It's the Thought That Counts

You've heard the saying, "It's the thought that counts." In fact I used it in a recent post here. But after thinking about that for bit, I'm not so sure that adage is true.

Generally actions speak much louder than words. So when someone gives you a late birthday card or present and kind of sheepishly shrugs and says "it's the thought that counts," you probably are not thinking deep in your heart that "yea, it's ok that you forgot all about me." At least, that's not usually what I am thinking. Maybe you're a better person than I am. Their actions say more about how they value you than their words do.

Now I think there are cases when you can use this and have it be effective. If you really tried to put together a nice birthday present, but it just didn't work out for some reason. I think you can say, "I really tried. I'm sorry it didn't work out. But hey, it's the thought that counts." I think it works in this situation, because you really did put some effort into it. And actions speak louder than words.

But usually if you put no effort out and try to pull the "it's the thought that counts", I think you're wimping out. I think most of the time our friends and spouses see through this weak excuse. If you don't believe me, I have a challenge for you. Guys, at your wife's next birthday or your wedding anniversary (which ever occurs next), I want you to do absolutely nothing. No gifts. No card. No special night out. No anything. Then that evening just before you fall asleep that night in your bed, roll over by your wife and say "I didn't forget your birthday/anniversary, I thought about you today several times. And you know, it's the thought that counts." If you survive that encounter, please comment here. I'm sure we'd all like to learn vicariously from your experience.

It's not the thought that counts. It's taking the time and spending the effort to do something that counts. Are you spending the appropriate amount of time and effort on the things that truly important? That's worth pondering about.

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