104. Want to know what that number means to me? It’s age at which my maternal grandmother parted ways with this life. Even when she was still alive, people often asked me how she stayed so vibrant for so long. This past weekend, my family celebrated her life and shared our favorite memories of her. We laughed at things she did that seemed so silly at the time. For instance, when she put the clean dishes away, she would walk across the kitchen lifting the stack of plates over her head, over and over again. When asked why, she replied it was to keep her arms strong. Or how she played golf until the age of 95 and only gave it up because “there weren’t any players left in my age group”. She did the New York Times crossword puzzle EVERY day to keep her mind keen. Each day she did at least one thing that bettered herself mentally, physically or emotionally. I kept thinking about why my grandma seemed so different than other people who do these same types of activities. Listening to my sister’s beautifully accurate eulogy, she absolutely nailed it: My grandma’s “efforts weren’t motivated by vanity or because she was concerned about where she fell in comparison to others or even the opinions of others in a superficial sense. They were motivated, I observed, by a keen awareness that the only person’s opinion of her that mattered at all was her own.”
It occurs to me, that in a world where we live so much of our existence connected to technology and under the eyes of others in social networks, we can spend a lot of time comparing ourselves to others. Our time is precious and fleeting; I know we are well aware of that (I mean, really, who hasn’t uttered the words “if only there were more hours in the day”?!). Taking the time to compare ourselves to others eats up time and mental space. It gives us less time to spend on more important things – us! Our loved ones! But more appropriately here, our businesses. If you’re looking to find a few more moments in the day to spend on your business, perhaps a simple shift to an intrinsically motivated to-do list will do the trick. I know I’m going to give it a try! How about you?