Brain Food #641

The Tail End

Thoughts of the day

Tim Urban, one of the Internet’s favourite bloggers, famously wrote about the tail end. Using first principles thinking, Urban deconstructs the timeline of an average person’s life, in years, months, and weeks, showing how much but also how little we have left.

How many more times will you get to eat a dish you like, visit one of your favourite places, read a book that stays with you, see someone you love?

This may sound bleak, but Urban’s conclusions are paradoxically uplifting.

When confronted with the power of such information, we are forced to prioritise, and to remember that real life is not something that will start tomorrow, but something that we are going through in every passing moment. Ultimately, it is up to us to make it matter.

These are the conclusions he makes at the end of the post. What are yours?

1) Living in the same place as the people you love matters. I probably have 10X the time left with the people who live in my city as I do with the people who live somewhere else.

2) Priorities matter. Your remaining face time with any person depends largely on where that person falls on your list of life priorities. Make sure this list is set by you—not by unconscious inertia.

3) Quality time matters. If you’re in your last 10% of time with someone you love, keep that fact in the front of your mind when you’re with them and treat that time as what it actually is: precious.