Crippled CEO Blog #092:
I have 10-15 years of life left.
There is a possibility that I might live longer, but it is far more likely that I don’t.
That means I probably have 10 summers left. I’m only going to experience 10 more Christmas vacations. 10 more New Year’s Eve celebrations. 10 more Fourth of July‘s. And so on.
I’m pretty much okay with this, but I do think about it, and knowing this reality helps me make decisions in my life. I thought you might find some of the rules I follow as a result of this applicable for your own life, because while the focus is sharper when the time is so finite, the reality is that we all have limited time. I’m just more distinctly aware of mine.
One. I don’t do things that I don’t want to do unless there is a huge upside. Period. I’m just not going to waste my time and happiness on unnecessary things that suck. And I have found out by doing this that the things you skip, that you thought people would be devastated over, or your career would be ruined, etc., turn out to be not that big of a deal usually.
Two. Only top tier people get to be in my life. If I’m only having 10 more New Year’s Eve parties, I’m not wasting one with lame people. I’m not filling my days with pointless irritants and stupid drama. Pro tip: you have to be an awesome person to attract awesome people. And you can’t become an awesome person with awful people around you. There might be a spot between getting rid of the bad and attracting the good where you are on your own. This is scary, but it’s temporary, and it’s worth it.
Three. I don’t get upset about things that don’t matter. It is a lot harder to care about what so-and-so said when I know that I’m dying soon.
Four. I ask for and go after things that I want. Why not? What’s the worst that could happen? I’m going to die either way, and I would regret not trying a whole lot more.
Five. I really appreciate the good times and I try to live in them as much as possible. I try to make a point of calling out particularly great experiences, so they get remembered and catalogued that way. I know that I’m going to need those memories when things start to decline. My life is great right now, but it’s going to get bad before it ends. Realizing this makes appreciating what I have much easier.
Six. I think about the impact I’m going to leave behind. It is easier to selflessly give (time, money, energy) when you know that the benefits from that will live on in the recipients after you’re gone.
Seven. I set up an estate plan. Even if you don’t think you’re dying anytime soon, this is important. Jennifer Gomez is my estate attorney and my friend. If you own stuff and think you might die eventually, you should contact her and get everything squared away.
Eight. I create things, like this blog, so that the people who care about me or want my advice can come back to it in the future.
Nine. I imagine my funeral, and I try to be the kind of person who will inspire people to get up, walk to the front of the room, stand behind a podium, in front of a (hopefully large) crowd, and say great things about. Maybe hearing person after person telling previously unknown stories of acts of kindness will nudge someone else in the audience to do the same.
Ten. I do work that matters. It’s not an accident that all of my businesses help people — both through the products we sell, and the way we treat our work family. Every day, I work on growing these businesses happily knowing that other people will get to experience the lion’s share of the rewards. And I do it with people who see the bigger picture, who know that doing the right thing is always the right thing, and whose company I am privileged to keep each day.
That’s it. I hope at least a couple of these are useful to you even if you’re not planning on kicking the bucket anytime soon. We are all dying. We should live our lives like we know we are.
(Do you know who’s trying to kill me every night? Your mom. I’ll be lucky if I make it 10 years at this rate with her. She also signed up to get a text message from me each week, that way she sees every blog before I’m gone. You can do the same. Just send a text to the number 484848 with the word CRIP as the message and voila! A link each week to the new blog post.)