February 19, 2010

Life's Too Long, Not Too Short

In Seth Godin's interesting new book, Linchpin, he asserts that "life is too short not to do something that matters."  It's not a unique sentiment as many others have expressed similar thoughts for a long time.  It is a popular one, and most people generally nod their heads in agreement upon hearing it.

I would suggest it is wrong.

It's not that life is too short not to do something that matters, it's that life is too long not to do something that matters.  Most predictions suggest we will live longer and work longer, so it is even more imperative that we discover work and create lives that are overflowing with meaning.

Jim Collins talks about it as the intersection of what you can be the best in the world at, what you love doing, and what people will pay you do to.  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi refers to it as flow.  Dan Pink suggests in his new book Drive that it results from autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

I'm not as smart as any of these three guys, but I do know this:  whatever we call this state of being, it results when you live from the inside out and listen to your own values and aspirations rather than conforming to others' expectations and living from the outside in.

And the sooner we accept embrace this fact the more we start racking up the years of a life (and career) worth living.

4 comments:

Eric Garland said...

Embrace it indeed!

Steve said...

Good reminder and great weaving of my favorite thought leaders. However, you are in the same sandbox as the folks sited in your blog. As always ... thanks.

BILLIARDBALL said...

Good thoughts worth pondering.

Margot 119 said...

My great-grandfather retired from the clothing industry at 60, thinking he would have only a few years to live. He lived to be 97, and regretted having retired so early. He didn't find another strong interest.