Here’s the primary idea; when you have to make a decision, whether it be monumental or minuscule, don’t rely on your current self. You’re an unreliable decision-maker at the moment because you don’t know how to put things into perspective and decide what’s truly important. Instead, look to the future, to the 100-year-old version of yourself and ask him/her to decide for you. That version of you is at the end of their life. He/she knows what truly matters in life.
One of the most-read articles in my newsletter is issue #4 titled, “Your work is not your life”
. As a self-identified workaholic, I wrote it from a place of deep introspection where I felt I was giving more importance to work and chasing ambition than I was to other parts of my life. I’ve thought about many areas of improvement since then and one thing I have started doing is saying yes to opportunities to spend time with people who matter to me.
You want to chat on WhatsApp in the middle of the day on a workweek? Sure, let’s do it. You want me to come to a football game on Sunday? I don’t even like football, but I’ll do it. It doesn’t matter how busy I am or how much work I have in my backlog when my sister or my mother or my friend says they’d like to call or they’d like to meet up for something. I don’t line them up for a slot in my calendar in three days’ time. I put work on hold and go out for the coffee and have the call. No more, “we should hang out sometime”, let’s set the time now, better yet let’s go now.
Sure, work is important and needs to be done and it will be, even if under a lot of pressure. But I have not yet thought—as I slave away in the middle of the night trying to make up for the lost time—I wish I hadn’t stayed so long at that restaurant with Nobue or I wish I hadn’t spent so much time chatting with my sister on WhatsApp and just finished this task instead. Sure, working under pressure is irritating and really painful sometimes, but usually, after a week or two, I realise that I’ve forgotten the pressure. It really didn’t matter that much. But the memories made still linger on and they’ll probably live with me for much longer.
So the next time your son asks you to come outside and play catch with him (I don’t know what kids play with their parents, but in American movies, they play catch) and you have a task that’s due tomorrow. And you have an email from your boss saying this needs to be in their inbox first thing in the morning. Ask yourself, 10 years from now, will it matter more that I stayed up all night to meet this deadline because I spent time with this boy? I’ll tell you right now, the sleepless night will come and go and the fatigue will be gone by the end of the week. But if you say no to that little boy enough times, regardless of how important the alternative is to you, one day he will stop asking. And when you’re 100 years old, at the end of your life, looking back, you’ll hate yourself for not taking that 30mins to play catch with your kid. For missing that moment of connection.
Sure, the important things are important. The work needs to be done; the deadlines need to be met; the bills need to be paid and we’ve got to chase our ambition. But if that comes at the cost of the more important things, like spending time with our loved ones, being there for our friends when they need us and doing the things that truly make us happy. We’ll find ourselves with a lot of achievements and a lot of things, but also with a lot of regrets.
So you know what? “Forget the budget! Look after your emotions … nobody’s going to give you a big gift of positivity but a series of events that are positive.” Bills will get paid, work deadlines will be met, but some moments in life won’t come around twice.
That’s all I have for you this week. If you like the newsletter, consider sharing it with others on Twitter
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I hope I’ve given you something to think about this week and I wish you ever-increasing curiosity.
Until next week.
I don’t know what my weight is today and I won’t for the rest of the week. I will not do any work and I’ll probably break all my sleep time records because I’m out here living my best life, sipping on cocktails by the beach on an island in the Maldives. 😁🍹🏝