I was recently recommended a book by a close friend. The book is about a former Big 4 CEO who essentially “had it all.” Then one day, he was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and was given 3 months to live. The book recaps his final 90 days, and how his perspective on what is important in life changed dramatically due to the diagnosis and change in his circumstances.
Once of the points the former CEO touched on in his book was recognizing the difference between commitment and consciousness. For a majority of most of our lives and in the business world, we associate commitment with the amount of time we are willing to put into a certain task or project. Commitment is typically measured by how many hours we are willing to work, by how much time we take from our families, by how many years we are willing to live elsewhere, or manage a grueling project. Essentially, if we give away large amounts of our time, then it is said we “exhibit commitment.” If we don’t give away large amounts of our time, then our commitment is put into question. Still with me?
After the diagnosis, the former CEO put into question everything he used to know about commitment. He started to realize commitment was truly about depth, about effort, about passion for your daily activities. About wanting to be in a certain place and not somewhere else. The underlying message I got from this point is that “commitment is best measured not by the time one is willing to give you, but more accurately, by the energy one wants to put in, by how present one is in the moment.” We cannot control our surroundings, but we can control our energy and how we choose to allocate said energy.
I challenge everybody who reads this to focus on and move towards consciousness (being present) over commitment. Once we learn to live in the moment and take joy in the simplest of tasks, then it is only then that we are truly living.