Photo of a Coleus sprout (modified by highly increased contrast). (credit: Mark Gresham)

Cross the world four times

Derek Sivers | 10 OCT 2019

Cross the world four times.

First, in your teens or 20s, to take it all in. See it all, do it all, and learn. Get involved. Stay up all night talking with strangers, everywhere. Kiss and fall and promise to them all. Make lots of mistakes.

Cross the world the first time to fall in love.


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The second time, in your 30s, to tell everyone what you’ve learned. You’re full of answers, since you’ve done so much. You know how things should be, since you’ve made all your mistakes. You can see the path clearly, and it’s your turn to lead.

Cross the world the second time to make change.

The third time, in your 50s, to compensate. You realize what a blow-hard you were in your 30s, and how little you actually know. You’ve been humbled. It’s time to make up for years of thinking others were wrong. Pay close attention and listen without judgement for once. Have no answers — only good questions and good ears.

Cross the world the third time to unlearn.


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The fourth time, late in life, to witness. To find old friends, and find that they’re gone. To see what’s changed, and what’s stayed the same. To appreciate the young. The world is theirs, not yours. Now you know what happens when you die: everything! Evolution, revolutions, inventions, disasters, so much love, and so many lives. You just won’t be part of it anymore.

Cross the world the last time to say goodbye. ■

Derek Sivers is an American entrepreneur, influencer, world traveler, introvert, author and book publisher, best known for being the founder and former president of CD Baby, an online CD store for independent musicians. A native of California, he currently lives in Oxford, England. The essay above was originally published 27 SEP 2019 on his personal blog at sivers.org · ©2019 Derek Sivers. Republished by permission. Mr. Sivers invites readers copy the original link and share.


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