Walking Out Your Amazing Future – Book Review: 20,000 Days and Counting

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Do you know how many days you have lived? How many more do you think you have? Would you like your future to be brighter?

Recently I completed reading a book that I really enjoyed and believe can help those who are serious about being a life-long learner, constantly growing in life, and want their future to be brighter than their past. The book was: 20,000 Days and Counting by Robert D. Smith. Robert is the beloved behind the scenes manager for best-selling author, speaker and comedian, Andy Andrews.

If you don’t know how many days you have lived, you can find out for free quickly on the author’s website – http://www.therobertd.com/. I strongly recommend you do so, because it will set the stage for the rest of the wisdom I share through this blog post on behalf of the author. I have yet to live 20,000 days as the author has.  I have lived 12,717. However, the principles apply to each of us no matter how long we have lived to date.

 Starting Nuggets I Gleaned from 20,000 Days and Counting:

Though below you will see a plethora of top insights from Robert D. Smith’s book, I found two that really stood out to me on page 30, so much so that I wanted to share it with you right from the beginning. The other is highlighted below. These three statements are on my wall now for daily reminder when I wake up. They are from Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and serve as a great reminder about the meaning of life, and our significance and value in God’s eyes. Perhaps it will become something you are encouraged to put somewhere where you can be reminded as well, so you don’t simply go through the hectic life of today and succumb to the ‘motions’ of life rather than His affirmations/wisdom.

1.    I believe I am always divinely guided.
2.    I believe I will always take the right turn in the road.
3.    And I believe God will always make a way where there is no way!

Section 1: The 20,000 Day Mind-set
•    “Time is the one thing we possess. Our success depends upon the use of our time, and its by-product, the odd moment.” Arthur Brisbane –pg. 1Chapter 2:
•    I constantly asked myself, What is important now? What is next? I could never escape those two questions as they spun around my mind. –pg. 12
•    I know I will die, but I do not know how long I will live. –pg. 13
•    “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12) –pg. 14
•    Don’t focus on time, but on events themselves. When you control the event, you control your life. Fill these events with people you love. Relationships will be enhanced and memories created. –pg. 15
•    I am grateful for every moment. Every possibility. Every person I meet throughout the day. I am fully open to God. I am an empty vessel to fill, a building with no doors. I seek what to do and where to go, living on the edge of great expectations. –pg. 15
•    We all dream. But not equally. To make your dreams possible, act on them with open eyes. –pg. 16Chapter 3:
•    …facing death, acknowledging it, and coming to terms with it is the best way to really live. –pg. 23Chapter 4:
•    I wrote my mom and dad each a letter just to thank them for having me. That’s an extraordinary concept we do not think about often enough. Think about it. You and I would not be on this planet if our mothers and fathers had not given birth to us. It is a special bond that should never be forgotten, neglected, or undersold. –pg. 30
•    Applaud everyone you can today.- pg. 31
•    Stop counting days down. Instead, count them up! Marvel at how many you’ve been allowed to spend on this planet. And never forget that each one could be your last. – pg. 31
•    Ponder the kind of life you would like to look back on when you come to die. –pg. 32
 Chapter 5:
•    Discovering your purpose may be the easy part. The hard part is keeping it in front of you daily to the point where it drives you continuously. –pg. 38Chapter 6:
•    You have to be emotionally connected to what you are doing in order to pursue it with intensity. –pg. 41
Chapter 7:
•    If you don’t stop to celebrate the little steps along the way, you get burned out! –pg. 45
•    Celebrate for simply waking up in the morning. Turn on some fun music, Dance! Jump up and down when you get out of bed. Spreading celebration and joy is the only way to withstand the intensity of your mission. –pg. 46
Section 2:
•    A man who dares to waste one hour of his time has not discovered the value of life (Charles Darwin)

Chapter 8:
•    Sing while you do something, and infuse it with joy. It beats waiting around for inspiration any day. –pg. 52

