6 Responses to “How Many Wake-Up Calls Do You Need?”


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  1. Don Francis

    Thanks for this message, Avish. It continues to amaze me that the Universe keeps sending me such timely messages. Just yesterday I took an irreversible step to ensure that I will be valuing every precious moment in my life. It was a very scary step, but your post has served to remind me that I made a good choice and has also helped to bolster my courage.

    This is a great message and I hope that it serves as a wake-up call to many who are looking for it.

  2. My two cents: the reason wake-up calls don’t work—and the corollary, why you’ve had so many—is that it’s very romantic to think of the epiphany that changes your life, but human beings don’t work that way. We’re more creatures of habit. What you’re discussing is pretty much a flow state of emotional connection, and as we all know, flow states are usually hard to come by.

    Put another way, I’ve spent my entire life knowing that the odds were vanishingly small that I’d be here at all—but at the moment, I’m paying much more attention to the slight twinge in my back, or to the need to make another cup of coffee.

    So rather than putting “I promise to be a wholly-realized human being for the rest of my life” on your to-do list, which will never happen, the trick is to do small discrete things that do the same. Some examples I try:

    1) Put as many non-routine events on your calendar as possible. For me it’s travel. The more novelty, the more you notice.

    2) Make note of which events are more rare than routine, whether that’s a meal you can’t get at home, or time with a friend or family member you don’t see often. If you think of seeing someone once a year as routine, you won’t notice. Think of it as 1/365th of your time, and it’s easier.

    3) It’s absolutely impossible to “live every day as if it’s your last;” there are damn good reasons why we’re more circumspect. But I try to go out of my way to connect with people around me, and usually that’s by introducing something novel in their environment. I.e., “Hey. That’s a great tie.”

  3. Avish

    Thanks Don! It’s funny, this idea that “the universe keeps sending us messages” is something I talk about in my speech and “Say ‘Yes, And'” book – I just didn’t connect it directly in this post! But basically, we all say a lot of “yes, but” to stay right where we are, regardless of the wake-up calls we get…

  4. Avish

    Thanks for the two cents Jeff. In my experience and research there are two ways people change:

    1 – Gradually, by slowly changing and.or breaking habits. The suggestions you provided are some excellent ways to achieve this

    2 – All at once, often (but not always) in response to some external stimulus. People do sometimes change due to epiphany. Personally, I knwo i let myself get way too fat during my senior year in college. I struggled to lose the weight, and then one day a friend made an off-handed joke about me being fat. That was the first time I realized, “wow, my friends see me as a fat person.” That kicked my ass into changing my ways, and the next day I started running and two months later I had dropped the college weight. So it can happen, if we find and utilize the right motivators.

    Thanks for the suggestions!

  5. Thanks for the Wake Up Call…I’ve had several ‘near death’ experiences that certainly have given me a sense of what’s important in life. While my primary business is PR and writing, I do capture life stories in print and DVD. Several years ago I wrote my own obituary. It was the hardest thing, but perhaps the most meaningful thing, I’ve ever written. I go back to it every year to update it and see if I’m on track with my goals. I’ve given the obit to two friends in the event that I don’t make it off of the Surekill Expressway one day. I have also placed it with my will and have planned the details of my memorial service, along with key organizations to contact when I die. I’ve just turned 50 and hope to lead a long and productive life, but ya never know. I recently did a DVD/booklet for a 93-year-old woman who came back to me and asked me to write a draft of her obituary. I was honored to receive this request.

  6. Avish,

    All I can say to your observations are “Wow, wow, wow.”

    And “yes, Yes, YES!!!”

    In addition to the sadness and loss that we feel when our friends like Susan and John leave us, there is most definitely a wake-up call. The problem – and I’m first in line – is that we tend to hit the “Snooze” button and decide that yes, it’s sad they’re gone. Yes, life is short. Yes, we need to make the most of every moment, personally and professionally and spiritually… and and and… [Snooze]

    I have these bills to pay – I have this family issue – I need to tweak my business or career this way or that – I have to wait until I have more stability/money/time to improve my current situation. But… but… but…

    You are 10,000% right. The time is now. The place is here. The person that needs to act is YOU. Me. All of us. My good pal Terry Hawkins, CSP has a book and a speech titled “There are only 2 times – Now and Too Late.”

    This is the cold hard truth folks – whatever it is you’re put on this planet to DO – get going. The big clock is ticking and we all have less time than we think.

    Our friends like Susan and John and the other good folks who have passed on from each of our lives are watching. Encouraging us. Telling us to “Go. Truly. Now!”

    And I’m confident they are looking forward to seeing our success down here — before we join them up there!!!

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