This is Not THAT Crazy a Question…
Life expectancy has gradually climbed over the past century. Sure, it has dipped a bit recently, but every growth curve, in everything, is never a straight line. There are always retreats before major steps forward, in addition to the dips along the way (a worthwhile thing to remember in everything you are doing by the way).
Anyway, given what is happening in the sciences that apply to life expectancy, it is a real possibility that it will accelerate. But that’s irrelevant to the message here. The real point is…what if you DID live to a hundred? Would that change the way you approach your life?
Never Sacrifice the Long Term for a Short-Term Gain
This is one of the many personal principles I share in 3 Circles Living. The power of principles is they are part of the foundation that drives all decisions, whether we know it or not. When you have clarity of principles, it allows you to make decisions without having emotions drive them.
In the Old Testament story about the twin brothers Esau and Jacob, one day Esau comes home famished. Jacob has some food and Esau asks if he can have it. Jacob counter-offers and says I’ll give you this food if you give me your birthright (Esau was born first). Esau, in a moment of dramatic need for instant gratification basically says “what good is a birthright if I die of hunger?” and agrees.
He gave up the long term for a quick fix.
And this is what the majority of people do all the time. They “Esau” themselves!
Lots of things relative to everyday life and choices are reflected in this. This tiny unwillingness to exercise the discipline to delay gratification for the long term.
Now How Does This Apply to Living to 100?
Comfort is like a short-term gain. Doing the hard thing is usually in the long-term interest.
The health consideration is easy to understand. If we all knew we would live to be a hundred, we would definitely do some of the harder things (at least they are at first…not so much as they become habits) to take care of ourselves. Perhaps, you’re thinking that if you knew you’d live to a hundred you wouldn’t need to worry about self-care so much…after all, you’re going to get to a hundred anyway!
Au contraire! Being ALIVE to 100 and LIVING to 100 are NOT the same thing! You could be alive as a prisoner in a broken body for 20 years…I’ve seen this, and so have you, and the nursing homes are full of this. Enough said about the health piece. You already know that I believe your health is central to everything you do and will ever do…or not do.
The Focus of This Message is Your Greater Life Choices
Would you settle for a career you don’t love because of the money, if you knew you would live a long time?
Would you settle for circumstances in your life, or continue to buy your limiting beliefs, or not invest in yourself, if you knew you had all this time in front of you?
Would you settle for….(fill in the blank for whatever you know you are settling for)?
Or might you start thinking more about how to play the short game that is in your long-term best interest and leads you towards the life that you truly want and where you make the contribution you are designed to make?
Now what I’m going to say here might fry your brain a bit, it certainly did mine…
Even the life you WANT might not be the ultimate. I believe we tend to start by pursuing the life we “think” we want. Eventually anyway, as was my case (and clearly the case for many), it may take some time just to get to this point.
There is some period, and it may be decades, where we are so confused about what we should do because of the noise from outside of us and the insecurities and lack of growth within us, where we just wander aimlessly through our days with no clue where we are going or doing (12 years for me).
Anyway, when pursuing the life we think we want, we begin to make progress, and we might even flourish, but we cannot get away from the feeling that there has to be more. There’s just too much emptiness, anxiety, stress, and feelings of confusion. If we are purposeful and invest enough time in reflection and development, we start to get that what we are missing is tied to how we are living/being.
This, for some, gets us to a place of clarifying what we really want. Then we pursue this. We begin to shed some of the things we have come to know are not really in line with who we really are and settle less. But this place of existence is possibly still short of fulfilling us completely. And let’s be real…this is still mostly about us…as in me and you.
The next level is to get to the place where we are living the life we are MEANT to live.
This is the place of our highest contribution to others while living fully the way that brings out the best in ourselves. This goes pretty deep, and I’ll go here more in articles to come, but one of the foundational principles for this perspective is…
What You Become is MUCH More Important Than What You Have
Becoming is mostly about taking yourself to higher and higher versions of you. The unique and perfectly made you. This means consistently developing yourself and applying yourself to the areas of congruence for you (read this as being true to who you are).
It means pursuing the things that are on your heart to do. The things that call to you and you feel pulled towards. These things are always in line with your strengths and natural affinities and gifts. They make you feel fulfilled, and time goes like a shot when you are engaged.
These are the things that are intended for you and that you are to tend to.
These are where true actionable dreams come into play. And these will ultimately be areas where you are serving the greater good in general, while stacking various levels of accomplishment.
When you take the steps each day to become more valuable, while taking the steps towards where you truly want to be, you will be sacrificing some gratification in the moment. But only in the moment.
You see, my philosophy is to do the things that are important each day as if I would live to a 100, while being fully present in THIS day as if it would be the last one I get.
I do this in every corner of the 3 Circles. My health and personal growth, relationships, financial life, and pursuits (which represent contribution and purpose).
I jammed several different thought streams into this message for you. If it seems a bit disjointed…well, that’s because it is.
But that doesn’t make it less true. It’s just lots of truths all in one.
I hope some piece of this resonated and spurs you to do more of what matters most for you in the big picture. Even if some part of this just makes you ponder a bit more, then it will have served the purpose.
Life is too short to settle…in any area…even if you DO live to 100!
Many Blessings, Todd
P.S. I am currently deep into the initial growth stage of “Project Next.” As a result, I am no longer accepting coaching clients, as my coaching time is reserved for my expanding project team. I am still accepting certain training/speaking engagements based on timing and fit. If you are currently dissatisfied with your bigger picture progress in life and would like to learn how the project may help you move forward, send me an email and we can arrange a time to talk.