Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone…The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials.
Ok, time to ‘fess up. I’m lazy. Push comes to shove I believe you are too. Only I think I get the joke most others often miss.
Since God bounced Adam and Eve from the garden, we’ve all been looking for ways to get back into His good graces, simplify things, and avoid the tedious work that is “life.” We’ve accomplished this over the intervening half dozen millenniums of time by creating innovative ways to minimize work and thereby improve our quality of life in the interest of having more time.. Historically, some civilizations, societies and individuals have been more successful than others in this regard. We in America lead the pack.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I go out of my way to avoid work. In fact, I work very hard chasing my dreams. I relish the challenges of critical thinking and creative problem solving necessary to make a difference, increase efficiency, and reduce tedious busy work so that I can have more time to do, well, whatever… Therefore, when the opportunity presents itself, I find myself tackling new projects from the perspective of, “if I do it right I may not have to do it over .” And, if I do have to repeat myself, it should be faster and easier – next time. But, if I work smart I may never have to do it again. Then I’ll have all the time in the world!
Not revolutionary thinking by any means. But, it satisfies the dream…
As Yutang so eloquently puts it, the art in life is in eliminating “the non-essentials,” or as I like to say, differentiating what really matters from false urgencies others in society impose upon us. Why? Because as I head toward my twilight years I simply haven’t the time or patience to perform meaningless, unnecessarily redundant tasks that do not have purpose because some ass-hole was too lazy to conjure up an occasional original thought. I love the irony… Regardless, if the job becomes particularly tedious or non-essential I will let it go and try another track with hope that this one will prove fruitful and my time spent will be more enjoyable and productive. I would rather risk it all, pulling the pin over and over again, than pursue something I can’t enjoy well into the future. I will no longer waste time I will never get back chasing a paycheck.
Granted, most of us need income to live. I am no different. Unfortunately, we become trapped into that vicious cycle, living to work. To the dismay of many close to me, I fight hard not to end up in those shackles and am often misunderstood. Others make sacrifices and delay gratification in the prime of life in the interest of having more time later on to pursue their dreams– only to reminisce about the good old days, days long gone when they would have been better able to enjoy the adventure. No thanks. While I believe in delayed gratification, I also believe in taking calculated risks. I’d rather take a swipe at the brass ring early and often, living one day at a time, and fall on my ass — too often it seems– (but that’s a subject for another day) rather than looking back at a life of wasted years wondering what might have been if only I had tried… Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of regrets. But chasing my dreams is not one of them. But that’s not what this is about either.
I want to work to live. Not live to work.
Much has been written about “time”. It is a very interesting and precious commodity. Like the air we breath and the water we depend on for life, we so easily take our time with others we care for for granted too. Here is an interesting question to ask yourself, or better yet a loved one, to see if what you are doing and how you spend your time is truly meaningful to each of you: If we knew this would be our last day, week, month or year together how would we make the most of our time?
What then would really matter? What would you wisely leave undone?