Vail Daily column: Start building something
“Lack of direction, not lack of time, is the problem. We all have 24-hour days.” — Zig Ziglar
I’m willing to bet that in the next two minutes you will look at your cell phone. I would also wager that I’ll be right about 90 percent of the time. The world has changed in just a few short years, and with the changes come the additional opportunities of being a focused person in an unfocused time — let’s see if that’s you.
I remember owning a flip phone on which I had to press the same button multiple times in order to select a specific letter for a text. I didn’t even get good at texting until about four or five years ago when the keyboards on smartphones actually became more intuitive. I recall thinking that buying a keyboard adapter for my phone was a time-saving tool. You remember those rubber roll-out keyboards that you could plug into your phone? Yikes.
While I’m writing this out, I’m sitting in a local coffee shop in which 10 percent of the people present are talking to each other. Out of the corner of my eye I can see the indicator light for my own phone which sits on the table beside me. It flashes at me every few seconds. Though I turned the sound off on my phone forever about three years ago, I can barely resist the urge to pick it up and check the waiting messages.
We live in a world of distraction. The average person today will not fail because of lack of resources, but because of lack of focus.
I am constantly shocked at the sheer number of individuals that have never taken more than a few seconds to think about the long-term plan of their lives. More often, I bump into individuals who are so tied up in the minor distractions of life that they can’t even handle the potential of a real life-changing moment.
For instance (and please excuse me if this seems harsh), did you intentionally plan to end up doing for work what you are doing right now? Most did not. Do you understand what your life’s legacy will be? Most do not. Have you planned at least a few hours of every day to work on your life instead of your work? Most have not.
If not this, then what? If not now, then when? If not you, then who? The entire structure of this world and all the machinations in it was created by people of past generations that had as many hours in the day and as many thoughts in their heads as you now have. What are you doing with your time? Mine is limited.
Welcome to the scariest realization of life. I had my moment about 10 years ago as an assistant hospital chaplain. I would sit next to hospital beds of the dying as a 20-year-old and try to help others feel a sense of fulfillment. The worries were so constant. So many unfulfilled lives. Have you had your moment yet?
You really only have two options from here. You could always assuage this lingering emotion by filling your life with endless amounts of temporary and empty pleasure. Buy yourself a new widget, some new shoes, a new car. Find a new girl, a new hobby, a new God.
Or — and this is a big or — you could begin today to perform the necessary actions to build a life of meaning and fulfillment. You could build a life around relationships which build and sustain. You could do a great good, whether that great good is an invention, a child or a message that will ring true for generations. You could build something — something which has endless meaning for you and for thousands if not millions of others. You could consciously choose to live a life that happens once in every hundred years. Are you the one?
I still hesitate to talk like this, even after I feel that I have taken the time to be internally and externally consistent on the topic. I suppose I’m not too worried about what the masses think anymore. I’m just trying to reach you, whoever you are at this moment. It’s you that was supposed to read this. A message in a bottle, thrown into the ocean of this world.
Yes, I know there might be more than a few of us. There just might be a whole army of us that feel this way, but you must self-select. For what it’s worth, I’ll keep the lighthouse going.
Benjamin A. Gochberg was once a banker. He now lives full time. He can be reached for inquiries, business and questions at 801-725-7344 and at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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