Make your 300 months genuinely shine for you

 

“Human lifetime is less than 1,000 months long. For only 1/3 of those 1,000 months will you have time for serious thinking, serious loving and serious acting – that gives you only 300 months.” (…)

The rest of the time you’ll spend doing things like sleeping, eating or being stuck in a traffic jam.

via WSJ.

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Oliver Sachs reflects on (his) life upon learning he has terminal cancer

This a few months old but it never gets old. Focus, perspective and having no time for the inessential.

It’s never too late to get to clarity. And the earlier, the better.

I feel a sudden clear focus and perspective. There is no time for anything inessential. I must focus on myself, my work and my friends. I shall no longer look at “NewsHour” every night. I shall no longer pay any attention to politics or arguments about global warming.

This is not indifference but detachment — I still care deeply about the Middle East, about global warming, about growing inequality, but these are no longer my business; they belong to the future. I rejoice when I meet gifted young people — even the one who biopsied and diagnosed my metastases. I feel the future is in good hands.

I have been increasingly conscious, for the last 10 years or so, of deaths among my contemporaries. My generation is on the way out, and each death I have felt as an abruption, a tearing away of part of myself. There will be no one like us when we are gone, but then there is no one like anyone else, ever. When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.

I cannot pretend I am without fear. But my predominant feeling is one of gratitude. I have loved and been loved; I have been given much and I have given something in return; I have read and traveled and thought and written. I have had an intercourse with the world, the special intercourse of writers and readers.

Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure. (via NYTimes.)

Résoudre en soi et pour soi les plus grandes questions

Je lis chez Desbiens (Ainsi donc):

L’abondance des notes, en effet, et la dimension de la bibliographie ne m’impressionnent plus. (…) En outre, je suis gouverné depuis longtemps par l’idée qu’il faut résoudre en soi et pour soi les plus grandes questions.

Cette pensée rejoint celle d’Ortega y Gasset: lire moins et penser davantage (leer menos, pensar más).

Au lecteur qui se demande comment reconnaître si cette résolution est faite et est sienne, je propose ceci: demande-toi si tu peux donner raison de tes plus profondes convictions.

The power of one

Since the 1970s Majuli islander Jadav Payeng has been planting trees in order to save his island. To date he has singlehandedly planted a forest larger than Central Park in New York City.

 

For the movie buffs, pair this story with the Oscar-winning The man who planted trees (L’homme qui plantait des arbres):

 

Stop stressing about stress

Vintage Kellaway:

The most stressful thing about stress is its lack of clarity. It is a scary umbrella term for all sorts of things, some of which aren’t scary at all. When I say I’m stressed I usually mean one of three things:

  1. that I’m too busy, for which the answer is to do less.
  2. Or that I’m too tired, for which the answer is to go to bed.
  3. Or that I’m anxious, for which the answer is to deal directly with the thing that I’m worrying about.

To wipe out stress in one easy step by banning the word, and thus forcing people to identify more precisely what it is that ails them.

 

El futuro y la ilusión

Dice el maestro:

“La vida es una serie de colisiones con el futuro; no es una suma de lo que hemos sido, sino de lo que anhelamos ser.” (José Ortega y Gasset)

Responde el discípulo:

Lo que más puede descubrir a nuestros propios ojos quién somos verdaderamente, es decir, quién pretendemos ser últimamente, es el balance insobornable de nuestra ilusión. ¿En qué tenemos puestas nuestras ilusiones, y con qué fuerza? ¿Qué empresa o quehacer llena nuestra vida y nos hace sentir que por un momento somos nosotros mismos? ¿Qué presencia orienta nuestra expectativa, qué anticipación nos polariza, tensa el arco de nuestra proyección, se convierte en el blanco involuntario e irremediable de ella?

via guiller.

Being v. doing

All of our focus is on the doing. We obsess over the latest models churned out by for-profits and nonprofits alike. The social enterprise classes at Harvard Business School study the things people are doing. When a foundation asks for an impact report, they mean the impact of the doing.

It is all backwards.

What we should be asking is who people are being. Are you being courageous? Are you being authentic? Honest? Rigorous? Unstoppable? Because that’s what really makes a difference.

It’s who you are being that matters

via Dan Pallotta.