Life is an intriguing paradox: you are the spectator during the most fragile, vulnerable periods of your life, and the player when you are the most able.
As an infant and small child, you are the spectator. You connect with everything around you and observe it all with wondrous curiosity.
Then you become the player for decades. You spin through life and act the days away.
Over time, as you become older and (physically) weaker, the spectator takes over again, looks back on your life, and considers the player’s moves.
Many people ignore the spectator’s values and allow the player to do whatever she or he feels like in the moment.
There’s tremendous irony in the human tendency to wait until the game is almost over to become the spectator and understand the player’s motivations.
You can short-circuit this natural human inclination: If you want to live a happy, successful, and meaningful life, you can make the decision to get off the field and talk to the spectator now, not after it’s too late to do anything about what she or he has to tell you.
Anthony Silard is the president of The Center for Social Leadership, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC and the author of the Simon & Schuster book The Connection: Link Your Passion, Purpose, and Actions to Make a Difference in the World. To receive Smile, It's Monday every other week, enter your email here (1-step only). To support The Center for Social Leadership's Young Leaders Program for disadvantaged youth either directly or through Amazon.com purchases, click here.