There are a lot of online writers I’ve seen that post about the fact we can only make so many choices throughout the day before becoming fatigued. One recently reached the top stories of Medium.
As much as I sincerely appreciate the sentiment behind the message, and true as the science behind this might be, it drives me crazy to see it all over the place. The reason this irks me is because there’s a far larger and more obvious limitation we face:
Ego depletion. We have a finite amount of energy every day. Period. It’s our fundamental physiological nature. You can only expend so many calories and thoughts before your entire body and mind become depleted.
And even further than that, the amount of days we have are finite.
This is beyond our willpower. It’s every single thought and emotion we feel — it’s where we decide to go or not go. Whether we are conscious of it or not, each day we wake up we are deciding our entire identity by the actions we take.
A New Day
While I’m not the biggest quote fanatic, when I was back in high school, I stumbled upon a large typographic poster that was about to be thrown out. It had no source, and searching for it lead to a lot of variants. It took awhile but I finally found the original source.
Written by an online friend, a few months before his death:
Understanding the reality of death brings a peace to my heart. Facing life and all of the wonders has been a growing experience for me. Neither a worry or a problem can slow me down now. At last, I am free.
I have adopted a new motto for the remaining days of my life. Maybe if you can understand the importance of enjoying life to its fullest, you can appreciate my new motto and maybe you can begin your life all over again, free from the present burdens that keep you trapped within yourself.
This is the beginning of a new day. I have been given this day to use as I will. I can waste it. . . or use it for good, but what I do today is important, because I am exchanging a day of my life for it! When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever, leaving in its place something that I have traded for it. I want it to be gain and not loss; good and not evil; success, and not failure; in order that I shall not regret the price that I have paid for it. I will try just for today, for you never fail until you stop trying.
Ric Kausrud, 1997
After living with HIV for over 20 years,
Written a few months before his death from complications from AIDS
Original source by Martha Olney on June 17th, 1998.
Far too often do we allow ourselves to waste the time we have. I can’t even count the amount of time I’ve wasted being mad at something or someone. Or wishing for something better than what I have instead of actually trying to obtain it.
Most of the time, the reason we even get caught up in something is out of pettiness or ego. And then we become too entrenched, thinking we’ve wasted too much time to stop. This is incorrect thinking, known as the sunk cost fallacy.
Get it out there and breath. Move on. Choose a better hill to die on. Sometimes it’s more courageous to give up than to keep fighting. It is cliché to say “live every day like it’s your last” and it’s also unreasonable. Life isn’t meant to be lived that way. Catch yourself when you’re expending yourself on things you don’t actually want too. Don’t wait for something tragic or fatal to occur in your life before you realize you can make a change.