You rarely meet somebody who says“I’ve Just Done Too Much Stuff in my Life”

Nurse Bonnie Ware wrote a now famous article about the regrets of the dying. At the top of that list was“I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” When we live our lives through the lens of other people’s expectations, we limit the spectrum of what is possible in our lives. We only visit clearly marked destinations on a map (college, grad school, a corner office, and a house in the suburbs), as opposed to going where our inner compass might lead us (starting a non-profit, building a company, writing a screenplay or novel). We keep putting off something that could be done today for some mythical date in the future when we’ll be ready. We forget that there will eventually be a day when tomorrow won’t arrive. And we have know idea when that day will come.

Ordinary People with Extraordinary Ambitions

I’ve been reading the book Hatching Twitter, by Nick Bilton. It’s a rather interesting perspective on Ev Williams, Biz Stone, Jack Dorsey and the crew who have now become Silicon Valley folk heroes. Before they were who they are now, they were ordinary people with ambitions to do extraordinary things.

All of us are ordinary people with ambitions to do extraordinary things, but too often we write of our ambitions with excuses.

  • I’m too old.
  • I’m not physically fit enough.
  • I don’t have the money
  • I don’t have the time.

The list goes on and on. Make a list of all the excuses you’ve made in your life on a piece of paper. For the ones that are total bullshit, right BS next to them. Then prioritize your ambitions over your excuses.

In an interview on The Unmistakable Creative Podcast, XS Energy drink founder David Vanderveen said “you rarely meet anybody who says, I’ve just done too much stuff in my life.” That may be one of the most important things I’ve heard in 500 interviews.

It’s a simple, yet profound message. Hearing that made me think quite a bit about how we spend our time. We can spend it defending our excuses and nursing our injustices or pursuing our crazy wild eyed ambitions. We can live a life filled with experiences or excuses. I’d recommend the former.

One of my personal dreams was to work in the entertainment industry, which came true in the most unexpected way. And yesterday we aired the second episode of a 6 part animated series (linked below)we’re producing in partnership with our friends at Soulpancake. Hopefully it will get you to prioritize your ambitions over excuses.

I’m the host of The Unmistakable Creative Podcast. Subscribe to the podcast viaiTunes or Stitcher.

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Order An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake: Listen to the @UnmistakableCR podcast in iTunes

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