I’ve always had a hard time with small talk when meeting someone new. When people meet for the first time there’s so much each person wants to know about the other. Usually people will go through the standard protocol of questions: ‘where are from’, ‘what do you do’, ‘are you married’, etc. . Each person is basically casting a net to see if they can pull in something interesting from the other.

But it’s such a boring way to get to the good stuff. Recently I’ve been diving into the small talk conversation with a different question, “what do you do with your time?” Funny enough, people are totally thrown off, which is interesting to me in itself.

Most people have boring jobs that they don’t like. Rarely is someone from anywhere of interest. I don’t really care about anyone’s relationship status so I figure this is the best way to get to the good stuff if there is any. And you know what I’ve discovered? Most people are dead.

When I ask most people what they do with their time outside of work they have no response. I’ll often prod people a little bit to get them to dig a little deeper, but there’s nothing there. This is shocking and sad to me because it revealed how many people are just getting by rather than living life.

One thing I’m always evaluating and reevaluating is my purpose. Why am I here? What am I supposed to be doing? What do I want to do? For me, the answer to these questions is basically the same.

I’ve noticed that so many people are so entrenched in making sure there’s food on the table, heat in the house and gas in the car that life is really passing many of us by. But really think about it. Is your purpose solely to live till the next day? Make it through another week? See your next birthday?

Hey, if that’s good enough for you, then more power to you. But I know there are many people out there that want to do more with their lives. Going to school. Starting a business. Starting a program. Getting a massage. Learning to drive. Getting a facial. Going to your kids soccer game. Enrolling your kids in soccer.

I’m definitely not advocating dropping whatever you’re doing and just doing what you want. We all have responsibilities. But just think about this: what is holding you back from what you want? What is keeping you from living? Is it something you can change?

More often that not, you probably can take some steps to start moving your life in the direction you want it to go rather than the daily monotony dictating your life. They may not be big steps, but a bunch of baby steps do add up.

So think about. To quote ‘Red’ from the Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy living, or get busy dying”.

Until next time, cheers to a better you.

For questions, ideas, comments or concerns feel free to email Onyi at onyi@okeeki.com.

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