In the long run, we’re all dead’.
Not my words. That’s the first chapter heading in Four Thousand Weeks, by Oliver Burkeman.
On average we all only have Four Thousand Weeks. Our time on earth is limited, so how can we do everything we want to do?
So far, so depressing right?
But the overall theme of this book is that when we come to terms with the fact that life is short, and focus on the things that REALLY matter to us, we set ourselves free.
Burkeman says we won’t have time to do all the things we dream of doing. And that wouldn’t bring us satisfaction anyway. If we let go of the fantasy of getting it all done, we can focus on the few things that count.
I love this quote:
“It turns out that when people make enough money to meet their needs, they just find new things to need… they never quite manage to keep up with the Joneses, because whenever they’re in danger of getting close, they nominate new and better Joneses with whom to try to keep up.”
I followed Four Thousand Weeks with a book called Limitless, by Jim Kwik. It teaches the polar opposite. It was the Yang to Burkeman’s Yin.
Kwik (apt name) wants us to do it ALL as efficiently as possible, offering productivity hacks and time management techniques.
Read at speed, remember all the facts, be as productive as a superhero. Turbocharge your learning and get shit done!
Do it all! Do it NOW!
Back to Burkeman…
The truth is there will be no moment in the future where you’ll have finished everything. So decide what your priorities are and do a little bit of that every single day.
All we know for sure is the present moment. So stop postponing the real meaning of your existence into the future and do something about it now.
“Where’s the logic in constantly postponing fulfilment until some later point in time when soon enough you won’t have any ‘later’ left?”
Depressing? Perhaps. A wake up call? Definitely.
Tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
I recommend you read them both, and decide which philosophy is for you.
Does this resonate with you? What will you start today?