My business card is very similar and at the same time very different from the business cards of other people I know. Yes, it is white. It conforms to the 2 x 3.5 size standard. And it has plain black text printed on nice white card stock.
So far it sounds pretty normal, right? Well, that’s where the similarities end.
This card I carry does not have my name on it. It does not have my address. It does not have my phone number. It does not have my e-mail, Facebook, Linked-In, or Twitter contact information. It has no logo, or hint on how to find or contact me. No, my card has the following text on it, simply printed, and centered in the middle of the card:
What is it going to mean in 100 years?
That’s it. That’s all it says. Look… see… here it is:
And really… why would it need to say any more?
I pass these cards out somewhat infrequently. I think I’ve probably gone through three boxes in the last five years? This is partially due to my laziness, the fact that I don’t carry them all the time, and partially because I only want to give them to people who will gain benefit from the message (so that I haven’t killed a tree in complete vain).
So who do I give them to? Anyone who I think might need a little reminder not to take life too seriously. In the past I’ve given them to waiters and waitresses who were displaying the outward behavior of them having a bad day. I’ve given them to coworkers who were complaining about various trivialities in their life. I even gave one to a top bank executive who was about to be handed a $10 million fine from the 9th District Court with the threat of an even bigger fine waiting in the wings. I will hand this card to anyone and everyone who I think needs to see it. If I meet you some day, and you have a sad look on your face, I might even hand one to you. And I do this because I love the message that it delivers.
I see it this way: From a life’s big picture perspective, all occurrences of perceived imperfection are always accompanied by some sort of negative emotion. And it’s during these times that a little message like, “what is it going to mean in 100 years,” can be very beneficial to pulling one’s awareness of the emotion in question into a higher state of consciousness.
For instance, in a moment of anger, about ANYTHING… what is the seeming immediate importance of that moment in your life going to mean in 100 years? Because, frankly speaking, in 100 years (if you’re reading this) you are going to be dead. You’re either going to be worm food, or ash particles in 100 years. Without exception. So whatever it is that you are angry about at the moment… whatever it is that is vexing you… no matter how important you might think that is this moment… how important is that going to be in the big scheme of your life100 years from now?
Because even before 100 years from now, at some point where you are on your death bed, whatever it is still isn’t going to matter that much. I mean… will you look back and cherish that specific moment you spent in anger over whatever it was? Will you remember fondly your heightened level of ire, or would you rather spend that short remaining lifetime remembering fonder moments from your past?
And the same applies to sadness. And to fear. And to worry/regret. At the time you are taking what may be one of your last breaths on this Earth, are you really going to look back on those painful or frustrating moments with a warmth in your heart? Are you seriously going to look back on the time that you worried about losing your job and cherish those moments of worry about that situation, even if the fact was that you wound up losing your job after the fact? Are you going to be glad you spent that time worrying? And are you going to look back on the pain and sadness you felt after a failed relationship and appreciate that time it took for you to get to the point where you got over it? Will you appreciate having that portion of your time spent on sadness? And are you going to see through the window of your mind how wonderful it was to fear being hurt again after a bad relationship experience, and how that fear wound up influencing all your relationships from that point forward? Are you going to embrace fondly the memory of that fear?
Looking in on each of those individual moments of emotional turmoil… what is it going to mean in 100 years?
When you are in that moment of emotional trauma, that little question can be a great tool to use in raising your level of awareness to be above that of the emotional situation you believe yourself to be engaged in. It is when you decide that you want your life to be filled with positive moments rather than emotional strife that the information on my little business card can deliver you a service from me… without you ever having to pick up the phone and call me.
That’s why there’s no phone number on it.
In our Body Mind Spirit 101 series of the I AM Spirituality podcast, we are explaining the slow-motion process of how negative emotions are created within the mind. And it is having that knowledge along with little mental tools like, “what is it going to mean in 100 years,” and the mindful tip I provided in episode 0006, that we will be able to temporarily separate from and reduce the severity of negative emotions situations. And it is these type of things that will work as band-aids until we find that place of true spiritual discovery where immediate and profound healing actually occurs.
And let’s not even talk about the potential that little question can have on creating positive change in your life if we zoom out 50,000 feet or so after we achieve a better state of emotional balance. When you look that specific thought from a “what is my presence here on Earth going to mean to the world in 100 years?”, THAT can certainly have a positive effect regarding your outlook and motivations to help people. THAT sort of reflection can help improve your actions and intent to leave the world a better place than it was when you came into it. But that may be a topic for another post some time in the future. That’s the kind of stuff that gets you invited to speak at TED.
Ya know… looking back on all the cards I passed out, it is my sincere hope that anyone I’ve given this card to has seen the positive side of its message. I would sure hate to think that someone who is in the depths of self-pity and depression read it, took it the wrong way, then went home and took a bottle of pills to off themselves. “What is my life going to mean in 100 years? It’s all for nothing.” May be I need to add some fine print text to the card to better explain the meaning. But then again, wouldn’t that defeat the point of allowing the reader to gain from it whenever they needed at that moment?
What you think?
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