When was the last time you read a few pages from a non-fiction book? When was the last time you sat, eyes closed with your mind as the only company? When was the last time you wrote how you feel or why and what you’re stressed about or how grateful you are and what are the aspects of your life that you are grateful for? When was the last time you moved your body to positions that added to your health? The right answer ideally is today morning. What is the one thing that you do daily other than eat, sleep, cleanse, and work? Is that a self-building and self-empowering habit or a self-destructive habit?
We all know how we need to live life and what we need to do in order to do so. It’s just that most of us have forgotten the big picture and we live out of compulsion, either due to the herd mentality, pressure due to the system’s culture, or due to internal tendencies/compulsions.
Let me illustrate. Suresh works at a typical corporate 9-to-5 job, looking at numbers that mean nothing to him, it is not fulfilling to him but he pushes through to work because he loves what he gets paid. He even thinks he loves his job because of that or because he blindly believes there isn’t any other way he could earn the same amount of money or even more doing a job that is more fulfilling. Anyway, 9-to-5 is 8 hours, that is 1/3rd of a day. And hence if he stays as an employee for another 30 years, he’d be devoting 10 years of his life to building a company not of his own, probably not of his country even. If one sleeps for 6hrs every night, that is 7.5 years of sleep in the span of 30 years. Eliminating eating and self-cleansing activities (2hrs/day), we’ll be left with 8hrs per day, that is, around 10 years over the span of 30 years. And then we have another huge chunk of time that’s eating away our lives, that is mobile screen time. People, on average spend 2-4 hours on their mobile phones. [Unless of course if you’re already tracking and being mindful about your mobile screen time. My average mobile screen time is 40mins. Min. being 21mins, max. 1hr 25mins. Btw, if you’re not already doing it, track your mobile screen time using the in-built digital well-being app now on most smartphones. If not, there are third-party apps you can try too]. Let’s say Suresh uses his mobile for 2hrs/day, then that amounts to 2.5 years of screen time over the span of 30 years. So that’ll leave us around 7 years left to live, calculated for the span of 30 years.
You get the point I’m trying to convey through this illustration, right? Out of 30 years of “existing”, if one is down to only 7 years of deliberate/conscious living, isn’t this a tragedy?
[ If you’re still not convinced of the “Tragedy”, read the blog: The Tragic Drama]
People are ready to pour hours of time and other human resources into building another’s company but they are too “busy” to devote their time & energy to building themselves into their highest potential.
But there is a way to leave this kind of simply existing and choose conscious, and a life of fulfillment. It is definitely possible and attainable to all.
- First of all, this clarity of the big picture is required. Btw, it’s not finished yet.
- We saw how much time one may have left in proportion to other tasks. But then we need to think about Energy management. Even though you have time, you may not have enough physical or mental energy to enjoy that time. For example, Suresh may come home at 6 PM [oh, by the way, we didn’t calculate any commute time to his workplace & I’m already wondering if he lives at all]. He may have another 4-6 hours left before he sleeps. But what kind of enthusiasm he’ll have if he’s already exhausted at the workplace? That’s when he jumps into the loop of scrolling his iPhone.
- And then there is the mortal nature of us humans that we need to consider. Who knows you’ll live up to 53 years? (assuming Suresh got his job when he was 23). What if you die while working at the age of 30? Or 40? Then you’ll be living even less right? Even though the ratio remains the same.
- I’m not suggesting everyone must switch to jobs that are not 9-to-5. It’s not just about time. Doctors for example work more than 8hrs, maybe even more than 12 hours, but the work they are doing will bring them a sense of purpose and fulfillment because they’re being of great service to people. Of course, this is assuming a genuine doctor who charges reasonably. But yes, switching jobs is also what one must consider. If the job is not fulfilling to you, and you don’t feel like you’re serving enough, then maybe you should find that job that works for you. We saw what a huge part of our lives work takes, what if that huge chunk of time didn’t feel like work at all? What if that was your deliberate way of living? What if your self-growth and professional growth become the same thing? Then it would really tip the scale towards a conscious and fulfilling life, right?
- If we have to tip the scale towards a conscious and fulfilling life, other than the job/work choice, we must give time to ourselves. Self-improvement is self-empowerment. We must make time for Meditating, learning (reading or listening to books and lectures), AnushTAnAs, writing, and other practices that help our growth.
- We must try to become conscious of each activity. Of course, this is easier said than done. That is we must focus on the previous point- trying to make time for such conscious/mindful activities.
- Also, one must become mindful of other activities that are eating away from our lives and eliminate them entirely if possible or avoid them as much as possible or reduce the total time and energy spent on such activities.
Coming back to the first point, If Suresh knew that he was dedicating years of his life to building an MNC company, wouldn’t he think of building a career on his own? A freelancer, or a company of his own? And if he realized all the above points, would his lifestyle still be the same? Would it be money-centric or growth-centric? Wouldn’t he be aligned to serve more? Wouldn’t he be more fulfilled?
We already know this, it’s just we may have forgotten. It’s time to realize!
This may be hard for some of you, because of the choices you’ve already made due to various reasons. But all those reasons, even though varied, have risen from a single node, that is ignorance. Realizing you are in the dark and moving towards light may not be easy but it will be worth it! Start from Scratch, Think, think enough & think again and align & redesign your life to live to the fullest!
Sanath Kumar Naibhi