The Five Pledges I Took To Make My Life Matter

A look at Jon Westenburg‘s pledges to make his life matter.

1. I pledge not to live on auto-pilot

When I live on auto-pilot, that’s where I lose myself in the things that don’t matter, and lose sight of the work that really could make an impact. What does that look like in reality? No more forgetting where I am and finding myself staring at Sonic Dash on my phone. I want to be mindful of my days and my minutes and my seconds — and mindful of what the fuck I’m doing with them.

If I want to grow trees that reach to the sky, I can’t do that if I’m sleep walking, like a zombie, with no concept of the life that’s being lived beyond my own nose.

2. I pledge not to forget the reasons I work

I work to make a difference in the world and to help people, any people, as many people as I can. I work to make my dream goal happen — and create 1,000,000 entrepreneurs. I work to impact creative people and help them improve their businesses, and to impact business people and help them be creative.

But do you know how many times a day I forget all that? Constantly. I spend most of my days working because there are a bunch of tasks on a fucking to do list so therefore I have to work. I spend most of my days working because I told somebody Yes, not because I told myself anything. And that’s not good enough.

3. I pledge to learn, the better to teach

Let’s be real, I’m not in the business of building software or creating an AI assistant to help 49ers fans decide what pizza toppings they want or delivering petrol to lazy motherfuckers who can’t go to a gas station (that last one’s real believe it or not). I’m in the business of teaching people, and to do that, I need to constantly learn.

That’s what I’m about. I’m about learning as much as I possibly can. This pledge is to spend time every fucking day learning something, anything, everything that I can, and asking myself at the end of it what I have learned of value.

4. I pledge to give a shit, more than I do now

I don’t give a shit nearly as much as I should, and I know I’m probably not alone in that. I give a shit when it’s convenient, or when I want to impress someone. Not because I’m a bad person — just because I’m a human being who is as bad as the next human being at looking after the people he exists with. So I want to give more of a shit, more often than not.

That’s going to look like this. Taking more time to talk to people, and ask about who they are and what they want and need and more. It’s going to look like connecting with the world on a less superficial level.

5. I pledge to dream bigger

Nothing happens without a big, huge, fuck-off dream that has the power to make it happen. And I used to dream much bigger than I do now. But lately, I think I’ve been a little caught up in the smaller dreams and the smaller ideas — instead of having a dream to be fit and healthy, my dreams have been to go the gym once a week. That’s not good enough. It’s not good enough for my own standards, and it’s not good enough to get me to where I want to be, personally or professionally.

I’m going to stop asking myself How before I’ve finished even dreaming about what I want. I’m going to stop analysing my limited chances of success without even letting myself embrace the possibilities out there.

Life isn’t meant to be coasted through, and it’s not meant to lack meaning. It’s meant to be expended on things that matter and things that matter to more than just us. I know that I’m particularly prone to losing sight of that, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned while away, it’s that losing sight can push me to lose my way.

What about you? How would you make you life matter?