I was recently browsing around the Internet (with my copious amounts of free time) and I came across a site that may actually be cooler than the new James Bond movie (and given the tenor of these quotes by Daniel Craig, he may actually agree that this web site is in fact way cooler than James Bond). The site is called “Top 5 of Anything“.
There are some fantastic top 5 lists here including such favorites as, “Top 5 Cities with the Highest Paid Bus Drivers“, “Top 5 Garlic Producing Countries“, “The Top 5 Largest Organs in the Body” and on and on.
At any rate, I’ve been inspired to create my own “top 5” list and – what’s more – my list won’t be weighed down by anything annoying like facts, statistics, common sense, etc. No, sir! My top 5 list will be solely derived from my many years of “living”, “loving” and “working”.
The title of my top 5 list is “Top 5 Things You Can Do to be a Better Liver (as in “life”…not the organ), Lover and Worker (regardless of whether you work for others or yourself)“…catchy, right?
- Life is long – Chris Rock (as “Richard Cooper” in the movie “I Think I Love My Wife“) put it best when he said: “You know, some people say life is short and that you could get hit by a bus at any moment and that you have to live each day like it’s your last. Bullshit. Life is long. You’re probably not gonna get hit by a bus. And you’re gonna have to live with the choices you make for the next fifty years.” While there are no guarantees in life (sadly, planes do occasionally fall out of the sky, people do randomly die of massive strokes, etc.) we generally do live plenty long enough these days to experience both regret and joy over the decisions we make. There are pros and cons to this “life is long” mindset:
- Pro: We have a LOT of time (I’ll set aside the notion that “time” may be an illusion for a minute) to do and achieve a great many things in life, love and work.
- Con: We often waste much of that time (if we’re being honest with ourselves) doing less-than-great things. (I speak from MUCH experience here!) I’m not saying that we should never read comic books, play Yahtzee with friends or just plain space out on occasion (modern pop culture vastly oversimplifies both Epicurean and Stoic philosophies in this respect) but I am saying that we should remind ourselves that where we are in life, love and work is largely the result of how we choose to spend our time…spend that time with intention!
- Never stop learning – As a correlate to the “life is long” idea above I would extend that idea a bit by saying that if we are not spending a good chunk of our “time” learning, then we may as well be dead. (In fact, I actually did just say this to my daughter last week…for the umpteenth time…as long as my kids live under my roof they’ve got to listen to my annoying platitudes dammit!) Beyond school (and, honestly, schools really aren’t the meccas of learning that they’re cracked up to be) there are books, audiobooks, videos or just plain old conversations with those who have great knowledge in areas that we do not have knowledge in that all allow us to be continually learning.Learn to LOVE learning! (That’s the only advice that I’ll be giving you regarding “love” in this post because I’m a hot mess when it comes to all the other kinds of love.)
- “Failure” gets a bum rap – “Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” – Michael Caine as “Alfred Pennyworth” in “Batman Begins.” (Or as the Japanese say, “Fall seven times, stand up eight.”) The word “failure” has literally taken on epic connotations in this age of YouTube (the phrase “epic fails” returns 15.5 MILLION results on YouTube) but personally I think the word has a bit more value than what those YouTube vids would have us believe. Failure really is just another form of learning (see “never stop learning” above again). True, it’s better to learn from the “failures” of others rather than our own failures – if we have a choice – but the simple truth is that we all “fail” from time to time…we need to get over ourselves and learn from our “failures.”
- You can’t be a “can’t doer” (see what I did there?) – I’ve had the privilege of working with many people in my way-too-long career and I can usually separate the “can’t doers” from the “CAN doers” pretty quickly. The “can’t doers” come to you and say, “we’ve got a problem”…the “can doers” come to you and say, “we’ve got a problem but here’s what I think we can do about it.” There’s not much elaboration required here…just remember that the “can doers” shape our world while the “can’t doers” jealously guard their little bit of real estate in the “basement of life.” Be on team “can do!”
- Get off your @$$ and exercise! I don’t care what passes as exercise for you at this particular point in your life (here’s yet another top 5 list of “most bizarre exercises” for your viewing pleasure) and I am not even remotely saying that you need to be “athletic”…but you DO need to find an activity that elevates your heart rate a bit and do that activity at least a few times a week. Moreover, you need to keep doing some kind of exercise for the rest of your life. Your brain AND the rest of your body will thank you! (By the way, studies show that people who get off their @$$ and exercise are 378% more likely to be way more successful in business than those who don’t get off their @$$es! Okay, I lied when I said that my top 5 list would NOT have any annoying statistics.)
Alright this list of “top 5 goodness” is complete! Now that you have the wisdom that this list imparts crammed into your head you are ready to bend life, love and work to your will! The student has now become the master, etc.