This is one of my favorite videos. I try to watch it every few months for the lessons Slomo shares. Watch the video before reading further.
He compares our time on earth to all of history and illustrates that we are really alive for just a few seconds in the grand scheme of things. He writes:
“In planet-time, all you have: half a second.
We don’t appreciate this as kids. Time seems unlimited and goes by ever so slowly. We’re impatient to grow up, become adults, and enter the real world. We imagine all the freedom we’ll have, all the things we’ll get to do. But when adulthood finally arrives, we discover that we’ll be spending the vast majority of our “freedom” at work, paying bills, surviving, often in jobs we don’t like or don’t care about. Life is not how we imagined it and disillusionment sets in. We spend our half second doing everything except what we really want, dreaming of the future, of some distant, faraway day when life will be different, better, when we can finally do the things we want. But as we grow older, time begins moving faster and faster, and our long-awaited day never seems to come.
The tragedy of life isn’t that we only have half a second. The tragedy is that we waste it.”
The author is a entrepreneur who has traveled the world. In his travels, he began asking people:
What would you do if you only had one year left to live?
He writes that he ALWAYS receives the SAME ANSWER to this question:
“With only a year to live, most people would quit work, spend time with family, see the world, and do everything they always dreamed of doing before it’s too late. Their answers would be thick with emotion – not sadness or regret, but enthusiasm, eagerness. I felt they were about to set sail on some journey they often fantasized about but never actually took.”
The last sentence I highlighted in this chapter was:
“My impression of the world is that we spend life doing what we “have to” rather than what we “want to”.
So true, isn’t it?
Slomo figured this out years ago. Slomo thought about what he loved doing and designed his entire life around it. How awesome is that?
Back to the book:
“Even at an individual level – at a “me and you” level – we can design our homes, clothes, computers, cars, right down to the speed of the processor and color of the steering wheel…. I’ve often wondered: why can’t we do the same thing with our lives? Why can’t we design our lives to be a certain way – careers, hobbies, free time, and all – and then make it happen? What’s the difference? We’re enormously proactive in designing and configuring the things we buy so they’re exactly the size, shape, color, we want. But when it comes to life, we’re far less proactive. We become resigned to things being a certain way, thinking they’ll always be a certain way, and we let the tide of our daily routine pull us into a future not of our choosing or making.”
Why don’t we take our lives more seriously?
Why are we taught that everything else is more important than what we want to do?
To be honest, this really pisses me off. Consider the following:
We’re taught to go to school and get a good job. Work for 30 years and then you’ll be able to do what you want to do.
We’re taught money is more important than time.
We’re taught to abuse our bodies with processed foods and then take prescription drugs to alleviate the problems.
We’re taught to eat low fat to be healthy.
We’re taught that expensive brands are better than less expensive brands.
We’re taught that more of everything is better.
We’re taught that credit scores are super important.
We’re taught that it’s best to put everyone else first.
It’s all bullshit. The exact opposite of each item listed is what’s really true.
At some point, we’ve got to challenge some of this nonsense. We’ve got to value our lives and make our own choices based upon what WE value.
We’ve got to do what we wanna do like the old guy in the Slomo video suggested.