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Life is Not a To-Do List

Day 092/366 - To Do List
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Tony Case via Compfight

Have you ever looked at your life and thought to yourself “damn I should have accomplished more than this by now.” I know I certainly have. I still do from time to time.

It’s really easy to look at your life and say “is that all?”   Of course that’s not all, but when we’re not where want to be with our lives that’s what we focus on. We’re ALWAYS trying to get somewhere other than where we’re at.  But if  all we’re doing is waiting to arrive at our destination we’ll never learn to enjoy the journey.

Let’s say you hop on a plane to somewhere in Southeast Asia.  Well it’s a damn long flight. Would you insist on being miserable the entire flight?  Of course not. There are a number of things you could do the make it enjoyable

  1. Have a drink, or two, or three
  2. Join the Mile High Club (if that’s your thing)
  3. Become friends with the person sitting next to you (if they’re the opposite sex, reverse 2 and 3)

My friend AJ Leon says that half of what makes a great story is the ups and downs. Imagine if the story of somebody’s life went like this

On the tombstone of that guy we could write “HE WAS BORED OUT OF HIS F#$#ING MIND.”  There’s a fine line between adventure and adversity. As I’ve said a million times when you feel like you’re on the verge of a breakdown you’re probably around the corner from a breakthrough. The problem is most people never get past the breakdown in order to get to the breakthrough. They let the breakdown define them rather than breakthrough.

Some days I seriously feel like I’m losing my mind. I feel like things are not moving quickly enough and nothing is right. (Usually it’s when I haven’t been surfing for multiple days in a row). But when I get in the water it puts everything back in perspective. Everything just kind of flows. Words, ideas, and insights, just happen with no effort whatsoever.

Why Experiences Trump Accolades and Accomplishment

Many of us rush through life trying to pad our resumes with every possible accomplishment

When we start to view those thing solely as accomplishments instead of the wonderful experiences they are, life becomes a never ending to do list with items that we’re trying to cross off.  It’s what I’ve realized is the vicious cycle of accomplishment.  The result is that we are never truly fulfilled because we always feel like something is missing from our life.

Caught up in the continual desire for accomplishment, we lose our presence. We miss out on today because we’re living for tomorrow.  We go into a “when” mindset

It infuses every area our lives and we completely lose sight of the fact that presence is the key to peak performance.

Treating life like a to do list makes it difficult to experience gratitude.  We become taskmasters instead of students in the school of life.  So how do we stop treating life as a to-do list?

Make a List of Your Experiences Instead of your Accomplishment

Graduated from College (accomplishment)

Started a blog and grew it (accomplishment)

Experiences trump the accolades every single time

When we start to view our lives through the lens of experiences as opposed to accomplishment they become richer and fulfilling.  You can’t put a price on experiences.

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