Le Radeau de la Méduse

As Though Life Depended On It [Vivere #6]

The Pandemic of 2020 and the recent Delta variant has many of us thinking about our lives and how we dedicate our time. 

People are quitting their jobs so they can work at home. Others are moving to areas where they can spend more time with family and live more simply. All of us have made a life-changing decision in the past two years. 

Recently, I had several family members in intensive care because of COVID. Some I haven’t seen in a couple of years. These constant reminders force us to think about what’s important in our lives. 

Work is important for us. We value the time and effort we spend on it. We have different goals, many of them are aimed at changing an industry, peoples’ lives, and increasing our wealth to provide for our family. 

These are all good things. 

But how often do we let material things get in the way? A promotion. A metric. A social symbol. 

There is a time and place for these things but we often put it before the things that matter most to us. As soon as your peace, family, and health are threatened, priorities rise above the surface.

As a Cuban American, I’ve been watching the protests to end the dictatorship unravel. I’ve watched the communities I am connected to in Miami, the island, and other parts of the world. 

What surprised me the most is watching the passion ingrained in the exile community after so many years. 

As soon as they saw hope for a liberated nation with free democracy, they were willing to risk their lives, careers, and everything to aid the cause; movements to boat over to the island and embed themselves in the action (though it fell short with the prevention by the Coast Guard and momentum slowing down). 

All these thoughts bring me to one thing.

What would I do if my life depended on it?

I think of the Pareto Principle and how we apply it for business or careers. But how can I apply it to my own life? If 20% of my life produces 80% of my happiness, fulfillment, and impact, how can I increase that?

I would have to cut as much of the 80% of life possible to increase the 20% most fulfilling. I think, if we all made that goal, we would live a better life.

This essay is part of the series, Vivere: On Living a Full and Balanced Life.

Originally published on July 26th, 2021.