Do you have your priorities right?

Once upon a time, there was a prominent king. This king was the richest man in the world; consequently, he had everything he wanted.
According to the story, when the king was a baby, a procession of ants was seen carrying grains of wheat up the side of his cradle and placing them between his lips as he slept.
When wise men were asked to explain this omen, they said the child would grow up to amass great power and great wealth.
And their predictions came true. He was a good ruler, but power and wealth came first.
This king once rescued a friend of Dionysus, the god of wine, and Dionysus wanted to reward him. The god granted the king one wish—anything he wanted.
The king knew immediately what he wanted and he wished that everything he touched would turn to gold. Dionysus warned him about the dangers of such a wish, but King Midas insisted.
Midas was thrilled at first as one artifact after another turned to gold. But then, he walked in his splendid garden among his prize roses and they turned to gold.
And when he became hungry and thirsty, his food and drink turned to gold.
Seeking comfort, he embraced his small daughter and she also turned to gold. Heartbroken, he saw the error of his ways.
This is the Midas myth—but the myth is based on fact.
There actually was a King Midas in the ancient kingdom of Phrygia in about 700 B.C. A rich, powerful king who committed suicide at a young age.
This tragic story makes me think of a chapter in the book, “The Seven Habits of Highly-Effective People,” by Stephen Covey. “Begin with the End in Mind.”
Says Covey, “People often find themselves achieving victories that are empty, successes that have come at the expense of things they suddenly realize were more valuable to them.”
King Midas thought he wanted gold—lots of gold. But when he achieved his goal, he was crushed. He had traded the most important things—his roses, his beloved daughter, and his own life—for dead, worthless gold.
Like King Midas, many people from all walks of life struggle to achieve a higher income, more power, more recognition, and to become successful as they define it—only to find later that they have traded the most important things in life for something dead and worthless.
Unfortunately, life is very short and you don’t get second chances. That’s why it is especially important to get your priorities right this side of 60.
So how about you? Do you know what are the most important things in your life? Do they get as much care, emphasis, and time as you’d like to give them?
Why not answer these questions today? And keep in mind this wisdom from the great 19th-century German writer Goethe, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
Visualize what you most want in life and always keep that picture in the front of your mind. Put first things first and act in accordance with your priorities.
Then—one decision at a time—you can create true successes and avoid the Midas tragedy.
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at or visit

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