You Can’t Make Sense out of Nonsense

As I continue my journey of success in my new chapter of life, I also continue to reflect, contemplate, and more deeply analyze my choices of: 

  • how and why I work; 
  • my service to others including volunteerism and board work; 
  • and my ongoing relationships with friends and business associates.  

I am now in a unique position where I get to choose for myself and myself alone. I can clearly decide what I want to do, how I want to do it, and who I want to do it with. What I discovered in my corporate career was that the higher I moved up, the more I had to also represent the corporation in every decision, both inside and outside of work. My consideration had to include how I maximized my brand, skills, and talents for the benefit of my employer, my team, and myself. These multiple considerations were always tied together, and in fact, acted as one. That one mindset never shut down, because I always had to be conscious of that ongoing dynamic. Today, I am blessed and fortunate that I no longer have to balance my wants and needs with the wants and needs of an employer. 
For me, leaving the corporate environment was like being released from bondage, the bondage of the ongoing consideration of my employer. However, when I realized that I was totally free, a funny thing happened… TIME stepped up to the plate and demanded to be heard! Time became my number one consideration. There was new importance around how I was spending time and to whom I was giving it along with when and why.  I realized in a major way that my time was everything and it mattered. It made me step back and look at my life through a different lens. Not the lens of corporate success but the lens of time. This new lens magnified the fact that all of my time was, and is, valuable and my reflection thus became analyzing my use of time in every aspect of my life.  
My questions to myself… Does how I spend my time make sense? Do I believe the project I am working on will come to fruition? Am I hanging around people who improve my life, have my best interest at heart, and also want me to succeed? Do my friends and acquaintances want to be around me as much as I want to be around them or is it just peer pressure, politics, and/or a social status opportunity? Am I serving in the right way? Am I helping people or am I just helping myself? What legacy if any am I trying to leave when I am done?
With this realization, I had an “ah-ha” moment and it was HUGE!  It was, and is, the understanding that what I am doing with my time needs to not only make sense to me, but it also needs to have value to both me and others. Because without sense or value, my conclusion is that only nonsense remains …and IF only nonsense remains,  then I am in fact only working to find sense in the nonsense which is CRAZY… 
So what is sense? And what is nonsense?  According to Webster… 
Sense:  Conscious awareness or rationality; capacity for effective application of the powers of the mind as a basis for action or response: intelligence.
Nonsense:  Language, conduct, or an idea that is absurd or contrary to good sense.

Thus, when I find myself in this place of nonsense then I know that I am officially stuck. I am trying and working at doing the impossible…and furthermore, I am wasting my most precious commodity – my time. I came to the realization in this ah-ha moment that when I cannot make sense out of the nonsense then I have to make the difficult decision to move myself forward. I must move forward because there is still plenty of work to do, plenty of people who I can help and serve, plenty of new and exciting opportunities for me, and plenty of fun things to do with my family and with people who care! I have to propel myself forward no matter how challenging or I will miss out on important moments in my life. 
Here is my new understanding: 
There is no formula to calculate sense from nonsense. In those “nonsense situations” no amount of personal desire, work ethic or even effort can change the outcome. In “nonsense situations” there is only one right answer: GET OUT!! Decide what you want. Remember you and only you are in control of your actions and attitude, what you say, where you go, what you do, and with whom you decide to share your time and talents. 

  1. Don’t get derailed by the nonsense that you can’t control.
  2. Control what you can control which is just you. 
  3. Time is precious and should be spent doing things that make sense and have value.

About The Author


Rita P. Mitchell is an overcomer.  In a career spanning nearly four decades, she has navigated countless roadblocks and conquered numerous obstacles to accomplish her personal and professional goals in the very competitive financial services industry.  Rita became president of her own insurance and securities brokerage firm, Mitchell Financial, Inc., spoke on the TEDx stage, has been a frequent contributor to Black Enterprise magazine, and became the first-ever recipient of First Horizon’s 2018 Inclusion & Diversity Leader’s Award.  Before retiring in early 2018, Rita served as Executive Vice President and Manager of Private Client Services for Middle Tennessee, First Tennessee Bank.  Most recently, she has written Own Your Phenomenal Self, a guide to empowering young career women to achieve their desired success and an Amazon bestseller. In addition, Rita is a certified John C. Maxwell Coach, Trainer, and Speaker.  Currently, she serves on the boards of the YWCA USA, Cheekwood, Leadership Nashville Alumni Association, and Board Chair of the YWCA of Nashville & Middle TN.

Every month, Rita shares her thoughts, experiences, and opinions to encourage you to stay on your journey to your desired success. Sign up to get Rita's monthly motivation delivered straight to your inbox!

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