What’s your biggest issue? First thing that pops in your head. Do you need inner peace? Wanna be happy? Find your passion? Improve relationships? Are you overwhelmed? Lost? Floating through life with no direction? Do you need more focus and clarity? Increased self-esteem? Financial freedom? Whatever it is i’m telling you now; “What you focus on you will get”.
If you’re focused on Netflix, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc., ask yourself “What am I getting out of this”? Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of “downtime” or “zoning out”, but if you’re honest with yourself, how many hours a day are you distracting yourself with TV, Sports, Social Media, YouTube, or just mindlessly checking every app on your phone? For most of us, this is way too much wasted time.
This gets us to “The Void”. We all have issues (paragraph 1) and we are all distracting ourselves to avoid the issues (paragraph 2). This is called “filling the void”. There are also more destructive ways to fill the void, aka drinking/drugs, gambling, cheating, etc. But we all fill the void in our own unique way.
This gets me thinking about something my old-school Italian father always says: ““You can either pay me now or pay me later.” Meaning if you don’t put in the work now, you are going to suffer the consequences down the road. Most people don’t want to hear this but it’s true. Do you ever notice that people who don’t work on themselves, their problems get worse as they get older?
So instead of filling the void with distractions, what if we use our precious time on this Earth focusing on how to better ourselves, figure out our issues, and actually work on them?
I’ll share a story of (partly) how we were inspired to make this shift. We were on vacation in Florida during “snowbird season” in February. We met a bunch of retirees in their 60’s and 70’s that we got talking to and we noticed a pattern with all of them; They all seemed to have life figured out. They were mostly all kind, carefree, and full of joy and wisdom. But they all expressed a common regret that they did not pursue the life they wanted much sooner. And as happy and fulfilled as they all seemed, we also noticed a lot of physical/medical issues that were holding them back.
Towards the end of that trip, Jason and I got talking about how chill they all were and how we wanted to be like that when we got to our golden years. Then Jason turned to me and said, “I don’t want to wait until I’m grey to have my life figured out. I want to figure it out NOW.” This trip sent us on a journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. We started reading, watching documentaries, going to church, and learning as much as we could about how to “figure our lives out” before we’re old and gray.
And to be honest, it really didn’t take that long to figure out (at least from a high level) what should be important. All the books, documentaries, etc. shared common themes: Kindness, Compassion, Forgiveness, Gratitude (this is our personal favorite), Happiness, Hope, Optimism, Purpose, and Control. Obviously we don’t have all the details figured out (and we never will completely), but we feel like we have a plan and a path to follow, which feels like an advantage because of all that we have learned.
Here is a good first step. Think about your biggest issue and the biggest thing you waste time on. Then stop doing that one thing and use that time to work on your biggest issue. Read a book or listen to an audio book; subscribe to a podcast; watch a documentary, or join a group. Do anything besides filling the void with something that will make the issue worse. Try this for a month and you’ll be amazed how much you will learn. It’s a life-changer.