The Days May Feel Long, But Life Isn’t

The pace of life is fascinating. There are occasions where I feel as if I have no grip over the incredible speed at which time flies. During those times, I wish I could slow down and take a deep breath. The converse often also occurs; where I feel like the day is moving so slowly and all I want is to wake up tomorrow and start anew.

Sometimes, we forget about the present. We forget how important our time is. We forget to enjoy. We forget to laugh. We forget to do what makes us happy.

We forget to make each and every day count. 

This is a great quote from Sam Altman‘s reflection that summarizes the importance of our times and how “we” should spend it:

2) Life is not a dress rehearsal—this is probably it.  Make it count.  Time is extremely limited and goes by fast.  Do what makes you happy and fulfilled—few people get remembered hundreds of years after they die anyway.  Don’t do stuff that doesn’t make you happy (this happens most often when other people want you to do something).  Don’t spend time trying to maintain relationships with people you don’t like, and cut negative people out of your life.  Negativity is really bad.  Don’t let yourself make excuses for not doing the things you want to do.

When we are kids, all we have is time. It’s hard to realize how precious our time is, especially as a young person. And so, we go through life adding responsibilities to our days hoping they will make us happier. But we never know if what we are doing is making us “happiest” or most “content.” That’s why life is a journey. We are constantly testing and iterating over our own versions of ourself.

It’s critical to keep doing that. To keep learning not only about others and the world around you but also about ourselves. No one can make us happier than we can, in the same way that no one can make us more upset than ourselves.

Our actions are the most powerful thing on this earth. It’s what we do that counts. It’s not what we talk or tweet about. It’s about what we do. Our ideas turn into the best products in the world. Our actions create impact.

I wake up every morning because I know there is so much more that I can do. 

Altman’s advice embodies this urgency:

7) Don’t waste time.  Most people waste most of their time, especially in business.

15) Don’t worry so much.  Things in life are rarely as risky as they seem.  Most people are too risk-averse, and so most advice is biased too much towards conservative paths.

17) If you think you’re going to regret not doing something, you should probably do it.  Regret is the worst, and most people regret far more things they didn’t do than things they did do.  When in doubt, kiss the boy/girl.

24) Do new things often.  This seems to be really important.  Not only does doing new things seem to slow down the perception of time, increase happiness, and keep life interesting, but it seems to prevent people from calcifying in the ways that they think.  Aim to do something big, new, and risky every year in your personal and professional life.

32) Be a doer, not a talker.

36) The days are long but the decades are short.

I’ve found that doing is the universal equalizer. In a perfect world, yes, anyone (given enough time) can do anything. We do not live in a perfect world. There are many problems. Yes I’m aware that I am saying this from a privileged bias. But I still believe that doers make the most out of life. Making the most out of life, depending who you ask, can mean anything. To me, the most important, yet not directly traceable, metrics are:

  • Happiness & Impact

If I can accomplish both…then, I’ll be able to help more people and have incredible experiences with the people I care most about.

Our time is limited. Enjoy every moment and do as much as you can to create impact.

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