Have you seen Tim Urban’s Ted Talk about Procrastination? Click the link if you haven’t. It is amazing. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
Good stuff, right? Monkeys, Monsters and YouTube, Oh My! Yeah, it was pretty awesome.
I first found that delightful little gem about 3 years ago. I have shared it almost everywhere ever since. I have shared it with the people I supervise, with co-workers, with students, with friends, with family. It has given a common vernacular with which to approach the question of activity and time. “Are you in control, or is the monkey?” “Do I need to poke the Panic Monster to get him moving right now?” “Are you in the dark playground at the moment?” All of these questions have been cool conversation starters, especially with my kids. It has helped to remove much of the shaming, blaming and yelling in our house, especially in regards to chores and homework. Not all of it, mind you, but much of it. It has allowed our conversations to be more civil, more proactive, and more about priorities than about guilt.
And if that was all I had gotten out of it, that would be awesome.
But lately, as I have rewatched it (almost once a month) for the past 3 years, something has become much more powerful for me.
At the end of the video he talked about a life calendar. Remember, the big slide he showed toward the end of his talk where he displayed a box for every week of a 90 year life? And the importance of considering that many of those boxes are already filled in? They’re already gone? Remember that.
Boy, I just watched it about a week ago, and it hit me hard.
I’ve got more than half of those boxes filled in.
And that was when I realized that he was talking to me. Directly to me.
Not my children. Not my employees. Not my wife. ME!
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been just sitting around doing nothing. I’ve been anxiously engaged a good many causes, many of them noble and all about helping others be better people as well. But there are a lot of things that I have been saying to myself, “I’ll get around to that a little later.”
Well, that has to stop.
It has to stop for anyone who claims to be a man of style and substance. We have to be more than busy, we have to be moving things forward. That’s one of the hallmarks of a man of substance. Men of substance are more than busy, they are passionately improving the world.
So that’s my challenge to you, and of course to me. Get busy passionately improving the world. Wake up your own panic monster.
And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to start measuring our lives and accomplishments not by years, but by weeks well used!