Ah the ‘good old days’ – when life was simple. You did the same job your dad did, and which his dad did before him. Perhaps you had kids, and stayed home to raise them.
Maybe you owned a few books. Maybe you went into town once a month. You ate what you grew and what you could find at the local market. You didn’t travel too far on holiday, you didn’t choose which channel to watch on television, or what smartphone to buy. You didn’t even get to pick your own clothing – you wore hand-me-downs from your older siblings.
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These days things are different. You can choose your profession, where to go for dinner, and travel wherever in the world – all with minimal effort. And that’s awesome. But with it comes the responsibility to pick your opportunities, and to say no to many of them as well.
You have the power to check your email every minute. Or to spend hours on Facebook. But that doesn’t mean you should.
We enjoy the many opportunities we have. But it can be overwhelming too. Being rich these days doesn’t always equate to money. You can buy a lot of things, but time isn’t one of them. And that’s a depleting resource. So being able to ignore some distractions and be content with silence, rest, emptiness, or doing nothing at all can also lead to a fulfilling life.
To make better use of your time I propose the following: Disable all the notifications on your smartphone and laptop, set your email to only check for mail once an hour, and cancel as many appointments as you can in the next four weeks. Throw out 90 percent of your todo list and block an hour every other day for the next month with nothing.
Then wait still and stare at the ceiling. See if you can manage to bore yourself. See how it feels to have a day without meetings.
The power to act on every impulse you feel won’t make you happier. Finding rest in a world of unlimited opportunities and learning how to ignore most of them, however, will.