Warning: motivational-speech blog post to follow.
Summary: Follow your passion, don’t waste time on stuff that doesn’t matter, accept and embrace death as a positive force.
There’s not enough time in life for you to be understood 100% of the time. You will be misjudged. On the other side of the coin you’ll also be judged accurately and it will sting. The alternative is to never make an attempt and be forgotten.
When you get offered a ton of money to do something that doesn’t align with your passion, will you take it? If pressured to go against your principles, will you rock the boat, potentially at the expense of your short term stability? Perhaps less dramatically, will you know what to say no to in order to focus on what really matters?
You’ve got to be able to say no. It’s not easy, but saying no is the best way to minimize the number of things you’ll regret later on.
You have to know that someday you will die, and everyone else will too. If we all die, what makes us special? The artifacts that we produce are the only way for us to leave a mark. We live for an insignificant blip of time, and so far there’s no escaping that. Given that, there’s no reason to settle. In fact it’s quite dangerous to settle because you’ll run out of time before you know it. The most precious resource on earth is not gold, silver, or diamonds; It’s time. There’s a good quote from Carl Sagan that’s applicable:
“The universe seems neither benign nor hostile, merely indifferent.”
So death isn’t a bad thing; it’s a reminder and a driver for you to get focused and do what you love to do, right now, and not waste a second doing things that don’t matter.
“We’re here to put a dent in the universe. Otherwise why else even be here?” —Steve Jobs