I was recently reading this article by Paul Graham about life and how short it is. About life, and how we should keep far away from things that make it even shorter.
The first thing that always comes to my mind when I get reminded that “life is short” is this part in Steve Jobs’ commencement address in Stanford’s 2005 graduation ceremony.
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
Paul Graham mainly talks about how we should identify and refrain from doing bullshit. He argues that we are either forced into doing bullshit or we are tricked to do so. You should arrange your schedules and habits such that you can escape from bullshit that is pushed to you. Although, you will face many of them inevitably. Mainly, you need to identify the things that matter and don’t get tricked into doing the rest. The rule of thumb is, whether you will care about doing this in the future or not.
“You think you can always write that book, or climb that mountain, or whatever, and then you realize the window has closed. The saddest windows close when other people die. Their lives are short too.”
Life is short, we all know it. “Life is short” does not mean you need to do more to get the best out of it. It actually means vise versa. Only do the things that matters the most, to yourself, the person who matters the most. Cut from the bullshit of the life and focus on what you are passionate about. Life is too short to worry about a lot of things.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. — Steve Jobs, Stanford, 2005.
Paul Graham ends the article very concisely.
“Relentlessly prune bullshit, don’t wait to do things that matter, and savor the time you have. That’s what you do when life is short.”
Read the full article: http://paulgraham.com/vb.html