The Time Is Now
The World Health Organization and Imperial College London conducted a study and predicted that the average age for women would be 83.3 and the average age for men would be 79.5 by the year 2030. So depending on where you are in life, your sense of urgency may have differed when you read that stat.
But let’s break this down further. Each individual should get around 8 hours of sleep every night so if we subtract those hours we spend sleeping, we are at 27.8 years of sleep for women and 26.5 years of sleep for men in their lifetime.
But what about work? Most of us have to work eight hours every day, five days a week (that doesn’t count our lunch break, if we stay late, work weekends, or count our commute time). So if we start working around age 20 and retire at age 65, almost two-thirds of our lives will be spent sleeping or at work during the majority of our lifetime!
The point is that there isn’t much time left to do the other things we may want to do in life. So here are a few questions to consider: Do you love what you do every day (both at work and in your free time)? Do you sometimes feel like you are just going through the motions? If your life were to end today, would you have any regrets? What are you doing to make the most of your time?
If you don’t like your answers to these questions or you don’t have an answer at all, it can be a little disheartening. For some people, it is hard to pin down why they are not satisfied with their life. For others, it is hard to determine what path they should take. With this mind, I would like to share with you a few things to consider to help you find what you are looking for and get you on a path that you can look back on with no regrets.
LOVE VERSUS LIKE
When I sit down with someone to discuss a career path or life path, one of the first questions I ask is, “Do you love what you are doing?” I follow up with the statement, “Notice I asked, do you LOVE what you are doing, not LIKE what you are doing.” This is an important distinction because when you love what you are doing, your resiliency to difficulties are more palatable. Because you love what you are doing, a certain gifting typically comes with that love. Now I understand that we all can’t do what we love because real-life circumstances prevent us from doing so. If this is you, I would ask, “Does this desire continue to endure?” If so, this can be an indication that your current situation could be a transitioning point to that job, place in life, or opportunity you truly desire.
A few years ago I had a conversation with a pilot and he mentioned this very distinction. He said that every pilot should love flying because someone who liked flying would not last in his profession. When I asked him why, he said that there is a lot that goes on before and after flying that isn’t enjoyable. But when you love flying, those things don’t bother you as much. He saw plenty of people wash out from training or transition after a couple of years because those individuals didn’t like what they were doing. So a good indication that you are on the right path and doing what you are supposed to be doing is if you can say without any reservations, “I love what I am doing.”
WHAT DO PEOPLE SAY YOU ARE GOOD AT?
We are sometimes our worst critic. Often times, we are oblivious to our own talents and abilities. If you are like me, I can see the talents and the abilities of those around me and provide sound advice to them on a wide range of topics. But when it comes to my own self-awareness and ability to act with sound judgement, I am at times completely naïve. So you always want to have an attentive ear to the comments of individuals you respect or who are in good standing. Please do not apply this same standard to those who only seek to tear you down or are of little character.
They say that great leaders have the ability to notice talent and once they do, they always try to position that talent so that it can be maximize to reach its greatest potential. So what do people say you are good at? These things can be elements to a greater calling or a calling itself to something you love doing and are meant to share with the rest of the world.
WHAT ARE YOUR EXPERIENCES?
Life makes more sense when we step back and look at our own life experiences. So take a step back now and think about all of the experiences you have had up until this point. What do you see? Is there a pattern? Do you see progression or regression? Who has been placed in your life? What lessons have you learned? As you aggregate all of these experiences, you should begin to see a pattern. Hopefully this pattern is in alignment with what you love doing and what others say you are good at doing. If this is the case, this is a good indication that you are on the right path. If you haven’t decided on a path yet, this is a good indication of a path you should explore further.
I am a firm believer that you can find meaning and purpose in every situation, good or bad. If you are like me, those good experiences serve as motivation to keep going. But those bad experiences are where I find that I grow and mature the most. So never undervalue or gloss over any of your experiences (good or bad), it can be a compass of sorts to confirm you are on the right path or headed in the right direction.
So what do you plan on doing with the time you have remaining? No matter where you are in life, I hope that you live life to the fullest and do the things you love doing. I hope that you will have no regrets and that when it is all said and done, you can say, “I gave it my all, I took risks, and I enjoyed the journey.”
Time is something we only get to use once but if we use it wisely, the results of that time well spent can reverberate long after we are gone. So make the most of your time, do what you love, and have no regrets because the time to do so is now!