Life is too much important a thing ever to talk seriously about it. – Oscar Wilde
Life. Be in it. – Australian Government Advertising Campaign
We race towards the end of the year and a decade. When once our lives might have been calming down into holidays, we feel more pressure than ever: pressure to deliver, pressure to be busy, to keep up, to be on, to do more.
Our always on ever present digital companions offer us the options to be absorbed and to be absorbing all the time. Oddly, this pressure to do more, mostly results in less: less satisfaction, less entertainment, less sense of purpose, less fulfilment. We have discovered a digital expectation gap that is ever growing – the difference between what we can see might be and what is.
I was reflecting this morning on my desperate desire to waste a day, when it struck me that I wasn’t planning to waste anything. I was simply allocating my time in a choice that involved celebrating life. Like Norm of the famous Australian government fitness campaign, I wanted to ‘Be in Life’ instead of charging through it. Our time demands more mindful present choices than ever. We can’t be reactive or just carried by the flow of busy. We need to decide. We need to choose the life that suits us best. Every single day.
So in the spirit of prompting reflection on what really matters here are a few prompts that have been guiding me over the last decade on how to Be more in Life:
- Be interested. Not Interesting – Great advice I first heard from Eric Kraus that applies widely in life.
- The Purpose is in the Work – when facing uncertainty, do something and learn. Let your work guide you forward
- Be Present – where else would you want to be?
- Have the Courage to be Disliked – the choices are yours to make and the only expectations that matter are your own
- Focus on the little acts of change – doing something small every day accumulates
- Have the brave conversations – especially those where you give feedback to foster learning, take accountability or foster it in others.
- Don’t compare someone else’s showreel to your own cutting room floor – engage others honestly and discover your value in the world.
- Explore your degrees of freedom and enable them in others – more on this topic to come in 2020.
- Feel free to be human – have fun, be creative, be social, make mistakes, learn and grow.
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do. with your one wild and precious life?” ― Mary Oliver.
“Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.” ― Mary Oliver.
Late Edit Postscript: My one final piece of advice is this: Embrace your potential to be a Dark Horse – we are each unique and we do better to emphasize our uniqueness than battle to be similar.