Eight days a week
I was asked to speak at an event recently and it was a real mixed bag in terms of the age range of the audience; if anything, there were possibly more in the upper end of the age bracket. I was speaking on all things Winning Edge but focusing on living life consciously and in doing so, having a sense of purpose in life.
I’m ashamed to admit that I thought the older members of the audience might have been mildly dismissive when asked to think about the way they think – after all, they perhaps thought that by their age, they had it all sussed. However, the number of them who came up to me afterwards to say how thought-provoking my talk was, was reassuring – we all need reminding sometimes to make the most out of life.
The part of the talk which I think hit home the most was when I asked if they could give me a quick guestimate of how many days there are in the average lifetime (in the Western world, we are told this is approximately 80 years), so it was time for some quick Math. The PowerPoint presentation flashed up the following options:
When asked, the majority of the audience hazarded a guess at 200,000. They were shocked to learn that in 80 years, we get just 30,000 days. That’s just 4,000 weekends. A stark reminder of how time flies.
For those of you who’ve attended a Winning Edge course, it will be of no surprise to you that I followed this up with the days of the week…
If we go by the Bible’s three score years and 10 – i.e. 70 years – and allocate a day of the week to each decade, which day would you be on?
Monday 0 - 10 years Friday 41 – 50 years
Tuesday 11 - 20 years Saturday 51 - 60 years
Wednesday 21 – 30 years Sunday 61 – 70 years
Thursday 31 – 40 years Bank Holiday Monday…!
This is an illustration which really brings home how quickly time passes. My message to the audience – to live life consciously. To know what they want in life and to go for it. To embrace change. To see the possibility and opportunities in change.
The big wheel keeps on turning but is it a Mill Stone or is it a Ferris Wheel?
It’s so easy to get stuck in the hamster wheel of life. Each day running around, turning the cogs of commerce to pay for the things we want. As Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ellen Goodman once said: "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for – in order to get to the job you need to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it."
So, are you making a living or designing a life?
Change your thoughts, change your life
Recently spotted on a motorhome bumper sticker: ‘Adventure before dementia’. What a fabulous fabulous ethos! That’s people taking the bull by the horns right there. And surely that’s the attitude to take in life – to squeeze every last drop out that we can before we shuffle off this mortal coil.
But change can be scary can’t it? We bob along in life, a curve ball might be thrown and we deal with it best we can but we don’t want to be the cause of the change – we want to stay in our comfort zone. What if the change leads to worse circumstances? What if change means we’re worse off than we were before?
Life is risky, I’ll tell you how risky it is – we don’t get out of it alive!
What stops us from pursuing our goals in life? Is it inertia – we just can’t be bothered to challenge the status quo – we perhaps think it takes up too much thought and energy… Maybe it’s fear of failure holding us back – ultimately our self-limiting beliefs.
Maybe you don’t give any thought to changing anything in your life. You’re comfortable. Days come and go and life ebbs and flows. You don’t particularly hanker after anything you haven’t got; you don’t seek new experiences or interactions with others. All good, as long as you know you’ve consciously made that choice. Why change? No reason to. Unless, it is fear of failure or fear of change which you are allowing to prevent you doing something different. Work out what it is you want to change by thinking about your values. Maybe more adventure is what you crave. Possibly some self-development or maybe helping others through volunteering.
Maybe you want more for you and your loved ones. Perhaps you feel you want to achieve more, maybe achieve a better level of financial security for the future, maybe you’d like more money so you can enjoy the nicer things in life. You want to be better and you want better.
Change can be good; change can be a gateway to things we could never have imagined we’d find ourselves doing. Change can open us up to exciting options that we might never have realised if we’d kept our imagination small – if we’d kept ourselves small. Challenging ourselves enables us to learn and grow, it enriches our life.
The pointlessness of the coulda woulda shoulda mindset
This is not a rehearsal, this is it. One life. So, rather than shuffle off at the end and wonder where it all went and what you wished you’d have done, why not embrace change, embrace challenge, embrace the new and move forward and live your life - this one life. Where we can be great and awesome and brilliant.
There are multiple benefits to living life consciously:
- Life seems longer
- You generally enjoy better health
- You notice when the roses come out
- You notice when your loved ones do something different
- You feel more in control of the now and the part you play
- You’re in the moment
- There’s a peace of mind
- You know why you’re doing what you’re doing
- You feel empowered and liberated
My Godmother Judi – at the age of almost 70 – recently went on a trip to India. She hadn’t travelled to foreign climes for almost 30 years and had certainly never been away without her husband. She did it though. She embraced change because she reinvented herself as Judi Dench’s character did in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – the fiercely independent traveller. If Judi can do it at 69, then so can we all. And that’s exactly what the audience took away at my speaking engagement – especially the more mature ones!