How I Learned About the Meaning of Life from a 3rd Grader
On the day Prince Ea released his now famous video about the Meaning of Life, I was sitting in my office, feverishly typing another set of emails, which undoubtedly, I believed, would be read and appreciated by the recipients and quickly acted upon.
Then I was deeply engaged in a meeting discussing this important thing. It was so important that we’ve discussed it few times already, but concluded with a need to schedule another meeting to discuss it further. Redundancy is a crazy word. It indicates unnecessary repetition, yet what many may not know, it serves also as a safeguard in case of failure, for example when operating a spacecraft. So when deciding on, let’s say, the number of slides for the upcoming presentation, it is of paramount importance to fully consider all the options.
Finally, there was this urgent document that needed to be done, so I stayed late to finish it. It was so urgent that, with equal urgency, it was reviewed two weeks later. Unfortunately by then, the situation has changed and it turned out not to be needed. Nevertheless, I had this deep sense of accomplishment.
The point is, when the video was released, I was doing something VERY important!
For some reason, though, on my way out, I stopped and watched it. After all, who doesn’t wonder about the meaning of life? This is how it went:
Video: “Imagine yourself 90 years old, on a porch in a rocking chair, looking back on your life. Got that image? Good!
Now, let me tell you:
Studies show that the biggest regret from elderly people on their death bed is not what they DID, it’s what they DIDN’T DO, the risk they never took…
How sad would it be to get to the end of your life and realize you never truly lived?”
Oh, wow. Yeah, that would be so sad. I was so glad this wasn’t me. I actually DID things in life! I was busy all the time! As a matter of fact, I could barely get enough sleep because I was constantly busy doing stuff! Can’t wait to get on that rocking chair though! Which reminds me, I need to schedule that lawn mowing thing and probably do something about that gutter cleaning…
The video: “This is your life, nobody else’s. No matter how much the society, your parents, your friends want you to live the way they want you to live, YOU run the show. When you shot your eyes and go to sleep at night, the entire world ceases to exist and when you wake up, it’s born again.”
That’s right! I totally RUN the show! And when the new day comes, it totally is born again. Another day, another sleepless night, another accomplishment, another step closer to the top of the ladder. Yay!!! I am SO on it!
The video: “This is your life, you’re in control, you gotta do what feels right in your heart! Now go back to the rocking chair…and think what your future self would say about the ideas you never created, about the books you never wrote, the words you never spoke, because you were tired, or you were scared, or you wanted to fit in or be cool. But greatness ain’t about being cool, a great man or a woman will never fit in, because they stand out…”
Hmm… I mean… well… First of all, I it is very important to fit it. You want to be accepted and work with others harmoniously, so I am not sure what you really mean… And second of all, about the ideas I’ve never created… I actually have lots of ideas! I’m just keeping them for later. You know, after I finish the job thing, the stuff I need to do…
The video: “But I get it, you wanted easy.
Easy??? You think my life is easy?
The video: “But if greatness was easy, you would see a lot of successful people and a lot of great people: astronauts, professional athletes, or super heroes…but you don’t.
You see a lot of people with big mouths making excuses on Facebook, trying to get likes but they don’t even like themselves… See the difference between winners and losers is persistence. It ain’t talent. It is persistence.”
My teacher told me about the bamboo tree. After planting the seed, it takes 5 years for it to break through the ground. That’s 5 long years of attention, care, and water every day. If you miss a day, it dies. Right there. But once it breaks through the ground, after those 5 years, within 5 weeks, it grows 90 feet tall. So your journey isn’t going to be easy, it’s gonna take time.
And when you have a dream, people are gonna laugh, because they don’t see what you see. They’ll say: “what is that idiot doing watering the ground”?
They are incapable of seeing the plant that’s planted inside of you. They have sight but no vision. Only you have a vision. So let them laugh. They’ll say: “be real, be realistic”. But realism is often an excuse for pessimism, and you can’t let other people’s opinion define your reality. So let them laugh, but I guarantee, you won’t find one successful person in history that people didn’t laugh at. So stop worrying about your reputation, because your reputation won’t be what people think about you. Your character is who you are. Make the commitment wholeheartedly, stop thinking and just do it. Do it for you, the real you, because you deserve it.
You don’t get a do over in life, so live your dream. You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.”
I shut down the computer and went home. Few months later, I quit my job to travel the world… Now, you watch it.
Imagine yourself 90 years old, on a porch in a rocking chair, looking back on your life… What do you see?
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