“Most of the challenges that we have in our personal lives come from a short-term focus”
The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a series of studies conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In these studies, a child had to choose between receiving a small reward immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a short period, during which the tester left the room and then returned.
Rock bottom is never the end. It’s only the beginning.
“When this ultimate crisis comes… when there is no way out — that is the very moment when we explode from within and the totally other emerges: the sudden surfacing of a strength, a security of unknown origin, welling up from beyond reason, rational expectation, and hope.”
I remember watching one of Jim Rohn’s speeches. He was sharing with the audience the story of being 25, a college graduate, freshly married, and not being able to afford to pay the girl scouts who knocked at his door to sell him cookies.
We fall in love with fairytales because they promise us, “happily ever after.”
One of the most toxic mindsets that we can fall in love with is that of desiring completion. This fantasy that, once we reach the top of the mountain, our lives are going to be perfect.
As I am often too fond of quoting, life is pain. And anyone who tells you differently is trying to sell you something. And make no mistake, some folks make quite a bit of money by selling you this idea, by making you waste your time waiting for the weekend, for a vacation, for retirement, or for heaven.
There is no completion. There is no top of the mountain.
They say we are capable of experiencing millions of different mental states, yet we waste most of our life cycling through the same five or six of them.
There are around 200 countries in the world, yet one in five people never travel to another country. They also tend to die within a fifty-mile radius of where they were born.
The average person spends eight hours per day sleeping, six hours watching television, and more hours than I’d care to count rewatching the same movies and TV shows, reading the same books over and over again.
The average woman will kiss 15 men, enjoy two long-term relationships, and have her heartbroken twice before she finds someone she can settle with. The average woman will have seven sexual partners, while the average man ten.
I have wasted three years of my life wishing for someone who didn’t love me to come back.
I only ever traveled to England for a total of ten days. Once.
I, too, have rewatched the same movies, over and over again, with different people or all by myself.
And I, too, have been reading The Great Gatsby once a year ever for the past decade or so.
But more tragically than all of that, I have wasted an awful lot of time vacationing on Someday Island.
“Someday I’ll be a published author. Someday I’ll find the love of my life. Someday I’ll be financially free.”
And you know what makes someday such a perverse word? We often couple it with “if only.”
We lose hope before we even embark on the journey.
And that’s how we waste our time.
The truth is that life’s a beautiful thing. Yeah, life’s pain. But it’s the kind of pain that reminds you that you are alive.
It would be quite terrible to live forever because then we’d all be kings and queens of procrastination.
You’re going to die. And I don’t say this to make you panic or anything. The panic will grow inside you, as your time runs out, as you grow tired and weary and unable to do what you’ve always wanted to do but postponed.
“Every struggle is like mud — there are always some lotus seeds waiting to sprout.” ― Amit Ray
I am writing these words to you, who are struggling. I am writing these words to let you know that this is the moment when you want your dream to come true, but it doesn’t.
You gave it your best shot, but it didn’t happen.
And this dream of yours, it could be anything. Writing a book, starting a business, landing a new job, losing a few extra pounds, or finding your soulmate.
It’s what you want to be doing, what you know you should be doing, but you’re struggling. You want to throw in the towel.
Because it’s not working out. It’s all setbacks and restlessness and this pitch darkness when you think about the future. It’s no visible progress. It’s fear and anger and bitterness and envy, all mixed up together, all demons afraid of each other.
Maybe that’s not your thing, after all? Or are you paying your dues?
Are you wasting your time or are you on the way to success?
In AD 65, Seneca the Younger was ordered to take his own life by the Roman Emperor Nero. Seneca followed tradition by severing several veins in order to bleed to death, while also ingesting poison.
This order was a response to Seneca’s supposed involvement in a conspiracy to assassinate Nero. Former consul and advisor to the emperor and one of the richest and most powerful men in Rome, Seneca decided to embody his philosophy to the very end. He accepted his fate with calm, even though those around him urged him to plea for his life.
While Seneca’s words of wisdom touched on countless aspects of life, he is perhaps best remembered for his piercing thoughts on the value of time.
This wisdom is relevant to this day, or maybe even more so, as we live in a world that makes it easy to lose track of time as we immerse ourselves in countless micro-distractions.
Carpe diem, as the Romans used to say, is an art that needs tinkering with as we do our best to seize time, rather than waste it.
When I was a kid, I thought I was destined for great things. I was born on Christmas Day, exactly one year after they shot Ceausescu, the only ruler of a Communist country to ever be executed. Now, in the same spot, they’re building a shopping mall.
Maybe because I was born when I was born, I don’t really listen to what other people tell me I should do. I never did.
I don’t like authority. I don’t like to follow rules.
I am not afraid of the consequences of not doing what I am told. I am not where I’d like to be in life because I don’t like most people. I have long suspected they don’t like me back.
I am a rebel without a cause, garnering a bit of applause here and there from those who read my stories.