“March 2075 … A beautiful place somewhere in the world. I’m delivering a talk in front of 150 participants in their twenties and thirties, coming from all over the globe. They’re all here to take part in a masterclass called ‘The Paradoxes of Life’. The masterclass consists of a 2-day course divided into 7 blocks- spread over 14 months. Every block focusses on a different life paradox. On this occasion, we’re exploring the topic ‘Time’ ; how do people look differently at this intriguing topic? During the day, the participants work in small groups to explore a topic, while being supported by several certified coaches and trainers. My book ‘The Paradoxes of Life’ is a manual used to start the conversations.
Every block also has some plenary elements to it, and at this moment, I’m sharing my personal experiences and stories around the different shapes of time. I’ve just done an experiment that lets everybody feel the differences between clock-time and experience-time. Time is a relative thing, and clock-time is just a simplified part of time that has received too much focus and attention worldwide. I ask, “what would happen if we can expand the concept of ‘this moment right here and now’?”. The atmosphere in the group is electric. People are discussing and exploring possibilities that would integrate different shapes of time in their lives. One paradox that of course pops up is the question of life and death. These two elements are the only certainties in this life – we are born at a certain moment; and everybody will leave this earth again – hopefully after a fulfilling life.
My life has been a fulfilling one. I’m expressing gratitude towards the interesting life that I have lived. I’ve crossed off many things on my expanding bucket-list. I feel that my mission is accomplished. I have had the chance to inspire thousands of people via my presentations, books and programs. I’ve collaborated with many colleagues and professionals all over the world. I have enjoyed the moments spent with my relatives and friends. I still have a lot of love for my life partner Liane. I’ve explored many paths (physical, mental, emotional & spiritual), and I’ve tried my whole life to stay open to new things and experiences. It’s all good. I’ve done my part in making this world a little bit more creative, conscious, simple and beautiful. It’s not a coincidence that this night would be my final one. Time’s up … It’s time to go … and with those words, I breathe out my last breath … and everything is silent.”
– My last moment on planet earth – Cyriel Kortleven
A look ahead (a few decennia)
Every year, I take a few days to reflect on my previous year and look forward to the future. This year, I’ve looked a bit further than just a few years. One of the goals on my bucket-list is to become 100 years old/young, (I can only express my intentions to the Universe, and of course I’m still here, which means that my plan is still going in the right direction). I can imagine that some of you have already envisaged yourself at your own funeral – a very powerful and emotional exercise. I had the same experience a few days ago. How do I want to leave this earth? What’s my legacy? Again, it’s an intention and I don’t know what the Universe has in mind for me, but this blog has already helped me express some goals and directions, and that feels satisfying. I see many people around me (especially in the larger organisations where I deliver presentations) who have lost their passion and commitment. Their only goal is to survive the day and every day they cross a box called ‘another day closer to retirement’. They then discover that retirement isn’t the ‘holy grail’.
The moment is now
There’s only one moment to live in, and that moment is now. Right here, right now – while you’re reading this blogpost – you can take the decision to change something in your life. You don’t have to wait until something dramatic happens to make a switch in your career, relationship or your life. You have the power now to choose a different direction. I wouldn’t recommend that you jump up right now and shout to your boss that you are resigning (although it might work for some). However, you can make a decision to use the next weeks to explore how to get a more fulfilling job (if you’re no longer happy in your current line of work). Or, you can decide to plan a serious conversation with your partner later this week about your collective future. Human beings have the power to choose what our reactions to things happening in the outside world will be. Of course, it’s awful if something tragic happens in your life, and it’s totally okay to grieve about it, but don’t get stuck in the sadness. Right now, you can decide to create a ritual that closes an old chapter and starts a new one (that you’ll write yourself).
Translating your dreams into action
During my yearly review, I create a few goals in different domains: the relationship with my partner; professional achievements; my personal & professional development; family & friends; health & sport; and giving back to society. In every category, I lay out some bigger projects that I want to achieve in the upcoming 12 months. These are then translated into smaller sub-goals, and combined with a time-frame for the next weeks or months. There is also a weekly review to integrate concrete steps to help come closer to some of those goals. Will I achieve every goal? No, I’m quite sure that some of the plans will change during the year depending on various factors in my life. But it gives one good direction, and that’s the whole purpose. If you haven’t sat down to write down your goals for 2018, I definitely recommend you put a half day away somewhere next week to allow yourself to visualise your dreams, and then translate them into actions.
Good luck and enjoy your life (today).