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In The End We’re All Dead

In The End We’re All Dead

Success to any other animal on this planet is defined in fairly simply terms. If you are alive you are successful, If you get to eat today, bonus. If you get laid.. wow, you’ve hit the jackpot.

Unfortunately, we humans decided to complicate things somewhat.  We define success and failure in very worldly terms. A nicer house, a nicer car more money in the bank. Of course this comes at a cost. The cost usually being that you trade bits of your life away for these material things.

They say time is money. Well that may be so but time is far more important than money. It’s irreplaceable. Once this moment of your life has passed, it is gone forever. What wealthy old man wouldn’t give all he had to be young again?

The great Australian business man Kerry Packer was very ill for the last part of his life. I asked myself, if there was technology available that would allow us to swap bodies, he got my then 30 year old body, I got his and all wealth, would I do it? The answer to that is quite clearly no. No person in their right mind when given the choice so starkly would choose to be old before their time.

However, it’s effectively what we do in society when we spend the better part of our lives slaving away so that we can enjoy a comfortable retirement. And not even for the reward of becoming a billionaire, just for the modest house in the suburbs and a comfortable retirement.

As the Cold Chisel song say “I’ve been working hard, 12 hours a day, but the money I make won’t buy my youth again.”

You see, the thing about time is that when you’re out of time, you’re out of time.  No amount of money will save you. And that is why time is a far more precious resource than money.

“He died penniless” is pretty much a pejorative term in our society. But why? Penniless or a billionaire, he’s arrived at the same destination.

I’m not saying do nothing, I’m not saying be a parasite, because you’re like, you know, too evolved to work.

What I’m saying is that work is usually a large chunk of your life. If you’re not loving it, something has to change. You’re an accountant because your parents suggested it was a safe career path? You’d better love those figures.

There’s a Jim Carrey speech online to a graduating class of the Maharishi University of Management (which I have linked to below) that tells the story of his dad. He says he could have been a comedian, but chose instead the safety of working as an accountant. When Carrey was 12 his father was laid off.  As Carrey said, “you can fail at what you don’t want”.

In the western world, so many of us have so many options available to us, but choose to stick to the safe. I understand that we are hard wired to seek safety. It can be a lot less stressful than forging into the unknown, but make no mistake about, if every day at work is unfulfilling to you, if each day you don’t jump out of bed excited at what you expect to achieve, If you live for the weekends and Wednesday is hump day, you are trading your youth and your life for something far less valuable.

I like the idea that there will be a wonderful afterlife. It’s such a seductive idea. But of course even though we are told many wonderful tales about what happens after death, we don’t know what actually happens. There’s a distinct possibility that when the lights go out, that’s it.

Whether or not that is true, since you don’t actually know what happens when you die, I think it’s a good idea to start treating this life like it’s the only one you have. You can say “I believe in god and an afterlife” all you want. Believing in something does not make it true is it’s not.

You see, the thing is, in the end we are all dead, and nothing we do on this Earth matters. So go out and live the life you want.

Image Source:  ESA/Hubble, CC BY 3.0,


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