“The goodness is in the laughing itself. I grok it is a bravery… and a sharing… against pain and sorrow and defeat.” – Robert Heinlein
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Note: This post was inspired by a recent Playful Prosperity call. It’s not is not a typical one for me, and I’d love to hear what you think of it.
A friend recently asked me, “So, what’s the thing you get really fired up about?” Even I was surprised by my response:
“The word that jumps out is like, dying. The totality of the human existence, and it being a liberating thing, that we’re going to die. That we’re these flashes in the pan. But that being a thing to enjoy, and appreciate, and practice. That fires me up.”
He was confused, too. “What fires you up about that? That’s, that’s interesting. I love that.”
That type of response, as far as I can tell, is typical from my friend, Jason Goldberg aka JG. He’s an International Best-Selling Author, Transformational Speaker, and according to his website, “Humorizer of Life.” As part of my commitment to my own growth and development, I’m constantly seeking out support from elite coaches, mentors, and advisors – like Jason. He’s incredibly gifted, and this conversation was part of him coaching me on a live group call.
I continued my verbal exploration of ideas I’d only loosely explored before.
The Big Question
Why did the totality of the human existence fire me up?
“It’s the thing that I struggle with most. It’s – I see it as THE big question. ‘Why are we here?’ Or, at least, ‘what’s going on with this place?’ And the more I learned about it, the more I realized that it’s easy to slip into this, nihilistic, ‘it doesn’t matter anyway, because we’re on this spinning rock, in the middle of infinite space, no matter what we do.’
Crazy, but true. Look at the stars. Look at a picture of the stars. Check out this article on perspective, or look at the pictures of Earth below: the first one taken from the moon, and the second one taken from Mars. Even collectively we’re a cosmic blip.
I don’t stop there, though.
“But then, to actually flip that. To be more like, ‘Well, that’s awesome!’ You get to choose! Since it doesn’t matter anyway, it’s what you choose to focus on. It’s being kind and generous and loving and doing service – all of these things that the body is built to give you positive feedback for. Like, ‘Hey, that’s good. Keep doing that. You’re nice to someone; we’re going to give you some serotonin, so you feel better about it. Cool! Keep doing that.'”
That part’s true, too. When you help someone, your brain gives you a hit of happy-juice. The person who you help, they get a hit as well. So does someone who just watches the whole interaction from across the street. It’s like magic, only it’s real.
“If we can step outside of our own sheltered little blinders, while also recognizing that you ARE the center of your own universe, so in a way that IS all that matters, so it HAS to be really strong and your foundation…
Yeah, I just think that would be a much better world. That’s the world I want to live in.”
A Quick Recap
1. I’m going to die. In a relatively short amount of time, even if I live longer than any human has ever lived. On one hand that terrifies me, on the other, I’m amazed that I’m aware and get to experience life at all. That kind of makes me feel like laughing. What else can you do?
2. Knowing that death is inevitable, (which, the knowing part is one of, if not the thing, that truly separates us from the animals), the question becomes, how much fun can we have with the journey on the way?
3. If the “big picture,” makes it seem like nothing matters, that actually gives us incredible freedom to choose. We can choose where we want to focus our time and energy, we can choose what we want to create, and we can choose the impact we want to have.
4. That crazy big idea – the short, snap in the pan, death thing – by the way, we’re all going through it together. And, when we really honor that, the whole world changes. “Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight,” writes the brilliant author Og Mandino. “How do you suppose you would treat everyone you meet today, if you knew that they would be gone forever at day’s end? You know how. […] Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”
The only thing to add is that it might nice to have a little fun.
As we wrapped up our conversation, JG reflected back a few things that took me a day to fully appreciate. “You’re such an amazing supporter and celebrator of people, and to me your also an amazing celebrator and supporter of life. And for you to bring your gift of celebrating the s*** out of life in a playful way, and having other people get access to, celebrating this amazing journey regardless of how it’s going to end, because we all know how it’s going to end – that to me is such a gift.”
So, that’s where I’m at, that’s what I’m doing, that’s what I’m going to explore leaning into. I’m not exactly sure how it will evolve, but if you’ve got any requests, ideas, or suggestions, I’d love to hear them.
When I asked JG if I he’d be cool with me sharing this story with you, he said sure. I also asked if I could share the recording of the conversation – I wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at what it’s like for me to be on the receiving end of a coaching conversation, and to make it clear that I’m far from having it all “figured out.” You can find the recording below.
Lastly, I thought it might be fun for all of us to play together, which very much fits my theme from last year: Playful. One of the way’s I’m doing this is in JG’s Playful Prosperity program. Enrollment is closed for now, but stay tuned for exciting things in the future.
Let’s have some fun.
Heads up: The language in the recordings below is not PG. You’ll recognize much of the dialogue from above. In addition, JG shares some great insights on:
- ~2:04 How to navigate the struggle of having an idea but not knowing what to do with it.
- ~5:00 The danger of being a “me too” business in a world where information is King.
- ~7:24 Slowing down to get clarity.
- ~9:10 The magic of “rare birds,” and how to become one.
- ~11:21 Having a spirit of play.
- ~14:00 Jason gives me homework