How What Matters Materializes (and Why This Matters)

Part of the power of the “Things That Matter” is how intuitive it is. But whenever something seems “obvious”, “simple” or “common sense”, there’s a risk that it’s taken for granted and not appreciated. Things both “matter” in importance and in the sense of materializing, and this isn’t trivial: it’s a fundamental reason why the Things That Matter work.

A couple of months ago, my colleague, Steve, published an article on this site that unpacked the concept and phrase of “Things That Matter”.

In it, he looked separately at each word – and how the phrase as a whole is simultaneously all-encompassing and ruthlessly efficient at controlling scope – and he also explored the different “phases” of mattering, relating them to the ways in which our brains work.

But there’s of course another meaning of the word “matter” – it’s just as important, and it’s just as significant in explaining why Things That Matter work.

The “Materializing Principle”

When we use “matter” and “mattering”, we most typically do so to describe the degree of importance we assign to things.

However, “matter” and “mattering” also relate to the “materializing principle”, which has been described as “the process of coming into being; becoming reality“.

Indeed, “matter” is often used to describe the fabric of reality – what actually exists (for now, let’s not worry about dark matter!).

And so “Things That Matter” are those things that we want or need to exist: to come into being, to become real, and to remain real (for as long as they matter to us!).

This “materializing principle” is therefore implicit in the phrase “Things That Matter”.

Why This Matters (!)

Now it’s true – as Steve’s article also pointed out – that exploring and appreciating the underlying power of the “Things That Matter” (whether the concept or the phrase itself) should never get in the way of benefiting from how intuitive it is, and how it just “works”.

Pursuing the Things That Matter doesn’t require an understanding of the conceptual richness behind the expression, because we’ve captured it in the reusable and universal approaches, processes, technologies and platforms that comprise Value Management.

For most people that engage with Value Management, then, all they need to do is to take action via this framework and enjoy the resulting benefits.

But whenever something seems “obvious”, “simple” or “common sense” – and “Things That Matter” is all of those in many ways – there’s a risk that it’s taken for granted and not appreciated.

So, to counteract this – and also to serve those that really want to understand why it works – looking in detail at the overlapping meanings of the word “matter” is far from semantics.

What the “Materializing Principle” Means in Practice

There’s a lot to say – and for those that really want to go into more depth, do drop me a line – but the basic idea, as I’ve already touched on, is that something matters to the degree to which we want to materialize it, or we expect or we wish it to materialize…

…and this covers both sense of the word:

  • How important that thing is to us
  • How likely that thing is to materialize

In other words, the extent to which we put attention on something – especially when many people collaborate to do this – and the kind of attention we put on it not only define importance, but also how likely that thing is to actually come into existence, happen or succeed.

The concept of valuing something is therefore inextricably entwined with the concept of wanting to materialize it – in both cases, it is about how much it matters – and how we approach the Things That Matter… matters.

The Things That Matter are not just a representation of what is important, but of what will be created and of what will then exist (and, by direct inference, of what will not be created or continue to exist: there are always trade-offs).

This again harnesses our brains:

  • The conceptualizing and valuing “mattering” that the Right hemisphere is more adept at.
  • The bringing into being “mattering” that the Left hemisphere excels at.

And that is precisely why we use Value Codes, because – through their structure and format – they harness both sides of our brains to materialize what matters through harmonized thinking and action.

That’s a topic that deserves its own separate article; for now, hopefully this is enough to plant another seed (and water it a bit, too!) that the Things That Matter has a lot more to it than might be obvious at first.