Is the tail wagging the dog?

Sum from Studiocanoe on Vimeo.

I would like you to press “play” and watch the video at the top of the post. If you can’t see it on your browser or mobile device, you can click here to view Sum of your life.

Now I KNOW what you are thinking. I DO NOT HAVE TIME to watch this stupid little video. But what if I told you that by watching this, it might actually free up time, re-configure your personal priorities, and impact you deeply. As it did me.

What would it look like if you re-lived life’s main activities in continuous chunks?

  • Thirty years of sleeping in one go.
  • Five months sitting on the toilet.
  • Six consecutive weeks clipping your nails.

Based on David Eagleman’s Sum: Forty Tales from the Afterlives, this four-minute film by Temujin Doran imagines such a life.

Like all great art, this film makes you feel. It made me compare my imagined “chunks of life” with the standards of in this film.

I wonder if I looked over my entire life …

What is the accumulated time I am on Facebook? 

How many YEARS am I sitting in an airport?

Would the amount of time I spend on email be measured in decades?

These are timely questions indeed because less than a day before I saw this video I said to my wife, “I’m doing too much shit I don’t want to do. In some places in my life, the tail is wagging the dog.”

I think you would have to be an exceptional person to NOT feel that way at least some of the time. I’m guessing we are alike in our sentiments that we need to exert a little more control over our time?

So maybe at the end of your life, you can say, well, I spent four minutes watching this little video. And those were four very good minutes.

It’s Saturday morning as I write this. See you later. I’m going to go do something epic today.

tail wagging the dog

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  • That is amazing. My mind is officially blown.

  • A whole new perspective on life!

  • From Father Stinissen- ” There is a tremendous flexibility and mobility in those who increasingly strive to live in the present moment. We often live in the past and the future at the same time, which gives us a feeling of inner division and is perhaps the main cause of our weariness.”

  • George Stenitzer

    That’s a sweet, deep and spiritual video, Mark! Thanks so much for posting it. You’re doing great stuff: keep it up

  • Well said sir.

  • Thank you sir

  • Thanks for a well needed poke Mark. Well presented. Message heard. I’m now charged with making adjustments.

  • Billy Delaney

    Ah! navigating the human condition, I like this, like sunshine peeking through the gloom of a bleak day. We all need reminded that life is so precious. Collecting a multitude of experiences means you win in this video. Not collecting amounts of things. As far as the dog goes doesn’t the tail always wag us most of the time?

  • Rob Ainbinder

    Thanks Mark. Beautifully done video. Yes, we do need to look at how the deck is shuffled and on occasion… re-shuffle.

  • Had the same impact on me Teddy!

  • I hope not but that tail does get in the way too often : )

  • Thanks Rob.

  • Tara Geissinger

    Impeccable timing. I finally have the confidence to make some changes and watching this video only affirms that.

  • Billy Delaney

    Too often indeed. Hope you are well. Watching all that is going on with you. Nice…

  • Sarah Wood

    Thank you Mark for sharing – this film should make us all realise how precious our time is, if we could only continue to use it well.

  • wow that is awesome Tara!

  • Great video. The 14 minutes of pure joy seem so little compared to the rest. Thanks for sharing, Mark.

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