Embracing and celebrating our limits makes life constructive. Otherwise you crave what you can’t get.
We can’t create more time or energy. We get what we get. It doesn’t matter how much you want twenty-five hours in a day. You don’t get them. Not if you’re rich or connected either. Likewise with energy. There is only so much energy available. People can dream of unlimited energy, but they still have to eat and fill their car with gas because their energy runs out.
Our culture has grown to value going beyond limits of time and energy. My podcast guest Oliver Burkeman‘s book Four Thousand Weeks suggests that we stop trying to overcome limitations on time and instead embrace those limits.
I promote that approach with energy. Instead of trying to fly to every place and visit every person you wish you could, embrace that you can’t.
Embracing that I can’t do everything, visit every place, and meet everyone I imagine I can doesn’t bring me down. On the contrary, it forces me to act deliberately based on my values, increasing my self-awareness to know my values. Cutting out things I value less is like when parents have kids. They don’t lament missing the parties they can no longer attend. They see that what once they valued doesn’t measure up to what they now value more.
We can all make room for more valuable things by cutting out less valuable things. It is the definition of improving our lives. Trying to do everything includes doing less valuable things, the definition of watering down our lives.
This shift in view leads to new goals. It leads to constructing my life with what I want instead of reactively lamenting what I don’t have. As I wrote in my 2008 post (15 years ago!) Acceptance and Celebration: “If you can accept something you can celebrate it.”
Get rid of your bucket list
Acknowledge that spending time with one person in one place means not seeing anyone else or visiting any place else at that time.
Figure out what you’re here for.
What do you want your gravestone to say?
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