This is the only one deadline you need to work on, for real

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Ok you may know the picture but I’ll paint it anyway…You’re waaaay behind on a work deadline, the kids all have homework they need help with and you haven’t made dinner yet. (Alright, I’m a procrastinator by nature so this is my every day, my friend)

So, what happens?…You get seriously stressed.

Who wouldn’t, right?

But let’s paint the picture again a different way and bear with me here because this just came to me in one of those crazy a-ha moments where I was the prime actor in that situation above. Getting stressed, wishing my kids would just go to sleep and I could get to my computer. Didn’t make for a very nice Mama, that’s for sure…

But all of sudden, in one goose-bump-filled swoop, I had an epiphany….

And it was way more powerful than you telling me “Chill out, your kids are more important than any deadline” or “You can only do what you can do, be easy on yourself.” (For the record, those are both true and I wouldn’t fault you but this moment of realization hit me way more powerfully…)

And just to be real, I’ve never deliberately “channeled” anything or even knew that word before a decade ago but I think if there are any angels/fairies/ancestral magic makers who work with you, they were definitely on my shoulder that night.

‘Cause in one swift instant, I realized that if you had told me instead of a work deadline that tonight was our last night on Earth or that one of us was just diagnosed with a fast acting fatal condition, ya’ better bet that the “deadline” would have been spending time with my family instead.

So, no, I’m not gonna tell you that any of that is true. This isn’t a morbidly ending story. We’re all thankfully okay….BUT how do we know that’s true tomorrow?

How do we not know that this is our last day before a climatic apocalypse or our last day of health and our family as we know it? How do you know? You don’t.

That’s the point! In that fell instant, my stress level went from super super high to almost nonexistent. The moment I realized just how arrogant my thoughts were, that I could actually know that all would be just as it is tomorrow, it was that moment that all was actually solved.

So, let’s be clear—I’m not saying to live in a state of panic. And I’m not saying to live as if you all are dying tomorrow—But let’s put this in perspective so you can get the beauty of what I felt. I’ll paint that first picture one more time, ok?

So I’ve got a work deadline. My kids need me, dinner still has to be made, and on and on, but instead of getting stressed, I realized two important things.

  • The first thing is very obvious and just needs to be said….I need to be HERE, right now, no matter what and stressing out about being somewhere else, aka my computer, isn’t going to help me get there sooner.

  • The second one is the one that matters the most though…THIS moment, the one in front of you, IS YOUR LIFE. This moment will never be here again. And yes, you don’t know if it all “ends” proverbially or literally tomorrow. But the truth is that this moment will end. Always, no matter what.

    It’s simply too arrogant to think that we know every deadline in the future is more important than this deadline of living your life right now.

So, what’s your deadline? Your work project, your home organization to-do that’s been on your mind, or living this one moment right now, right here?

Get over your deadlines. Get over your to-do’s. And get with your life.

Now, I really mean this but I can’t just end there ‘cause I know some of you, in fact many of you, will get upset and maybe even email me to say that this isn’t a way you can actually live, Tanmeet. Deadlines, to-dos all need to get done, whether we like it or not. It’s how we get paid, it’s how the world rolls.

Yes, you’re right. They do all need to get done. But here’s where I’ll challenge you. You’ll get all of that done easier, better, more happily if you get THIS done first. THIS moment, THIS conversation, THIS dinner, THIS hug, THIS listening, THIS laugh, THIS EVERYTHING.

When I think of a deadline, I think instead that I must be missing THIS moment if I’m worried about another one. This one could be gone and I’ll never get it back.

So let that sink in and see if it gives you goosebumps because it did for me. Ever since I had that one moment, all of these moments have gotten a helluva lot better….

Live well,

Tanmeet

Tanmeet SethiComment