The gentleman was given a time frame. The cancer had spread, and his aged body would not survive the treatment. He had cleared the 80 year mark years ago. The old man had seen a lot in his life. He had fought in World War II. After the war ended, he went home to his beautiful wife. He started a family and watched all three of his kids grow up and have children of their own, and he was blessed to see those children start families.
Now, he was only given an estimate of three weeks to live. He was sent home on hospice to spend his days with his friends and his family. That’s what he wanted to see on his death bed. He didn’t want anyone to bring him the money he made throughout his life. He didn’t want to see his cars, his TVs, or his nice clothes. He wanted to see the ones he loved, in his humble home. He wanted to talk about the memories they made together and the laughs they shared and cry over the hard times. This was the end, and the only things that mattered; the only things he truly loved were the people and the memories.
I made an emergency flight home from my internship in California 1 week later to give my last good bye to my grandfather at his funeral.
You can see what really matters in life by looking at those who are almost finished living it.
No one ever asks to see their money, or any of the things they bought. They aren’t interested in the materials they acquired over their lifetime or what work they have left to do at their job. They only wish to see the people to share the memories they had. That’s what matters.
Do you need everything you have? All those bills you have… are all of them necessary? No, really. Will you DIE without them? That’s a nice car, but the payments are high. Is that stress worth picking up extra shifts and not being with family? Those are nice pants. Were you all out of pants, before? Those shoes… That blouse you’ll only wear once… do you need to be splitting your effort in so many different opportunities? Are you sure you MUST make that choice?
What if you only had to worry about one of those things? Would you be happier? Does adding to life always make it better? We go on vacation to get away from everything, but is everything we’re running from so unavoidable? All this crippling debt from rent, mortgage, insurance… Does all of this make our life better? Are you doing these things for YOU? Are you doing them for those that depend on you? Or is it because you think it will change what people think about you?
Sure, it’s nice to drive a new car for a while. It’s nice to have this fancy house. But does it make us happier?
When we fill life with only what’s necessary we have more space to grow.
Imagine a life where all you have to worry about is the essentials. The house is paid off. The car is paid for. We have to buy food and the insurance never ends. But that’s it. We can spend all our extra money on experiences. We can give money to those that are struggling. The things that actually make our lives better, instead of spending energy on things that ruin our lives.
I’m not suggesting we give everything up and become monks with no possessions, though I think a monk might be happier with life than we are.
I’m suggesting you start downsizing. You stop adding too much excess stress. Stop adding more to life when what you have is enough, if you choose to look. Or maybe you are just starting out and do not have a ton of possessions, yet.
Instead of taking 20 steps in one direction, I was taking 1 step in 20 directions and getting no where.
For me, I recently had to hold off on a few opportunities I had. You might have noticed it has been awhile since I made a podcast, or posted a blog. I was in an affiliate process for a potential job, working at the gym, working on other projects, trying to set up my next interview, trying to spit out more blogs. I was splitting my effort into so many places. I was trying to be good at all of the things, and in turn, I wasn’t really good at any of the things. Instead of taking 20 steps in one direction, I was taking 1 step in 20 directions and getting no where.
We can’t be good at everything.
If we try, we only manage to be mediocre at everything. We aren’t built to multi-task. Society revers multi-tasking as this incredible, sought after skill. We are “busy” all of the time and we wear it like a badge of honor. In a world where everyone is trying to multi-task, single-tasking is a super power. To be the person that sees a task all the way through; that is how you start crushing goals. Being busy is a choice. You will never just “have the time”. You have to make the time for the things that matter. Go get some exercise. Try new things and meet new people. Spend time with family. Spend time with yourself.
By eliminating things in life and making things more simple, we are able to excel. You can be mediocre, or you can be great. You just have to focus on what’s most important to you. Think about the dying man and what parts of life he will be most proud of. What will be your legacy?