I have a mantra that many of my friends and colleagues are aware of; I have lived long enough to have worked out, I can always earn another dollar, but I can’t get back the last ten minutes, so I had better spend it wisely, doing something I’m passionate about and spending it with the right people.
This kind of thinking comes with tingles of mortality and wanting to leave more than a wisp of smoke at the end (too morbid?). It comes from self-examination and having the ability to laugh at the in-congruencies of life and wondering if you shouldn’t have achieved more but in the end having achieved more than you think.
So how much time do you have left to spend with the right people and make a difference?
With the average life expectancy around 80 years, you’ll wake up to around 30,000 mornings but only about 24,000 mornings as an adult, where you have the ability and resources to decide if today is going to be a good day and if you’re going to make a difference.
How many of those mornings have you used to the best advantage?
I admit, where my 20s were concerned, a lot of those mornings slipped by without note, many without ever getting to greet the morning and many without making a speck of difference to anyone around me.
The 30s turned into the ‘me decade’ but from there I noticed a shift in thinking that wasn’t about me at all.
It seemed the world turned successfully without any interaction from me, in fact, the daily news and the media seemed oblivious to anything I was doing. So I worked out it wasn’t necessarily about the big things, the big changes, the global challenges where I had any influence, it was about the small things I could control, the small things I could change, the small things I could help others with.
I wasn’t going to rescue the Antarctic on the Sea Shepherd and I certainly wasn’t going to alleviate global poverty with Sir Bob.
And that’s the crux of thinking for many, do the little things that matter to others, one smile at a time, one handshake at a time, one relationship at a time.
In the end, it’s easy to make a difference, be in the moment, be aware of others, put yourself in their shoes, work out how to spend that ten minutes wisely so you don’t regret the time and along the way, you’ll discover a trail of influence you didn’t know you had.
Who knows who you may help and who knows what they’ll accomplish?
The worst you can do is give someone the confidence to keep going with a passion, that may lead to new imaginations, discoveries, and knowledge that can be used and passed onto others to multiply into greatness.
It begs the question, what’s left of your 30,000 mornings and what have you done with your last ten minutes?
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