Change your priorities and you change your life.

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Change your priorities and you change your life. It’s that simple. (But it isn’t easy)

Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” — Confucius

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Change your priorities and you change your life. It's that simple.

Expiration date

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” — Oscar Wilde

Are there things you want to do in life? Fears you want to overcome?

Would it change your approach knowing you only had a year to live?

We may not ever know our exact expiration date, but we all have one. And for some of us, it’s closer than we think. This isn’t a pessimistic way of looking at things, it’s a fact. But it’s something we often choose to ignore until it’s too late.

If you truly intend to live life to the fullest , I think it’s vitally important to remind yourself every once in a while — if not daily — that you’re dying.

It may not be the sort of thing you generally find yourself wanting to think about, but by refusing to face this fact, we run the risk of wasting enormous amounts of time getting caught up in things that ultimately provide us with very little value or substance in our lives.

There are more things to do and places to see in the world than any single person could possibly do in a lifetime. So already, our lives and what we choose to experience is a compromise.

A typical lifetime may seem like a lot of time, but time passes faster than one thinks. Adding to this is the fact that we are only teenagers briefly. We will only be in our 20’s once. Our 30’s once. Our 40’s and so on, ONCE.

To think you have time to put everything off to see and do and appreciate until later in life is an illusion.

And then there’s the fact that we only get one body. And it has to last a lifetime. If that’s not an incentive to stay healthy and treat your body well, I don’t know what is. But hey, if you’re not fit or healthy, it’s not too late to try to be.

We get a brain, which we can fill with any number of amazing facts and memories of real-life experiences and not just what we watched on TV. But the brain is like a muscle, the less we use it, the less efficient it becomes.

The fact is, every single day that passes is a day of our life we are trading for it. And we’ll never get it back. You can never get more time, you can only manage it more effectively by living with intention.

This is not to suggest that anyone should act irresponsibly, spend money they don’t have, or live with reckless abandon.

Reminding yourself that every day has value and every day that passes is another day closer to your expiration date can provide the perspective & motivation necessary to help you prioritize your life in a way that reflects the kind of person you truly want to be.

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” — Steve Jobs

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Your life is a Do It Yourself project.

Your life is a Do It Yourself project.

Your life is a Do It Yourself project.

But if you’re lucky and you’re kind, you might just find a few people who will be more than willing to help you along the way.

Because you would do the same for them.

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Liar liar

A lie is still a lie even when you use it to comfort someone. Tell the truth, even if it hurts.

This has nothing to do with deliberately hurting someone or offering unsolicited feedback. This is about being honest & telling the truth in the course of a conversation and relationship.

If you have a problem with “Tell the truth, even if it hurts”, then know that what you’re essentially saying is that it’s okay for people to lie to you, as long as the lie appeals to your ego and sense of worth.

If you want to build a relationship based on false beliefs and miscommunication, then lying to a person because it makes them feel better — or makes you feel better about yourself — is an excellent way to accomplish this.

Not only is this not an open or honest way to communicate, it is one of the reasons why so many friendships and marriages fail. Because rather than truly address and resolve issues, friends or couples choose to cover them up with “little white lies.”

Liar:

  • 1. a person who tells lies.

Note how it doesn’t say anything about the size of the lie or whether it makes someone feel better.

“But they can’t handle the truth!”

Right. So catering to someone’s weakness and lying becomes acceptable? Is this how you would want someone to treat you in the same situation? You would prefer that they fill your head with a lie rather than tell you the truth? And you think that’s what real friends do?

Real friendships are built on honesty and trust.

Real friends don’t have to agree on everything or like all the same things to get along. Real friends will give each other shit and it doesn’t matter. Why? Because of trust.

Real friends are not afraid of talking to each other when something is wrong. Real friends know that they can always count on each other when it matters (it always matters).

Real friendship doesn’t involve appealing to the other person’s weaknesses or ego by lying.

Lying to people to comfort them is not the answer. We need people to be stronger rather than cater to their weaknesses. Remember, no one can make you feel bad without your consent.

Yes, there is a time and a place for all conversations. And no, not saying anything is not the same thing as blatantly lying, but not saying something or leaving out details (the whole truth) can be a form of lying.

Sometimes the answer to improving relationships isn’t to talk more or pretend to be more interested. Sometimes it’s simply to be truly honest and open.

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Real friendships are built on honesty and trust.

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*Supplemental:

A) “What do you think about my [horrid] outfit?”
It’s not really my cup of tea, but if you like it, that’s all that really matters…

B) “Do you think this shirt makes me look fat?”
I think there are other outfits that might look better on you…

C) “Don’t you just love this new thing I got?”
I can’t say I love it like you do, but I’m glad it makes you happy.

D) “Do you love me?”
*yawn* Oh gosh, look at the time… hey, is that a giant mutant radioactive squirrel in the yard!? O_O

See. You don’t have to lie.

I’m not saying these are the best responses, but if you are truly friends with someone, there is nothing in these statements that should be considered offensive while getting the point across without lying.

But what’s even better is if you have a relationship where you can say:

A) Gawd, that outfit is ghastly.
B) You look like an elephant, but I still love you.
C) I have no idea why you bought that, but hey, we all have our things.
D) Naw, I don’t love you, I’m just here cause you have cable.

Because if you can get away with that, you probably have yourself a real friend.

