Have you ever heard this narrative?
- Person lives 'normal' life
- Is struck by tragedy (divorce, redundancy, terminal illness, etc.)
- Suddenly decides 'what's really important'
- Changes their life disruptively to maximise the rest of their days
- Tells you (and everyone) that this is the best thing that ever happened to them
Yeah, me too.
If you read Eric Ries' “The Lean Startup” (by the way you should) he talks about 'Pivot or Persist' meetings. In short, rather than waiting for a compelling event, like running out of runway, or a sudden revenue spike, you hold regular 'Pivot or Persist' meetings. So rather than making decisions when you're under pressure, with volatile emotions, you pre-empt a given event and make (somewhat more) rational decisions. You choose the path of the organisation rather than having it chosen for you.
My philosophy is to do this with (my) life.
Why wait until you're made redundant before starting a new venture? Why wait for terminal illness before spending time with friends and family, travelling and knocking off the 'bucket list?'
In fact, all of the disruptive compelling events, the bad ones actually constrain your ability to fully live life. Despite Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, jaunting around the world in “The Bucket List” it's pretty unlikely you're going to be up to getting on a longhaul flight when on chemo. Even if you were allowed, you'll probably not have the energy or motivation.
At the end of the day you haven't been given tomorrow, and your 'wealth' is a mental construct. In the scheme of the universe your 70 years and material wealth are infinitessimal.
At the end of your life you regret the things you didn't do, the chances you didn't take, the people you didn't love, the places you didn't see. Not the things you did.
You have so much to give, so much to experience, so much to see, and do, so many to help, and such a short time to Love and be Loved.
So don't wait for the universe to throw something in your path, rather sit down on a regular basis, figure out what you want to do, and…
…just do it.