Chapter 9:
•    Constantly saying no- to lunch, to that project, to a vacation, to whatever it may be- diminishes opportunities for discovery and growth. If you want things to change in your life, you have to be open to change, to new possibilities. To yes. –pg. 56
•    Yes means taking chances, putting yourself out there, embracing the unknown. But when you open yourself to yes, amazing opportunities, exciting possibilities, and good results come your way. Marvelous memories are created. You expand your territory and that of others. –pg. 57

Chapter 11:
•    I prioritize my daily list of things to do by what’s most important and rewarding well before I start. I purposely find ways to spend more time each day on what’s most important to me. I concentrate my time on the activities that produce the greatest rewards for the kingdom of God. –pg. 68

Chapter 13:
•    You never will find time for anything. If you want time, you must make it. –Charles Buxton, pg. 78

Chapter 14:
•    Your life will take place whether you have a plan or not, so have a plan. –pg. 81
•    Winning is defined by the legacy you create, and legacies always take time to build. –pg. 82

Chapter 16:
•    …review these questions, as if for the first time, every single morning you are blessed with another day.
1.    Whose life am I going to brighten today?
2.    What three things am I most grateful for today?
3.    What memories am I going to create today?
4.    What challenge am I going to overcome today?
5.    What value am I going to create today?
6.    How much joy can I create for others and myself today?
7.    What life-changing decision(s) am I going to make today?
Bonus: What question am I not asking yet today? –pg. 93
•    Success in the majority of circumstances depends on knowing how long it takes to succeed. –pg. 95

Chapter 18:
•    You have to take chances to make your dreams reality. Face your fear head-on and move rapidly. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Make lots of them! Your odds for success will increase with the number of decisions you make.
•    Do you know what it feels like to wake up every day with the absolute certainty that what you will be doing every hour of that day will add up to something much larger than you? If you don’t know what that feels like, I promise you can. –pg. 102
•    Decisions you make right now can change your life forever. Literally forever. You do not choose to be born. You do not choose your parents. You do not choose the time period in which you live. You do not choose the country of your birth. You do not choose the circumstances of your upbringing. In most cases, you do not choose to die. You do not choose the time conditions of your death. Despite all the realms of this ‘choicelessness,’ we do choose how we will live. –pg. 103

One Final Life Quote:
We all run on two clocks. One is the outside clock, which ticks away our decades and brings us ceaselessly to the dry season. The other is the inside clock, where you are your own timekeeper and determine your own chronology, your own internal weather and your own rate of living. Sometimes the inner clock runs itself out long before the outer one, and you see a dead man going through the motions of living. -Max Lerner, pg. 105

10 Ways to Start to Walk Out 20,000 Days and Counting:
I am big on life-long learning as a business/life coach, public speaker and entrepreneur. However, learning without application is largely wasted in my opinion. Below are 10 ways from Chapter 17 that you can start to practically walk out 20,000 days and counting into your amazing future.

•    Here are ten things you could do in the next fifteen minutes that would make a drastic difference in your day:
1.    Call a family member whom you have not spoken to in a while. Tell them you love them. Honor them.
2.    Make a list of the top five priorities in your life today. Prioritize them. Now act on them in order, completing each priority or making major progress on some portion of it.
3.    Invite a close friend to dinner.
4.    You know that thing you’ve been putting off? Do it.
5.    Begin your next big project, no matter how big it is.  When I could not get started on a term paper in high school, my teacher told me, “Starting is half finished.” A huge encouragement then-and now.
6.    If you don’t have a next big project, come up with one. It can be something as simple as organizing the garage. Or it can be as big as writing a book.
7.    Start reading the book you’ve been meaning to pick up.
8.    Exercise. Begin living healthily. Enjoy the gift that is your body.
9.    Crank up some of your favorite music and jump around. Dance. Celebrate your day! Celebrate this moment!
10.    Go outside and breathe deeply. Be still. Listen. Be grateful. Simply say, thank YOU! –pg. 98
I strongly encourage you to read this and share it with your spouse, loved ones, your team or key client relationships. I believe it will deepen your key relationships in life if you heed the wisdom and apply it to your life.

God bless, Joe

*I help my coaching clients focus on important life lessons like these so they can achieve better balance both personally and professionally. If you’d like to find out more about my life coaching company, Live With Purpose Coaching, feel free to contact me at (717) 283-2377.