This post was inspired by the terrible situation in Japan, as so many people went from happy enjoyable lives, then immediately into a world of death, devastation, fear, and desperation…
Have you ever been in a room with a few people, maybe even at a party, and the whole group has been rambling on about some inane topic and all you can think about, are all the other ways you could be spending your time?
Maybe it’s just my perspective, but aside from paying my mortgage and the health of me and my loved ones, there’s not much else that I really find that important. Sure, I have my audacious and ambitious goals for the future, and plans for success, but when it all comes down to it, as long as the people I love are safe (from diseases, heart attacks, nuclear and/or natural disasters), and I’ve got enough money for next month’s payment…. I can’t really find the energy to give a shit about some of the other topics people seem to devote so much of their lives to.
I think I kind of know when I started down this path.
In 2000, long story short, I thought I had a fatal illness. Thankfully, after one last minute canceled surgery and another completed surgery I found out that I didn’t. But I believe it was during that time that I realized how truly precious life is. That no matter how difficult things can get from day to day, as long as you’re still breathing and moving along… everything is going to be okay.
I know it’s not easy.
If a bus runs through a puddle and soaks you from head to toe, that reeaaally sucks.
Maybe the love of your life loving is now someone else’s life, double sucks.
But tomorrow is another day…
I remember in 2005, when I was living in London, England and was having a really tough time hitting my sales quota
in my new environment. I don’t know if it was the new team, the product I was selling, or maybe I just hated the job so much I wasn’t willing to put in the effort; regardless, it was tough.
Everyday I used to walk out of the office at the end of my shift around 8pm, stressed to the max. Almost every night I used to go for dinner with a good friend of mine who worked in the production side of the business. Every night this poor guy would hear my daily rants, and offer an ear. But one day he decided to lend some words as well, and I will never forget this exchange:
HIM– “So let’s say you don’t hit your numbers this month, and let’s say you don’t hit your numbers for the next
3 months… what’s the worst that can happen?”
ME– “Are you drunk? I’ll get fired”
ME– What do you mean so? I. Will. Be Fired.”
HIM– “So you find another job? Its just money. Its not like they’re going to kill you.”
Of course, this got a good laugh out of both of us, and quickly defused my anxiety.
We discussed the topic a little more, as I had a really tough time wrapping my head around his, “It’s just money” comment, but in the end, he was right.
The rest of the night was spent in a totally stress-free state of mind as my friend and I decided at 26 years old, to find ourselves a couple Bounty Ice Cream bars, an arcade, and just have some fun. It was a great night. One that we gladly repeated various times throughout our working together.
The next day, I went back to work. And surprise surprise, I never did get fired. However, six months later, at the height of my earning potential, I was so unhappy there, I quit. Remember… it’s just money. 😉
I think its too easy for a lot of us in western society, especially of us that are in the middle, or upper middle-class, to lose our perspective and sight of what’s really important.
Lets take me for example: With my new business, I have done pretty well for myself in the past year. In 2010 I am proud to say I achieved an income above six-figures and an independent lifestyle, which was my short-term goal.
So that probably, give or take, puts me in the richest top 2% of the entire world. If you’re reading this, you are probably in that 2% as well, if not the top 5%… OF THE WORLD!
There are billions of people on our planet that each and every day, wake up, and they don’t know if they’re going to make it to the end of the day.
Some don’t know where their next meal is coming from, how they’re going to feed their children, or if, in their entire lifetimes they will be able to know what it feels like to live in a country without war and oppression.
My biggest problem today was that my wonderful girlfriend and I couldn’t figure out how to schedule our evening. Dinner? Movie? Dinner and a Movie? Go to a show? No, maybe a club? Maybe some sexy time later?
So to face this brutal challenge, I made myself a sandwich, read a book, took a nap, and when I woke up it was sorted out. Geez, what a nightmare that was.
Sure, that’s a light problem day, but even on my worst days, things are still relatively, pretty awesome.
I know it sounds hilarious, and that’s simply because the dichotomy of our world is so completely absurd that our initial reaction is to laugh… but let’s be serious, it’s pretty fucked up.
We have billions of human beings that cannot afford a $1 hamburger and don’t have access to clean water. And yet, instead of finding ways to help our own species survive, there are people out there who spend the better part of their days lobbying governments against the right for two people of the same gender that love each other from getting married. I mean, where are our sensibilites? And that’s just one example of a group of people that are waaaay too numerous for us to consider our society ‘civilized’.
Also, maybe we could dial down the importance of ESPN SportsCenter’s highlights and start understanding that professional athletes are, in reality, much less important than your local garbage man. What was that? Did I see the amazing game last night? No, I didn’t, sorry, maybe I’ll catch one of the next 3000 that are on TV this month.
We get so overcome with the benality of life that we give the most unimportant decisions, events, and issues too much gravity in our lives.
Does it really matter if your fancy watch is real or fake? (does it make the time move any slower?)
Whats the matter? I can’t get my TV in a 48″ plasma, I have to take the 42″ instead? What a tragedy.
Now don’t get me wrong, I still get bent out of shape for the stupidest of things too, but I do try REALLY hard to not get sucked into the idiocy that surrounds us all.
These big issues are difficult for any of us to focus on, but maybe if we all just had a little more perspective, or perhaps a touch better grasp on things in our lives that really do matter, we could stop spending our time with all this other bullshit.
Because the reality is, for most of us, we need to relax. They can’t kill us…