Sifting – Chapter 1: Bob’s Remaining Days on Earth

A Free Course…

Many of the topics that can help you joyfully and productively participate in life are introduced or addressed in my book titled Sifting: A Story About Life and Well-Being. Therefore, I thought I would use Sifting as a textbook (albeit a somewhat non-traditional one) for a self-study course on well-being and flourishing. Over the next few months (on Sunday mornings), I will post the individual chapters of Sifting on this blog with author’s notes that hopefully will give you some insight on how to live well and prosper. I hope you enjoy the book and ideas. No fees, no tests…just a course to provoke your thoughts. I encourage you to spend some quality time thinking about the issues and questions listed at the end of each chapter. Here’s Chapter 1…


Sifting – Chapter 1

Bob’s Remaining Days on Earth 

Sunday Afternoon

Although unable to explain why, Bob Rushing intuitively believed he would live for 92 years. Ignoring leap years, this meant from start to finish he had 33,580 days to do whatever he was supposed to do during his time on Earth. As of next Saturday, only 18,980 of those days remained.

At this point, he wasn’t exactly sure what he was supposed to be doing with his life; he just sensed that he wasn’t doing it yet. He couldn’t help but think that this was the time in life when he should be settling into some sense of certainty about the meaning and purpose of his life. But all he sensed as he approached his 40th birthday was low-grade, chronic frustration and nagging uncertainty.

His feelings of uncertainty were accompanied by increasingly noticeable feelings of restlessness. No, restlessness didn’t totally describe all he was feeling as Saturday approached. Bob tore off a piece of paper from the notepad on his desk and jotted down a few words that came to mind when he thought about his present situation.











He didn’t feel all these things all the time, but these feelings were showing up more often these days…especially anxiety. Only one of the words seemed to offer much hope of assistance with his unexplained dilemma.

One thing was certain; at this point in time, at least his career seemed to be going great. He had places to go and things to do. He would think more about these odd feelings later. Right now he had to get ready for a busy week of traveling, meetings and making things happen!

End Chapter 1


Author’s Notes: 

Main takeaway: As Socrates (and Plato) advised – “An unexamined life is not worth living.” It’s easy to get in a hurry and get caught up in the many traps society presents to us as good ideas; however, if you desire to joyfully and productively participate in life, it’s a good idea to occasionally slow down and examine the quality of your current decisions and where those decisions are taking you in life. Since there is no guarantee that you will be here tomorrow, next week, or next month…the time to begin doing this is right now.

  1. Bob’s last name offers the first clue about how you might alter your lifestyle to more joyfully participate in life. As you will see as the story unfolds, slowing down a bit opens up totally new life pathways and trajectories for Bob.
  2. How many days do you have (if all goes well) to do whatever you are supposed to do during your time on Earth? Life expectancy estimates/calculator. 
  3. Bob’s feelings are all common signs that it’s time for some sort of lifestyle change. Do you experience any of these feelings on a regular or ongoing basis?
  4. Yes, curious is the word that can help Bob sift through all his feelings, draw some conclusions and develop some strategies for change. More about curiosity in subsequent chapters.
  5. Feelings are perhaps our only internal/direct source of knowledge (versus learning things from external/indirect sources like people, books, etc.). Think about that! What do you think all the feelings Bob listed are trying to tell him?
  6. Our feelings are usually pretty good (but not always) indicators that we are going in the right or wrong direction. Pay attention to what your emotions might be telling you.
  7. Beware of getting caught up in the busyness trap; it has a way of helping you ignore things in life you probably should not be ignoring.
  8. Consider watching the video Finding Joe to prepare you for exploring the meaning and purpose of your life along with Bob. It’s an excellent and very thought-provoking video.


The entire book will eventually be posted on this blog. However, if you want a copy for yourself, or a friend, you can find it at this link: Sifting

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top