It’s 2017. There are old sci-fi stories set in 2017. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, the basis for Blade Runner, takes place in 2019. That’s just two years away. It’ll come faster than you think. The time to make anything happen is now.
That’s the catch. No one can bestow motivation upon you. External events can trigger or inspire a motivation cascade, but it ultimately comes from within.
As I enter this new year, I’m mulling over a couple different quotes. I don’t normally go for quotes, as I find it too tempting to read them, ponder them for ten seconds, and just move on with life, thinking I’ve done something meaningful. But these are really striking a chord, and I think they’ll help some of you start an internal dialogue on motivation and meaning that could bear fruit in the new year. Let me know what you think.
The first comes not from the Iliad, but from the fairly mediocre yet fun film adaptation starring Brad Pitt as Achilles—Troy.
“Any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”
Pitt’s Achilles says that’s why the gods envy us, and it’s what makes humans so special and unique among all other organisms. Our finiteness compresses and accentuates our experiences.
The second comes from Alan Watts. It’s long and somewhat ramble-y, but in true Watts fashion, every line matters.
“Let’s suppose that you were able, every night, to dream any dream you wanted to dream. And that you could, for example, have the power within one night to dream 75 years of time, or any length of time you wanted to have. And you would, naturally, as you began on this adventure of dreams, you would fulfill all your wishes. You would have every kind of pleasure you could perceive. And after several nights of 75 years of total pleasure each you would say, ‘Well, that was pretty great. But now let’s have a surprise. Let’s have a dream which isn’t under control. Where something is going to happen to me that I don’t know what it’s going to be.’ And you would dream that and come out and say, ‘Wow, that was a close shave, wasn’t it?’ And then you would get more and more adventurous, and you would make further and further gambles as to what you would dream, and finally, you would dream where you are now. You would dream the dream of living the life that you are actually living today.”
Both quotes speak to the uniquely human condition: We have limitations, we’re aware of those limitations, and we have the freedom (or illusion thereof) to choose how to react to them. Do we flail impotently against, subvert, work around, or redirect them? It is in the context of our limitations that we define ourselves and derive meaning.
I maintain (and Watts would agree) that we must embrace our limitations. Or at least stop spending so much energy bemoaning them.
Our limited time here on earth and the tensions we face throughout it are difficult, yes, but they’re also blessings. They make life worth living. They mark our progress. We can’t help but peer past them and wonder what lies beyond—and then go explore. If there are no obstacles to goad us into action, we’re stuck.
So it’s not just that you don’t have total freedom. You don’t want total freedom. Total freedom paralyzes you. It makes life dull. We don’t appreciate anything if it comes too easily, or if it’s available in endless quantities.
And look: you can try to ignore the obstacles and hardships life places in front of you, or complain about them, but they’re still there. It does no one any good to deny reality. Better to grab it, mold it and be the risk-taking artist of it.
As I moved through my 40s, everything was in fast forward. Christmases and birthdays felt like they came every six months. I’d get up, log my miles on the track or bike, and just try to keep my body together. I tried a few businesses, nothing really sticking. Days bled into weeks. My life was slipping away.
This is pretty normal. Usually, life speeds up the older you get. Your perception of time—which matters more than what the clock says—quickens.
I decided I didn’t want that to happen. So I embarked on the greatest journey of my professional life up to that point: Mark’s Daily Apple and The Primal Blueprint. This introduced the kind of novelty and complexity that forces the brain to perceive time with greater sensitivity, and it gave my life new meaning. Later, I injected even more time-slowing novelty and meaning, including Primal Kitchen, Primal Kitchen Restaurants, and Primal Health Coach.
These days, I’m busier than ever. I’m also more engaged than ever. My entire being is committed. And time? Well, it’s neither slow nor fast. My days are full and rich. I don’t really think or worry about it because I know I’m doing all I can to make the most of it.
Are you? What could 2017 do for that endeavor?
On that note, let me share a bit about what we’ve got in the works here. This year is already shaping up to be a big one for us, and we hope the changes we have in store can help you get a leg up on your personal vision for the year. That’s why I do what I do after all….
First off, I’ll be covering a whole array of new topics in 2017—including many of those recently submitted by you. For some of these I’ll be partnering with Dr. Cate Shanahan next month to take up many of the women’s health issues MDA readers have shared interest in over the years. I have new free ebooks in the making as well as other premium resources and additions to come for newsletter subscribers. You’ll also be seeing more of me on the Mark’s Daily Apple social media accounts. More to come on that…
With the ketogenic eating strategy taking off in popular culture, I’ve been compelled to basically drop everything and complete a book in short order. It will detail a seven-step approach to help everyone from hard-core Primal/paleo enthusiasts to people with just casual exposure to Primal/paleo understand the amazing breaking science and widespread health and athletic performance benefits of becoming fat- and keto-adapted. This book will release in fall of 2017.
Primal Blueprint Publishing is also making a big effort to extend into the digital realm with the release of two comprehensive online multimedia educational courses in early 2017. Primal Endurance Online essentially brings the popular book to life with over 100 hours of video instruction and interviews with endurance experts in a complete home-study course. Paleo Cooking Bootcamp for Busy People is an actual 30-day bootcamp where participants complete a guided 2-hour weekend cooking class to eat meals and snacks for the entire week. Paleo chef Katie French has delivered this award-winning class live in San Francisco, and now the entire bootcamp will be available for you to participate in at home.
On the Primal Health Coach side, we’re planning a new tech platform that will result in a total upgrade of the learning experience. Along with this overhaul, we’ll have new handouts, templates, questionnaires, ebooks and programs to help grads begin their health coaching businesses. We’ll also be implementing new strategies for connecting our health coaches with clients.
And, finally, we’re continuing to expand the Primal Kitchen lineup this year. I just released a brand new Macadamia Sea Salt bar last week, and there’s more products on the horizon‚ including an allergen-friendly mayo, dairy- and soy-free Caesar and Green Goddess dressings, and a new protein powder featuring one of my favorite ingredients.
These are just a few of the offerings we have planned for 2017. Here’s to making the new year the best yet!
Take care, everybody, and share what 2017 will mean for you. What are your visions, and how will you be using the Primal Blueprint to make it happen? Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year.