On a Long Enough Time Line, The Survival Rate for Everyone Drops to Zero

Urgency

My heart was broken. A girl I had been dating walked away from our year long relationship to another guy, a guy more like her. They shared interests more closely aligned with one another, even sharing majors. The writing was on the wall after a response she had given while running for Winter Carnival Queen that sunk my heart. And essentially her response got her exactly what she wanted. She “brushed me away with her broom” was her response after asking what a Michigan Tech Husky might do with a broom. I understand I probably wasn’t the best boyfriend, but the break up sent me into a frenzy of hateful misogynistic Eminem music and continuously watching the movie Fight Club.

tyler-durden

I STILL love the movie Fight Club, though I’ve watched it more than any normal human should. Aside from the violence, it’s thought provoking story of a man fighting himself and the materialist nature to which many of us hold our self-esteem. As Tyler puts it, “You’re the all singing all dancing crap of the world.” If you’re not familiar with the story, the narrator’s job is to look into accidents for a major auto manufacturer and assess whether or not the company should issue a recall on the their vehicles. If the lawsuit costs less than to issue a recall, they don’t issue a recall. This is where the narrator said something that has been embedded in my brain and has only been re-enforced this past year with my ambition to make a better me this year. As he stood there looking at a burnt up vehicle with a couple of morbid insurance adjusters, he said, “On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”

“On a long enough time line, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” Bleak, morbid, depressingly true, but mostly powerful. I think about this quote daily.

Bleak, morbid, depressingly true, but mostly powerful. I think about this quote daily.

It’s a good reminder of mortality. Time is limited and could be an immediately scarce resource for you on the timeline referenced. And it’s seemingly harder to pull myself up to put myself in a position where I’m tying a dollar amount to an hour of my day and I’ve HATED this practice for years.

Life is a funny unknown for the distance between now and the end. We will all finish life eventually, but will any of us truly finish it alive?

As I note in my post Two Books That Are Shaping How I work in 2018, we all have the capacity to learn and focus. I’ve taken this to heart in 2018. It’s been the driving factor of the number of books I’ve purchased and read. Accompany this with my attitude for trying to finish this life alive, I’m open to a number of different perspectives.

But the ultimate question now is why I’ve been as accepting of these new perspectives?

This past spring my daughter’s school was having a school picnic. Excited to spend the time with my wife and two daughters at this school picnic, I told my family the week prior I would be joining. As technical lead on a project at work, plans changed. The business owner traveled into the office the week of the event, and I had to choose between going to the picnic and remaining a culpable leader, employed, a provider financially. THIS KILLED ME.

It’s for these two reasons I’m choosing to get up at 5am. It’s for these two reasons I’m choosing to keep my body in a shape that runs efficiently. It’s for these two reasons I’ve started my own company. It’s for these two reasons I’m constantly trying to improve. It’s for these two reasons urgency to accomplish, succeed, and not have to ask “What if?”.

What motivates you?

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