I recently saw the movie “Click” with Adam Sandler. Although it wasn’t a great movie, it did get me to think more about what happens when you make your life about goals.
Sandler’s character (Michael Newman) is given a remote control that allows him to control not his television, but his actual life. He can use the remote to fast forward his life past the parts he doesn’t like, rewind his life to re-live (but not change) past events, and he can run his life in slow motion.
It turns out that Newman’s favorite is the fast forward button. As I watch, he fast forwards past his morning commute and skips past arguments with his wife to the point in time where they make up. He fast forwards past any cold or illness straight to recovery, and skips through the tedious parts at work to get directly to his next promotion. I’m watching this thinking, “Cool. I could really use one of these gizmos.”
But there’s a catch.
When Newman arrives at the time of his promotion, he discovers he’s still not happy. So he fast forwards again. Next thing you know, his life is whizzing by him. Of course, there is the ONE scene in the movie where he uses the slow motion button – when driving past an attractive, scantily dressed woman, who is …well, ah, jogging.
So I am watching this, and I start to wonder how I would use that remote control.
Goal-Free Living is about being present. Savoring the moment. Having the life you want now. If you had a remote control like in the movie Click, how often would you hit the fast forward button? Run your life in slow motion? Or hit rewind, and relive your past?
According to my goalaholic survey of over 1,000 individuals, 61% of the population finds themselves saying, “I will be happy when…” Their happiness awaits them in the future. I wonder how many of these people, if given such a remote control, would use the fast forward button to get to that point when they think they will be happier.
How satisfied are you with your life? One measure of success might be your “slow motion to fast forward ratio.” How much of your day would you run in slow motion? 5 minutes? 1 hour? 3 hours? 24 hours? Never? How much of your day would want to fast forward past? 2 hours? 8 hours (your workday)? 24 hours (skip the day altogether)? The higher the ratio between slo mo and fast forward, the higher the satisfaction with your life. So what’s your ratio? What percentage of the time do you savor the moment versus how often do you want to fast forward your life? Increasing your ratio can be as simple as increasing your level of appreciation for your life the way it is now, rather than believing that it can only get better.