I watched this film the other night called One Week.
The film is about a man, Ben Tyler, from Toronto who is diagnosed suddenly with stage 4 cancer and told he has at a maximum 1-2 years to live.
After the news, Ben decides to tell his fiancé that he has cancer, buy a motorcycle, and follow the advice he read on a coffee cup: “Head West.”
So he did.
He hopped on his bike with little else and drove all the way to Tofino, BC searching for “Grumps” (i.e. an imaginary childhood character that you don’t know what it looks, sounds like, or will do but when you see it, you’ll know. Sound familiar?)
I’ll be honest – I didn’t really like the movie.
The acting was only okay and the storyline felt like it was dragging on, but I did really enjoy how thought-provoking it was.
How many of us have realized only after a traumatic event that our lives are not the way we wanted them to be?
How many of us are setting ourselves up for that realization?
When Ben was told he was going to die, the first thing that popped into his mind was to call off the wedding.
He had realized that now that he was going to die, he didn’t like the life he setup for himself.
What if you had one week to live?
Damn – this question is so overused.
But take a minute to think about it.
But don’t just think about what you would do. Think about what it would feel like. If I sat across the table from you now and said, “You probably have about a week to live,” what would your heart do?
Stop Doing What Doesn’t Matter
The word responsible is misunderstood.
The definition of responsible is “answerable or accountable.”
If you’re in a job you hate but you stick with it because it’s your “responsibility” to take care of your family…it’s not.
If you’re in a marriage you don’t enjoy but you stay in it because you said your vows and you’re responsible, you’re not.
The one true responsibility you have is to yourself.
To be answerable and accountable for your own happiness and way of life.
For example, if you’re in a marriage you don’t enjoy, it is not your responsibility to just stick with it. But it is your responsibility to be happy (and your partner’s as well), so I would recommend you work together to make that happen.
Break the “I’ll Be Happy When…” Cycle
I think we all do it. In fact, if you ever daydream or wish about something, you’re doing it then.
We all think “Well, I’ll be happy when I get that promotion” or “I’ll be happy when I can finally lose this 15 lbs.”
But the truth is that this mindset doesn’t just go away once you reach that goal.
Don’t set up a life for yourself that you will regret one day.
Find Inspiration in Stories, Then Go Make Your Own
One thing I really enjoy is stories. The truer the better. The more adventure the better.
Here is a list of books and films that I feel really contributed to me making a change in my life. One step at a time, making sure I am setting up a life for myself that I never regret.
Into the Wild – This is what started it all. What inspired me to start asking ‘why’ in my life.
The Alchemist – I read this in one sitting and quit my job the next week. No joke.
Start Something That Matters – A great book by Toms Shoes founder and his journey on how he got to where he is now. If you’re thinking of starting your own business – this is a must read.
Let My People Go Surfing – Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia, writes about how the company started and his philosophy behind it. I’ve read this three times now and can’t get enough.
180 South – Amazing, eye-opening journey from Seattle to Patagonia. This one will make you open your eyes and build a fire inside you to adventure.
Into the Wild – Yes, they made a film too and Sean Penn’s directing is amazing.
The Drifter – Story about pro surfer who escapes it all.
Let it Ride – A documentary about Craig Kelly, late snowboarder, documenting his journey from pure rider, to pro, back to pure and ultimately his death. Great story for anyone, but especially if you’re into snowboarding.
These are just a few stories that have helped shape my life in the last couple of years, but there are many more.
What’s most important though is you find stories that are compelling to you and then go out and make your own.
There’s not much time in this life. There’s no time to waste on things you don’t want to do.
Instead of saying “I’ll be happy when” start saying “I want to be happy now.”
To your story,