What do you want to do with your life? I mean what do you really want to do? Are you already doing that? If so, great! If not, what are you waiting for?
If you're waiting for tomorrow you're like many other people who think, often mistakenly, that they will have time later. After they retire, after the kids grow up, after the next big project at work. But, our lives are limited. Ironically, it is that limit that gives our lives meaning. But, only if we do something with them. There's no time to wait which is why we must strive to do our best work every day.
This is the central message of Todd Henry's book. But, his book is more than an exhortation to live your life. It is a practical guide with concrete steps to do just that.
As a philosopher and an educator, there are several of his insights that particularly resonate with me.
Be fiercely curious: Embrace a mindset of being curious about everything in one of two ways. For some things be curious in an in-depth way and try to learn as much as you can about them. Of course, you can't do this for everything. But, don't simply focus on the few things you're intensely curious about. Also, be curious about a wide variety of things and strive for breadth as well.
Step Out of Your Comfort Zone: This can mean different things to different people. If you have something to say, say it. If you've created something, share it. If you've thought about trying something new, try it. If it makes you uncomfortable, this is probably a sign you need to stretch yourself a little. It might help to state what you want to do and make that public. This will provide you with an extra incentive to complete it.
Find your voice: Start by taking small steps towards your goals. Each small, calculated risk you take towards your goal is a chance to conquer the fear you have of failing. And, what if you end up failing? So what. At least you've moved forward.
I see so many of my students holding back every day, unwilling to take chances, stand up and say what they think, ask questions, and do something that matters. Henry's message is tailor-made for them. It's time to recognize that, as Seth Godin put it, "you've been given an opportunity." The question is: Are you going to take it? Are you going to leave something in the tank when your time comes or are you going to "die empty?"
KEVIN J. BROWNE
Philosopher / Educator