In this content, I will try to answer the question: “What life do you live: an urgent life or an Important life”?
There are moments throughout our lives, and they happen almost every day, where we catch a glimpse of what we are capable of, a flicker of what we are destined to be, or a hint of what we desire to become.
It could be a burst of inspiration for that book we always wanted to write. Or the yearning to finally lose the extra weight. Or the feeling of dissatisfaction with our job and an urge to build something of our own.
These are important desires and they call to us all the time. But right before we answer their call, the urgency of life tends to get in the way. Your phone rings. Your car is low on gas. Your boss drops a tight deadline on you. And so we delay our dreams one more day for the sake of putting out another fire.
How do we get past this? How do we start living the life that’s important to us instead of just responding to the everyday emergencies?
The next ten years of your life
Think about this: you’re going to spend the next 10 years doing something.
Too often that something is responding to what is urgent instead of pursuing what is important.
Too often the need to make money (urgent) wins out over the desire to build something we’re proud of (important). Too often the urge to find a way to lose twenty pounds in six weeks (urgent) wins out over becoming the type of person who doesn’t miss workouts (important). Too often the craving to be noticed or appreciated (urgent) wins out over the ability to be present and satisfied (important).
Sure, we all need money. And yes, there are times when the world requires us to put important things on hold so that we can get the rest of our crazy lives under control. Handling responsibilities is part of life. But how long will you delay what’s important to you just so that you can handle the next urgent thing in front of you? How long will you put off what you’re capable of doing just to maintain what you’re currently doing?
Will you wait a year? Five years? Your whole life?
Too often we live our lives based on what is urgent for us and not what is important to us. It’s dangerously easy to spend years constantly chasing the next urgent thing and never setting aside time to do what we know we should.
How to overcome the urgency of everyday life?
If you want to start living an important life, then choose a clear direction for yourself. When you have the courage to say, “This is important to me and I’m going after it,” you don’t fall into the trap of living the life that other people expect you to live.
If I know that my unwavering goal is to finish this article, then that goal gives me direction and purpose. Whenever I have a free moment, I write another text. Whenever I get a new idea, I automatically think about how it relates to accomplishing my goal of finishing this text. My life is organized around accomplishing this specific, important task.
We all have urgent tasks each day — a phone call we have to take, an email we need to respond to, a sick friend we have to help — but having a clear purpose and a specific goal allows you to get right back to what is important after you respond to the everyday emergencies. A specific goal gives you direction and prevents you from being sucked into a whirlwind of time–consuming, unimportant tasks.
A specific goal is different than a desire, and that’s crucial to understand. Wanting to get in shape is a desire, doing 100 push ups in a row is a specific goal. Wanting to start your own business is a desire, securing three paying clients is a specific goal. Wanting to write a book is a desire, finishing the first chapter is a specific goal.
Live an important life
Nothing worth working for will ever seem urgent. That’s the nature of important goals. They don’t demand attention right now. They require a sense of purpose, a clear direction, and consistency over the long haul.
I propose that we stop letting the seeds of greatness slip through our fingers. I say that we abandon the frantic rush towards mediocre and start the slow march towards greatness.
Pick one thing that’s important to you, set a specific goal for yourself, and get started today.
Never leave your dreams unfulfilled.
The easiest way to live a short, unimportant life
Text in the New York Times shared research on longevity that revealed that the people who live the longest not only live healthy lifestyles, but also tend to engage and connect with the people around them. They visit their neighbors. They teach classes in town. They pass down traditions to their children.
In other words, they contribute to the world around them.
The article didn’t come out and say it, but what it alluded to was that as people age, they tend to find themselves consuming more and creating less. To put it bluntly: the easiest way to live a short unimportant life is to consume the world around you rather than contribute to it.
Meanwhile, the people who keep on contributing tend to be the ones who keep on living. The message was clear. People who contribute to their community live longer.
But why is this true? And how can you apply it to your own life?
How do prisoners of war stay alive?
Prisoners of war who have managed to survive the most brutal conditions will often claim one of the most important factors in survival is not food or water, but a sense of dignity and self–worth. In other words, the only thing that keeps some men alive in the most dire of circumstances is the belief that they are worthy of being alive.
Applying this to our daily lives, it makes sense that longevity would be prevalent in cultures where contribution is baked into everyday life. For example, let’s take a culture where it’s common to go to your neighbor’s house and talk each night. During a face–to–face conversation, you have to either contribute or sit silently in the corner like a weirdo.
