One Question to Shift Your Perception and Spark the Change You Desperately Want to Make
If you were being 100 percent honest with yourself, how would you judge the quality of your life?
Are you content with the way you’ve lived so far?
Do you want more for your life?
Are things “so so” — you’ve had some ups and downs but overall, you’re good?
How much time have you actually spent thinking about any of these questions?
I was shooting a video yesterday and part of what I said hit me in a profound way. This question, if you think about it deeply and act on it, could change your life. So what is it?
What percentage of your time spent on this earth is actually spent on quality activities?
You can define true quality activities on your own, but some that come to mind for me are:
- Genuine time with family and friends — Not distracted time where you’re with other people but you’re not really present. Sitting around watching Netflix and screwing around on your phone with other people also watching Netflix and screwing around on theirs doesn’t count. Not drinks out on the weekends where you’re “having fun” but really you’re all trying to numb yourself from the last workweek. I mean, real quality time where you’re present, truly enjoying the company of others, and deepening bonds.
- Focusing on a craft or vocation — A simple hobby you get lost in counts, even if it never makes a dime. Anything that puts you into a flow state and provides the joy of manifesting creative energy. Anything that gives you a sense of meaning the moment you’re done with it.
- Learning and analyzing your life — The philosopher Seneca says you can live a long life if you spent much of that life practicing real philosophy, which means you act out each day in the present moment but also reflect on the way you live — constantly searching for the truth about yourself and the world.
- Being in the present moment in any capacity — People go out for drinks on the weekend often to turn off their ego and inner monologue for a bit. This is often the same reason people do drugs, have sex, and seek thrills. None of these are bad in and of themselves, mind you, but cultivating that present feeling in a natural and positive way instead of a coping mechanism is the exception, not the rule.
The point of all this isn’t to cast judgments on the way people live, it’s to get you to question how much time you spend living a quality life so that you can focus on changing the percentage for yourself to make your life better.
“Nothing was ever in tune. People just blindly grabbed at whatever there was: communism, health foods, zen, surfing, ballet, hypnotism, group encounters, orgies, biking, herbs, Catholicism, weight-lifting, travel, withdrawal, vegetarianism, India, painting, writing, sculpting, composing, conducting, backpacking, yoga, copulating, gambling, drinking, hanging around, frozen yogurt, Beethoven, Back, Buddha, Christ, TM, H, carrot juice, suicide, handmade suits, jet travel, New York City, and then it all evaporated and fell apart. People had to find things to do while waiting to die. I guess it was nice to have a choice.” — Charles Bukowski
How much time do you spend waiting to die? How much time do you spend trying to fill in the gaps of quiet desperation and silent rage? I can be a little theatrical and over the top when I talk about the state of society and the people in it, but I’ll be damned if the people I come across don’t make the case for me.
Maybe my antenna is a little sensitive, but I look at people’s faces, eyes, and into their souls. Often, not always, but often, I see nothing — people smiling with their mouth but not their eyes. It’s sad.
Ground away by this.
Wake up. Check phone. Drink coffee. Get Ready. Commute to work — half-hour to an hour, I’ve heard some people commute two hours one way, nuts. Work — “office politics” or labor, rarely deep, creative and meaningful (this isn’t me talking, there’s data on this. This survey considers 34% engaged workers “high”) Drive home. Scarf dinner. TV. Do people even sit down to eat anymore and ask their kids about school? Go to bed. Have sex with partner, maybe — is it your birthday? Good sex? Up for debate. Wake up. Check phone. Drink coffee […].
Multiply this times 5, times 52, times 4 decades of a “career.” 166, 400 hours of doing that. 9, 984,000 minutes of doing that.
Millions of minutes turned into dust. Then, you wake up one day, middle-aged, thinking “what the fuck happened?” I’ve seen it happen to people. It won’t happen to me. Will it happen to you? Has it happened to you?
Weekends. You have one life, and you have decided to allot 2/7 of your life to living it. And how do you live it up?
Do you work on a fun craft, project, hobby, business? Do you work on your physical, mental, and spiritual wealth? Are you spontaneous and alive, exploring as much as possible? Are you present? What are you actually doing with these magical two days?
That’s a question for you.
Look, if my description doesn’t fit the bill for you, good. I want that to be the case. My only goal with writing is to get you to think about your life. I don’t know you. This is just my view of the world. Take time to understand yours.
What are you really doing here?
How much of your life is spent living the type of life your 18-year-old self would’ve wanted you to live?
How much are you wasting away, waiting to die?
Think about it.
Ayodeji is the author of You 2.0 — Stop Feeling Stuck, Reinvent Yourself, and Become a Brand New You. Want a free copy of my first book? Get it here.
Originally published at http://ayotheauthor.com on December 1, 2019.