“How much of human life is lost in waiting.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
Question: Do you know how much time the average adult spends waiting every day?
Answer: A quick Google search (what I would say in contemporary times now qualifies as “research”) reveals the answer as 45 to 62 minutes waiting everyday.
But you know what? The “average” doesn’t matter. What does matter is how much time you spend waiting – and the only way to get that answer is to employ the powerful tool of a time log.
That’s small potatoes though compared to what we’re going to talk about today. So grab your swimming cap and hold your nose – because we’re going in deep.
Before we dive in (hah! Ok, ok, I’ll stop…), I want to really lay out the seriousness of what we’re talking about today
This lesson is something that is so easy to say, but has taken me years to truly understand, and it takes some people their whole lives. Many people literally lie on their deathbeds, wishing they had woken up to this lesson sooner.
So I implore you – do not read this as mere words on a page, that you read and forget about when the next shiny cat picture shows up.
What I am going to share with you today is the biggest regret people have – and how you can at least try to avoid it.
Pay attention like your life depended on it, because in many ways it does.
A 30 Second, Life Changing Exercise
I want you to do an exercise with me. This is very important. DO NOT merely read on.
It is an exercise that will take you 30 seconds – and I promise you, these will be the most valuable 30 seconds of your day, if I’ve never taught you this before.
This exercise is life changing.
This exercise is something you are going to use forever once I show it to you. After you do it the first time, it may take you only 5 seconds the next time you do it. The first time I used this, it rocked my world.
I sat silently for about 10 minutes as the power of it sunk in. I really felt the weight of the situation and of my life wash over me.
If you use this, this exercise is going to give you an amazing advantage. I should also warn you that it is so powerful, that it can be extremely emotional. So please be careful, and allow yourself at least 10-15 minutes to recover just in case.
The Life Changing Exercise
Are you ready for this?
Promise me you will do it.
Don’t promise me anything.
Don’t do it for me, don’t do it for your boss or job or clients or anyone else. Do it for you.
Promise yourself you will try this. No matter how ridiculous it sounds, ok?
Do it because your life is worth 30 seconds to do this exercise, ok?
The Three Steps
Here it is. It is 3 steps. You must do all 3 steps.
- Step 1: Prepare the environment. Go somewhere where you can see something timeless – like the sky, or a field, or perhaps the ocean. Preferably somewhere quiet.
- Note: If you can’t leave right now, a decent alternative is to look at the picture on this page Conducting Your Year End Review. Keep that picture up. Zoom in if you can. Really look at the picture and imagine you are there.
- Look around. Really let it sink in how big the world is, and how long it has been around before you – and how so much will be around after you are gone. Realize that every day things are changing, some quickly, and some ever so slowly. Get some perspective on how small some of the problems you have are.
- Step 2: Look at your hands. Turn your hands over, Notice the wrinkles on your knuckles, the lines on your palms, the brittleness of your nails. When was the last time you looked at your hands? Notice the veins, notice how it feels when you flex and unflex each individual finger. Notice how it feels when you make a fist. Look at your hands, and remember how small they once were, how you once had fat little fingers as a baby, and now are a grown adult. Recognize your mortality.
- Step 3: Look at your hands again, and think about the things you have done, and the great things that you want to do. Feel your personal strength as you look at your hands, and realize that this is what you have. Your hands are a symbol of you, of your life: of what you have done, and what you can do. You are capable of such great things. With your hands you can build houses, you can create art, you can destroy things and you can love things. Recognize the power you have
Looking at my hands is a powerful reminder for me that I am aging, that I am mortal, that one day my time here will be over – and at the same time, that I am capable of shaping the world in whatever way I choose. And so are you.
It’s Time To Stop Waiting For Life
“You could be waiting for your life to begin,
And you could be so much more than you’ve been.”
– Nine Days, 257 Weeks
This is real.
This is your life we are talking about. This is the one thing you have, the one shot, the one opportunity that you must make the most out of, because when it’s gone – it’s gone. And you’ll either look back on it with contentment or with regret.
I know, because in my research of life regrets of the dying, I came across Bonnie Ware who cared for the dying and said their most common regret was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
She says about the courage to live a life true to yourself:
“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled.
Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.”
Your Life Is Waiting For YOU
If you are waiting for your life to begin, I have a message for you: your life is waiting for you to begin to take control of it.
Look at your hands again and remember this:
- The average person spends 45-62 minutes a day waiting, usually for relatively inconsequential things such as transportation, retail or restaurant service or their email to load – and generally complains about it.
- The average person most regrets spending their entire life waiting for what is is most important: the day they will finally live a life true to themselves, take action and fulfill their dreams – and generally, during their active lifetime, silently accepts this without complaint or comment.
We complain every day about how we’re waiting for things that don’t matter, that truly are inconsequential in the big scheme of things – and yet we allow ourselves to passively wait on that which is most important to us, and never say anything until it is too late – and all we can do is regret.
Don’t accept that. Don’t keep waiting for your life to begin.
I hope you already are living your life and shaping at least trying to move forward on your dreams. If you’re not though, then consider this a stroke of good luck, a fortunate turn of events, a blessing, because you’re getting this wake up call years early:
You have the power to do whatever you desire, so take control and begin your life.
Start working on your dreams today. Do not silently accept waiting for a day that your life begins – make today that day.
And make it a habit to look at your hands and use this exercise regularly
The Time To Take Action Is Now
Now I also want to make a quick public service announcement. I have some good news and bad news.
The bad news is, you’ve got to take the first step and take action. Nobody else will do it for you – and frankly, most people are too caught up in their own lives (or perhaps wasting their lives) to even notice if you’re wasting yours – instead of living the life you’ve always dreamed of.
The good news is you have the power to change your life. I firmly believe you are capable of anything you put your mind to. The question then becomes: will you actually put your mind to it, or let it forever “wait” ?
Personal Development Articles
- Inspirational Quotes About Life
- Lincoln Jordan and other “Famous Failures”
- Best Personal Development Books
- The Harvard 3% Written Goal Study
- Covey’s Time Management Matrix
- How to Stop Wasting Time Online
- How To Get Motivated Motivational Tips Techniques
- Speaking in Public Guide to Overcome Public Speaking Anxiety
- Life Rules: Rules For Life