A philosophical leader of the Roman Empire once said: “Perfection of character is this: to live each day as if it were your last, without frenzy, without apathy, without pretence” (Marcus Aurelius). Although, the message has become somewhat of a cliché lately, I don’t think many people truly embrace these rather life altering words. People think it is a great message and quote it freely, without really believing in the value of the actual message.
The Canadian rock group, Nickelback, have a great song which encompasses these words and this very message. It is a great feel good number, and makes you think about the meaning of your existence on this planet. How do other people view your role in their lives? What value do you bring to your employers lives and what value do they bring to your life? We are brought up to believe in certain values and the importance of certain actions and attitudes towards various tasks and responsibilities. Even if our parents or families don’t provide these models for us to mimic, society does. You might argue that this is an intrinsic human trait stemming from our tribal days that we need to ensure that the tribe’s wellbeing is put before the individual’s. In a few isolated cases I believe this to be true. Corporates and shareholders utilise this behaviour in a very lucrative way, and so do a few more nefarious organisations and people.
Have you ever been off work sick, and laid in bed worrying about the reception you would receive from your colleagues and management upon your return? I can probably place a wager on the fact that in most cases you would go back to work to your own detriment and against the advice of your healthcare practitioner just to appease the powers that be.
How many people can say that they have indulged their interests and really spent their time pursuing their passions? The fear of what other people might think is so great that it has paralysed countless people into a lifetime of mediocrity. Many people spend the productive years of their life doing something that they hate, putting their blood, sweat and tears into their careers only to retire and sadly realize that their health is not what it used to be and that they are severely limited. I am sure that one can and does accumulate wealth, prestige and material things during this time period. There are also those friendships that you create, with people in the same situation as you, with similar aspirations, and the same programming.
What is that one thing that all of your late nights in the office, weekends away from your loved ones, and gastric ulcers cannot afford you? TIME! Time is running out. All of what you have done is for nothing if you don’t have time. Cherish it. Protect it. Don’t squander it on the unnecessary.