Nothing you do in your lifetime will matter.
Think about that for a second.
No matter how hard you try, no matter how much you want it, no matter how much sacrifice and hardships you suffer through, it’s all for naught.
Are you thinking what I’m thinking? I hope so.
What a relief!
Thank whatever god you prefer (or none at all if that’s more your speed…thank…I don’t know…science) that you don’t have that kind of pressure.
If nothing in your life matters, if it will all be washed away by time and mold and bacteria and the water cycle, you don’t have to worry about screwing up and ruining everything.
You can afford to take risks!
So what if you’re the head of the football team? Mix things up, try new plays. What’s the worst that can happen if you fail? Ooooo, you might lose a game. Scaaaaary.
So what if you’re the keynote speaker at a major event? Make some radical statements that the audience may or may not get behind. What’s to lose? Maybe you’ll get a bad review or booed off stage. Who cares? No one will remember you or that event or your life’s work in a couple hundred years (if that long) anyway. Go nuts!
So what if you’re the President of the Frickin’ United States? Do what you think is right, damn the consequences. Everyone’s going to judge you anyway, and then you’ll be forgotten, just one more name among others like…oh I don’t know, one of those Presidents no one can remember. See? Already no one cares. I sure as hell don’t. Use this to your advantage.
The sad, sick, awesome fact is that no matter how great an impact you have on humanity or the world, your contribution will eventually be rubbed off the face of the Earth, so you might as well enjoy yourself and try to make the life you live as epic, interesting, and full as possible.
Be decisive and make tough decisions. Be unpopular if necessary, but shape your environment to the best of your ability.
Make sure the time you spend on this Earth is worthwhile for you and those around you because really that’s all there is. Lay the groundwork for better things for the future, sure, but don’t pave the road to success with your happiness.
No one will remember your sacrifice, and honestly, you can serve yourself and the world better by pursuing your passion and encouraging others to do the same.
Update: December 2, 2016
I really like this one. It’s an argument I still give as advice sometimes, but I find it’s difficult to write about for a broad audience without it coming across as ultra-dark and depressing. My writing style back in the day allowed it to balance, though, since it was a little more frantic and exclamation point-heavy.