How Many Years Will You Live?

Life is all about choosing how to spend your time. Everyday when we wake up we assume that we will live throughout the day. We then extend the logic further and assume that we will continue to live “x” many years. We assume we have a certain supply of time at our disposal. These assumptions are based on two obvious but often ignored flaws.

First, with no certainty we can know the days, years or months at our disposal. Second, we tend to ignore the perishable nature of time at our disposal.

Many amongst us spend a significant part of our time doing a job that we hate. We rationalise that by earning our salary, we will have the opportunity to enjoy other parts of our life. Usually, sometime later. A recent study suggests that more than 70% of the people will prefer to quit the current job if they have an alternate income option.

Why so?

Why do we trade the most valuable resource (time) we have in exchange of things (money, title) that can be earned and replenished?

Because, we are driven by two primary instincts that have been part of the whole evolution process.

The first is an assurance of certainty. All our instincts are hungry for certainty. We hate events that break the status quo. We are worried of changes that bring in unknown in our life. Our whole DNA is programmed to hang on to certainty at any costs.

The second is an assurance of societal acceptance. We are by nature social and like to be part of a system where we are accepted by others. Our society reinforces to us that we need to live a life which is recognised by the society as “acceptable.” And society usually accepts those who follow the known path. We are in awe of people who have broken the pattern and have built something extraordinary. But, society does not want others to take the jump and follow that route.

The fact is there is no path that is certain.

Technology is breaking barriers. Companies that are not more than five years old are challenging established decade-old companies. Outsourcing and automation is becoming a norm in almost all areas of professional life. We have startups that are challenging almost all areas under the sun. From transportation to banking to healthcare…you name it. These companies are reducing friction and automating the decision-making process of established companies.

So, what should you do?

1. Be ready for the unseen and uncertainty. Simplify your life. You will notice that a lot of things that you thought you could not live without are unnecessary. This will give you a freedom about the money you need to earn to pursue the things you always wanted to do.

2. Read a lot. The only way to connect the dots is to read and observe things that are beyond your area of expertise. That way your mind develops to be nimble and embrace the changes.

3. Diversify your income source. Start developing different income sources other than your pay check. The less dependency you have on your pay check, the more freedom you will have to choose how you want to spend your time.

To bring it all together, spend every moment the way you will like to spend it.

That is the only way to live meaningfully in a world of uncertainty.

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