My dad’s massive heart attack and ensuing health problems right before New Year’s this year forced me to re-evaluate some of my personal philosophies and goals. (FYI: He’s alive and well, thanks, so no need to write “I’m so sorry!” in the comments section.)
It forced me to accept something we all ALREADY know, yet over time allow ourselves to conveniently forget and dismiss: you aren’t going to live forever. Moreover, your days of complete good health are even shorter.
Seize the day now, or you never will. I have no sympathy for people who say they are “stuck” in a job they hate, a marriage they dislike, an awful town, etc. I quit my office job in NYC and subsequently went into more than $30,000 of personal debt before eventually stumbling on and continuously tweaking a business model that added value for consumers… and made money.
Strangely, rather than spend 2011 frolicking through fields and enjoying nature’s ephemeral beauty, I decided to plunge even deeper into growing my company — a popular credit card deals comparison portal — and to live life with far less apologies, and a lot more decisive action.
On the personal front, fear of rejection had to be thrown out the window once and for all. The real danger in life, as my dad’s heart attack taught me, is not the occasional rejection from a cute actress at a night club in L.A. or Miami. Nor is the real danger a polite rejection from a potential investor or influential business partner.
The real danger is death. Always has been, always will be.
There’s a great line in one of the Buddha’s teachings (I’m paraphrasing here, btw) that goes: “Don’t you see? We’re all dying here.”
A more modern analogue would be the line in Fight Club: “Even the Mona Lisa’s falling apart.”
You’re dying. If you’re over the age of 30, doctors tell us, the organs in your body have already started degrading — a slow, inevitable entropy march that results in you no longer being alive, no longer having an influence on your environment.
I wake up every morning excited to be alive, excited to be a part of America in the early 21st century — despite all of its superficiality and problems.
I look up at any hour of the day and see massive flying machines from Asia and Europe touching down in my city. I look online and see thousands of new visitors each day — strangers from all over the world — checking out the business I started, becoming a part of my life through the deep sea fibre-optic cables and satellite connections that serve their online content.
I pick up a copy of The New York Times, or the Journal, or skim Business Insider and I am continually amazed by people my age, or a few years older — engineers at Google, or entrepreneurs like Andrew Mason and Mark Zuckerberg, or slightly older visionaries like Elon Musk — doing amazing things every day in this country with more or less the same tools at my disposal… and at yours.
Life’s too short to go against the grain and do something you hate. You have to do what you enjoy, and do it with every ounce of your being. The heart beating inside of you, along with your liver, brain, lungs, and everything else, will eventually self-destruct.
Now’s the time. Not next week, not next year.