• Mike X

The Most Important Decision You Can Make Today


Photo: Unsplash.com

I’ve got a question for you.


What are you doing today?


With this one day of your life...what will you make happen?


Chances are... you’ve got a list. And that list has a bunch of stuff on it.


All the stuff you think you need to get done today. So you start in on it.


You get to work. And you’re getting stuff done. But after a while, you hear a voice inside say,


“Hey, look at all the stuff we’re getting done! How ‘bout we take a quick look at Instagram?”


So you pull out your phone and you open it up. And then you see something—and you have a reaction to it.


Not a big one. Kind of like a mosquito bite. It only hurts a little bit.



That’s the pain of envy, desire or maybe fear.


You’re not even conscious of it. You just sit there, scrolling and scratching.

Sometimes you scratch really hard—like maybe you haven’t cut your nails for a few days, so you’re digging up skin cells, and they’re piling up under your fingernails.


Suddenly you look down, and you’re like,


“Oh shit! What the hell have I done to my arm?!?”


And—right in that moment—a dart hits you in the neck.

Not a big one. Just like a little blow dart.


That is guilt.


Guilt that you’ve been sitting there on Instagram, scraping up perfectly good skin cells, when you have stuff that needs to get done.


But instead of getting back to your stuff, you’ve got to sit there and pull the dart out of your neck.


So you get it out, and now you’re thinking,


“This little hole in my neck fucking hurts—and so does the crater I dug in my arm.”


Well, your brain knows that the antidote to pain is dopamine. So it makes you go back to Instagram, just for a minute. And you scroll.


Then, your boss—or your son—or your mom—comes in, and they’re like,


“Hey, what are you doing?”


You say,


“I’m just getting my stuff done.”


Zap! Another dart in the neck! And another! And another!


These three darts are guilt, shame and fear, because:

(1) You’re not getting your stuff done.


(2) You should be getting your stuff done.


(3) You’re afraid of all the imaginary bad things that will happen because you’re not getting your stuff done.


Whoever came into the room walks away, and you’re alone with your thoughts again.


A voice says,


“How the hell are we gonna get our stuff done with all these holes in our neck?”


And instantly a bigger dart jams right into your carotid artery.

This one is fear with a capital F.


This is the ultimate fear of the worst case scenario. We’ve all got one.


For a lot of us, it’s being homeless and alone, pushing a shopping cart and sleeping on the sidewalk.


And now you’re officially stuck. You’re sitting there not doing your stuff, which means more darts.


Pretty soon, your neck is a bloody mess. And now you’re in a crisis.


Your brain is on red alert. Panic sets in. You’re paralyzed in fight or flight, which results in more darts.


So naturally, you want to do something to make yourself feel better.


A voice says,


“Hey, why not have a chocolate bar? We’ll just eat half.”


Or,


“How ‘bout we watch another one of those cat videos? Just one.”

So you do.


And, for a minute, it feels good. But you’re not getting your stuff done, which means more darts in the neck… until the pain gets so intense that you jump out of your chair and say,


“I’m gonna do my stuff now!”


So now you get productive. You start doing your spreadsheets—or your T.P.S. reports—or your phone calls—or your house cleaning.


You’re finally getting stuff done.


Right then, a bee stings you in your chest—pretty close to your heart.

That’s the pain of hating the stuff you’re doing in life.


The burning feeling of living a life filled with the wrong stuff. Stuff that isn’t what you’re meant to be doing.


So now you’ve got the stinger stuck in your chest—and you realize you can’t pull it out.


Your stuff is what it is.


You can’t change it, because you built your life around it.


And you think,


“Fuck, I’m gonna have to walk around for the rest of my life with this stinger stuck in my chest! What’s that gonna be like?”


There’s the fear, which is another dart in the neck.


So there you are rubbing your wounds, and the thought hits you:


“I’m not getting my stuff done.”


So the cycle continues—all the way up until the day they shovel dirt onto the wood box you’re lying in, and they put a tombstone above you bearing the words didn’t get his stuff done.

The End. That’s your life.


Alright...


I know what you’re thinking:


That’s not me. That’s a total crazy person. I’m nothing like that.”


Are you sure?


Are you positive there’s not an ounce of truth in this story as it applies to your life?


Let me go back to the question I started with:


What are you doing today?


Keep in mind that your life is nothing but a series of todays. If you live to be 85, you get 31,000 of them.


That may sound like a lot, but they go by fast.


Before long, you’re getting ready for them to shovel that dirt onto your box, and you look back and say,


“I wish I’d gotten my stuff done.”


Is that what you say? Or do you say,


“I wish I’d lived my dream.


I wish I’d realized that happiness was a choice. That I could decide every day to be happy. To be filled with light. The light of passion and joy and love and gratitude.


And that I could have spent my life shining that light onto every person I came across.”


Do you say,


“I wish I’d focused more on the people that matter.


I wish I’d given more.


I wish I’d taken more time to savor and enjoy all that was great in my life.”


Well, here’s the good news:


You are here today—not in a box underground. You can choose to make today an amazing day.


You can say,


“I’m gonna get my stuff done, and I’m gonna enjoy the process of doing it. I’m going to feel grateful that I have stuff to get done.”


The question I have for you now is this:


Will you accept that having a happy life means being happy today?


And will you make the choice to be happy right now?


As someone who’s had far too many years of mosquito bites, bee stings and darts in the neck, I can tell you one thing:


If you make the decision right now to be happy today and every day—for all the days you have left—it will change everything.


x


 

This article is an excerpt of the forthcoming book, Your Best Life: Tactics, Tools and Insights to Create a Life of Fulfillment, Joy and Abundance, by Mike X — to be released on March 14, 2023.


Originally published on Change Your Mind, Change Your Life.