“Well, I tried.”

“Well, I tried.”

Yes, today you tried. But what about tomorrow, or the day after that, or the day after that?

The fact is, in the game of life, you don’t always get another chance, but in those times when you do, why wouldn’t you take it?

Success, more often than not, is built upon a foundation of failure.

If you tried and failed, the answer isn’t to stop trying. The answer is — in many cases — to keep trying different things until you succeed. Especially in those things that matter to you the most.

Success is 99 percent failure.” — Soichiro Honda

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Killing Doubt

Parody of a scene from one of the greatest films ever made (The Princess Bride).
© the respective owner(s)

DOUBT: You must be that little American brat I taught a lesson to all those years ago. You’ve tried to overcome me your whole life only to fail now? I think that’s about the worst thing I’ve ever heard. How marvelous.

(ZERO stands up after a knife thrown by DOUBT hits him in the stomach)

DOUBT: Good heavens. Are you still trying to win?

(ZERO falls back against the wall)

DOUBT: You’ve got an overdeveloped sense of determination. It’s going to get you into trouble someday.

(DOUBT draws his sword and lunges at ZERO who weakly parries the blade, into his left shoulder. Again DOUBT lunges at ZERO and the blade is deflected to ZERO’S right arm. The next attempt at a blow, ZERO blocks, and drags himself upright.)

ZERO: Hello. My name is ZERO DEAN. You tried to kill my dreams. Prepare to die.

(He continues to move forward, but slumps onto the table. DOUBT goes on the attack, and ZERO blocks four blows – and starts forward again.)

ZERO: Hello. My name is ZERO DEAN. You tried to kill my dreams. Prepare to die.

(Five more of DOUBT’s blows are handily parried.)

ZERO (louder): Hello! My name is ZERO DEAN. You tried to kill my dreams. Prepare to die.

DOUBT: Stop saying that!

(DOUBT attacks again. ZERO blocks it again, and then stabs DOUBT in the shoulder. Then DOUBT takes a swing at him, which ZERO ducks to come up and stab DOUBT in the other shoulder. Then he advances quickly into a flurry of blows.)

ZERO: Hello! My name is ZERO DEAN! You tried to kill my dreams – prepare to die!

(He knocks DOUBT’s sword aside, and slices his cheek.)

DOUBT: No!

ZERO: Offer me money.

DOUBT: Yes!

ZERO: Power too – promise me that!

(He slices DOUBT’s other cheek)

DOUBT: All that I have and more! Please!

ZERO: Offer me everything I ask for.

DOUBT: Anything you want.

(DOUBT attacks, hoping to catch him by surprise – but ZERO grabs his arm and stabs DOUBT in the stomach)

ZERO: I want to succeed with my integrity intact you son of a bitch.

(ZERO plunges the sword into DOUBT’s gut, finishing it.)

Your attention please

“You just want attention.”

People say this as if it’s inherently bad. It’s not. There is nothing wrong with wanting attention.

Attention is the basis of all marketing and advertising. Attention is what can make or break a product or company. Attention is what every good cause desires.

And if the price of a 30 second Superbowl ad is any indication —

— attention is extremely valuable.

The important part about attention is not so much in wanting it as much as where and what you choose to direct the attention to. Motivation matters.

There is a huge difference between desiring attention solely for your own personal benefit (and ego), and wanting attention in order to have a positive influence on the world at large.

Sadly, many of the people getting the attention — see the tabloid rack or any reality TV show, for example — don’t. And it’s disgusting.

I have a memorable name and an interesting story, and I would be a fool not to use it (where applicable), but I have no interest in fame.

My only real interest in money, beyond just meeting my basic needs (or the needs of my family when I have one), is as a resource to have a larger impact

With one exception…

I also want to bring back the dinosaurs in order to create a giant dinosaur theme park.

But that’s IT!

*And if I still have your attention, please check out these great people, pages, causes, and companies I’ve helped put a spotlight on in the past. These people would love your attention, too.

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Synergy

I take pictures, and I love doing so, but it’s not my life.

I love to travel, and I love adventure, too, but those are not my life either. And I love writing, creating things, and making people laugh.

These things are simply pieces to a much larger puzzle to me. Something that I am more passionate about.

And that is using the unique combination of these, and other skills I have, to make a meaningful and significant positive difference in the world.

But there’s no job title for that.

So no, I don’t really want to be a “photographer” or a “writer” or an “artist”. I truly love these things, but they are simply pieces of something else.

And I have always, always felt this way. I have always felt like I was trying to fit into some premade mold.

While it can work and satisfy many, it doesn’t work for all.

I see the mold. And I can make the mold work. I can even be comfortable in the mold.

But no matter how comfortable I get, I will always feel like there is so much more that I can do.

Not not just “can”, but “should”. That my purpose isn’t to indefinitely play a role that someone else has written. That my purpose is to create my role and then live up to it.

And I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.

I’ve done the “one thing” multiple times. My journey was funded by the one thing. The one thing was comfortable, I did it well, and I could have done it forever, but it was never truly me.

Sometimes life isn’t just about finding that one thing you can do and then doing it the best that you can. Sometimes it’s about taking the individual things that you are good at and using them in a way to create something that is much larger and more powerful than the sum of its parts.

Synergy.

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” — Vincent Van Gogh

It’s not easy. But I’m convinced it will be worth it.

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