THAT'S LIFE: The sins of omission we must avoid  

Sunday January 6 2019

I neglected repairing a small tear in my sofa and ended up paying a hefty price for it. PHOTO | FILE

I neglected repairing a small tear in my sofa and ended up paying a hefty price for it. PHOTO | FILE 

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It was a small tear on the sofa. At first it was barely noticeable. Perhaps someone sat on it with keys or some other sharp object in their pocket, causing the tear.

The first time I noticed it, I said to myself, “I really must do something about it.” At the time, doing ‘something’ consisted of using some superglue and a needle and thread to repair the tear. Problem is, I never did get round to doing anything to that seat.

Over time, the tear grew larger as more people sat on it until it was an unsightly, gaping cut. As we speak, I have commissioned a fundi to upholster the entire seat. When he gave me the quotation, I felt faint.

I wanted to kick myself for allowing a small problem to get out of hand and become this expensive.

That, dear friends, is the problem with neglect.

It compounds everything and eventually, becomes very expensive to deal with. So why do we do it? We probably view our neglect as a small matter that we will get around to eventually.

We haven’t yet understood how a small unresolved issue can deteriorate to alarming proportions.

In the final analysis, neglect looks like a wasted life, poor health, financial ruin and broken relationships.


Yet it never begun like that. It started off as daily habits of procrastination, poor choices in diet, exercise, overspending and lack of communication.

We figure we have time and will fix things in the future. Neglect in relationships is epitomised in the story of the following busy dad.

His young son asked him if he could come out to play ball. The father replied, “I’m too busy now, I’ll do it when I finish this project.”

Sadly, every project was replaced by another, and the years went by and the young man grew up, having learnt to deal with his father’s inability to make time for him.

Eventually the boy became a man, found a job and had a family of his own. His now old and ailing father asked him, “Son, when are you going to come see me?” The young man replied, “It’s really not a good time right now dad. You see I have this project I have to finish.”

The father realised too late, that the price of neglecting our relationships was compounded in the future.

Poet Anais Nin famously remarked: “Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don't know how to replenish its source.


It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”

Neglect leads to broken relationships, and sometimes when we want to repair the damage done, it is too late. And we have run out of time.

Neglect in our professional space looks like not taking the time to refresh your skills and giving less than your best on the job.

Do not be too surprised when you are forced out. Jim Rohn writes: “Failure is largely a function of neglect.

We fail to do the small things that we should do, and this seemingly insignificant licence carries over to those things that are important to do.

Small neglects have a way of becoming major oversights with the passage of enough time.

Neglect is like an infection. Left unchecked it will spread throughout our entire system of disciplines and eventually lead to a complete breakdown of a potentially joy-filled and prosperous human life.”

What can we do to halt the steady decline caused by neglect in human endeavour? We can start by fixing today what we know needs fixing.

Avoid procrastination like the death trap it is. January is a good month as any to start repairing those tears, leaks and relationship breakdowns.

Create a life maintenance and service schedule. Do the same for your body, personal development, health, finances and relationships.

Do not leave them to the vagaries of time through neglect.