What I write here may be hard to read. But it's the damn truth.
One of my most recommended books of 2017 is Tim Ferriss' new business bible, Tools of Titans.
The stories Tim tells will reach into the very heart of wherever you are on your journey through business, life, or both. It's remarkably enlightening to see how incredible people like Jamie Foxx, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Marc Andreessen, Shaun White, Chris Sacca and other monoliths of our time grapple with success, uncertainty, failure, triumph, and the tribulations of daily life.
One of the most striking interviews featured in Tools of Titans was with Kevin Kelly, former Executive Editor and current Senior Maverick at Wired Magazine. In Kevin's interview, he talked about his countdown clock - not ticking away the days to a new launch or anticipated project, but to his own death. By his estimation, he has about 6,000 or so days left - if all goes well. That helps him keep in mind that every day is precious.
Interestingly, this device isn't new. In fact, there's a term for it taken from Roman times: memento mori. It's a latin expression literally meaning, "remember, you die." For sure, it's a sobering thought, and one that few of us are brave enough to face.
This past month, I found myself at a Florida Georgia Line concert, marveling at Tyler and Brian's stunningly-quick road to glory as a country-singing duo of my very same age. As they popped around the stage playing up to a sold-out, raucous crowd, I couldn't help but aspire to lead that kind of energetic movement. I thought, I would love to move thousands of people like this, swaying to such a feeling of euphoric inspiration.
It's actually the first time I realized why I was so passionate about speaking. It was this very sentiment that I longed to convey - to inspire, to move people, to encourage and entertain. In other words, to lift people up and remind them that life is the for the living, and the time is now.
However, at the time I had this thought, I followed it quickly with one so many of us know intimately well: it's too bad I'll never be as prolific as these guys.
What is that BS all about?
But we do that, don't we? We have fleeting thoughts of achieving our true potential, followed by more hearty reminders that we can't, we won't, we couldn't, we shouldn't, and we don't.
Luckily, I had just read Tools of Titans, so my follow-up to that was, memento mori.
Why can't I aim as high as anybody could imagine and go for that fleeting dream? And why can't I inspire thousands to do the same, just as Florida Georgia Line inspires its audience?
The answer is, of course, there's no reason at all that would prevent me from aiming in the direction of my highest potential and plowing ahead with everything I've got. And there's no excuse for you and your dream, either.
Wherever you are on your own road through life, that's the honest truth.
I even struggled to write this post. No one likes to talk about how much we turn away from our dreams and lock ourselves into our own little cages for what precious few days we have here. But, what the hell - if I'm going to inspire people, I've got to start somewhere.
So remember: memento mori. Go make today count.