The act of contributing to a conversation, no matter how simple it seems, allows you to derive a small sense of self–worth. Being a meaningful part of conversation makes you feel like were a worthwhile part of your neighbor’s life. When you add up all of your small contributions to the many conversations over the years, it’s easy to see how you can develop a strong sense of self–worth when you live in a culture where contribution is typical.
You alter the course of other’s lives by what you create and contribute. When you speak or write or act, you influence the people around you. When you contribute something to the world, you matter. And thus the act of creating enhances your feelings of self–worth.
That’s important and it’s often lost online. It’s becoming increasingly easy to spend our time-consuming rather than contributing. Smartphones, iPad s, and Kindles. Twitter and Facebook. The web in general. Most of the time we spend on those devices and networks is spent consuming what someone else has created rather than contributing our own ideas and work.
The result, I believe, is that our sense of self–worth slowly dwindles and our lives become less healthy, less happy, and less meaningful.
When you cease to make a contribution, you begin to die.
As you know, this website is not only about living a long, healthy life but also about doing something with it. And this new research is great news if you’re looking to make a difference. Creating and contributing to the world is not only a foundational piece of living a healthy and happy life, but also a meaningful one.
You can’t control the amount of time you spend on this planet, but you can control what you contribute while you’re here. These contributions don’t have to be major endeavors. Cook a meal instead of buying one. Play a game instead of watching one. Write a paragraph instead of reading one. You don’t have to create big contributions, you just need to live out small ones each day.
Too often we spend our lives visiting the world instead of shaping it.
Be an adventurer, an inventor, an entrepreneur, an artist. Suggest your own ideas instead of reacting to everyone else’s. Be an active participant in life and contribute to the world around you. Make good conversation. Make good art. Make good adventure. But above all, make something.
Contributing and creating doesn’t just make you feel alive, it keeps you alive.
How to be happy: a surprising lesson on happiness from an African tribe
We would all love to learn how to be happy. And sometimes, the solution comes from a surprising place.
Let me tell you a story…
There was an anthropologist who had been studying the habits and culture of a remote African tribe.
He had been working in the village for quite some time and the day before he was to return home, he put together a gift basket filled with delicious fruits from around the region and wrapped it in a ribbon. He placed the basket under a tree and then he gathered up the children in the village.
The man drew a line in the dirt, looked at the children, and said, “When I tell you to start, run to the tree and whoever gets there first will win the basket of the fruit.”
When he told them to run, they all took each other’s hands and ran together to the tree. Then they sat together around the basket and enjoyed their treat as a group.
The anthropologist was shocked. He asked why they would all go together when one of them could have won all the fruits for themselves?
A young girl looked up at him and said, “How can one of us be happy if all the other ones are sad?”
How to be happy: Ubuntu
Years later, the well-known South African activist Desmond Tutu would describe the little girl’s thought process by using the word Ubuntu, which means “I am because we are.”
Here’s how Tutu explained the concept:
We believe that a person is a person through other persons.
“Africans have a thing called Ubuntu. We believe that a person is a person through other persons. That my humanity is caught up, bound up, inextricably, with yours. When I dehumanize you, I dehumanize myself. The solitary human being is a contradiction in terms. Therefore, you seek to work for the common good because your humanity comes into its own in community, in belonging.”
This is exactly the type of philosophy that our community embraces.
“Your humanity comes into its own in community, in belonging.”
In our little community here, we each have our own goals and mission. Some of us are working to lose weight and get healthy. Others are striving to gain muscle and feel happier. But regardless of our individual pursuits, we are always a team grinding towards greatness. We are a group of people on a quest to make the world better, not just different. We support each other.
We believe that there is always room at the top. We believe in abundance and we work hard to make life great for everyone in our community. We walk to the tree and enjoy the fruit together.
Happiness comes from combining what we love to do with something that is meaningful. In this community, our goal is to improve your health and happiness so that you can do what you love and contribute something that is meaningful. We believe that we are here to make the world a better place, and we think that happy and healthy people have a better chance to do that than anyone else. That’s why we share ways to naturally lose fat and gain muscle, reduce stress and feel happier, and boost your energy and creativity.
If you choose to share your journey with us and work towards your goals as part of our team, then you’ll find thousands people who support you. That’s because we find value in community. We find our humanity in belonging.
I hope you liked the content about life?
If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comments!
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