success; not that of another. Be you; you will NEVER be great at being someone else.

Steve Maraboli


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