I recently watched the documentary film, Free Solo, a few weeks back, and I’m still thinking about it. How crazy it is to climb a huge wall where only one thing separates life and death — the power of concentration?
What if, like Alex Honnold, we could also bring the same level of concentration in our everyday life? To put it bluntly, we’re all dying, day by day, month by month, year by year. We all have a terminal diagnosis. It’s just that the threat for a free solo climber is right in the face. Because we don’t experience the same intensity of fear and dread in our lives, we step away from the notion of death. We start thinking our life will never end and we’ll live on forever, and distance ourselves away from the ultimate truth. We become lackadaisical, lose our focus and procrastinate endlessly.
We put too much on our already full plates, we keep jumping from one task to another task, from one meeting to another, from one email or phone call to another. So many things vie for our attention in our daily life — our family, our friends, our hobbies, and of course social media. We get immersed in distress, anxiety and tension, and it gets difficult to stay focused and do our everyday tasks wholeheartedly and enthusiastically.
But what if we lived as if our life was hanging by a thread and we could die any day, any moment? Wouldn’t it change the way we spend our time?
This is what the Stoic philosopher and Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius did. He kept death always in his perspective in order to stay focused and fulfill his duties. In one of his reflections, he wrote, “Let each thing you would do, say or intend be like that of a dying person.” He knew that every second that passes by is never going to come back and hence focused on doing what was in front of him with sincerity, willingness and single-mindedness.
Let’s concentrate like a free solo climber and not let aimlessness and distractions seep into our life. Do justice to the action you have in front of you and give it your best.