I wanted to write some more about carpe diem. After all, we have just started a new year and that always seems like a good time to intend to change and improve things in our lives. That’s always part of the problem as well, we intend to, we have good intentions, we will try harder. But part of the proper response is to DECIDE to, to CHOOSE to, to have a determined heart to actually do what we know we should and what we want to do.
I found a new book through a pod-cast by Andy Andrews, and it only took about an hour to read. Well, maybe it was a little more with the highlighting and note making. It’s a book many have described as “life-changing,” and has the potential to do just that, if you so decide. The title is 20,000 Days and Counting, by Robert D. Smith. He got to his mid-50’s and at the point of having lived 20,000 days took a 48 hour retreat to plan his next 20,000 days. Then he wrote this book to share his insights.
Last week I shared that the phrase carpe diem comes from the ancient Roman poet Horace, and that the full statement would be translated: “pluck the day, putting as little trust as possible in the next day.” We use it to say that we should live life to the fullest and make the most of our limited time on this earth. In the book 20,000 Days, Smith shares another quote of Horace: “Take care of the things you need to take care of today.” It sounds like Horace was warning us about procrastination, which I also discussed recently. Another ancient Roman, Seneca, said “It’s not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.”
We don’t find time to do anything; we have to make time to do what is important. I reflect on how much time I make to do unimportant things, especially when there are some important goals I am not making progress on. And wasted time is gone forever. That’s a major lesson from this book for me – I’ve lived well over 20,000 days so far and I can honestly say there is a lot of time I feel I have wasted. So, what am I going to do to waste less time in the future and accomplish more of my goals? I AM going to complete the exercises I mentioned in More About Great Bosses, from the book Mastering the Seven Decisions. I AM going to do the exercises in 20,000 Days, and I AM going to take steps to make the principles of both a part of my daily life. I believe this will significantly change my life for the better.
Another idea from the book is that the whole concept of motivation is a myth. That is, it is false that a person must first find motivation and become motivated to then accomplish something and become more productive. Instead, you need to take action and increase your productivity, and then the motivation will follow and increase as well.
Do you feel you need help getting motivated and conquering procrastination? Try reading 20,000 Days and reflect on your limited time and what you need to do today to be able to look back without regrets at the end of your life.