Are there things you want to do in life? Fears you want to overcome?
Would it change your approach knowing you only had a year to live?
We may not ever know our exact expiration date, but we all have one. And for some of us, it’s closer than we think. This isn’t a pessimistic way of looking at things, it’s a fact. But it’s something we often choose to ignore until it’s too late.
If you truly intend to live life to the fullest , I think it’s vitally important to remind yourself every once in a while — if not daily — that you’re dying.
It may not be the sort of thing you generally find yourself wanting to think about, but by refusing to face this fact, we run the risk of wasting enormous amounts of time getting caught up in things that ultimately provide us with very little value or substance in our lives.
There are more things to do and places to see in the world than any single person could possibly do in a lifetime. So already, our lives and what we choose to experience is a compromise.
A typical lifetime may seem like a lot of time, but time passes faster than one thinks. Adding to this is the fact that we are only teenagers briefly. We will only be in our 20’s once. Our 30’s once. Our 40’s and so on, ONCE.
To think you have time to put everything off to see and do and appreciate until later in life is an illusion.
And then there’s the fact that we only get one body. And it has to last a lifetime. If that’s not an incentive to stay healthy and treat your body well, I don’t know what is. But hey, if you’re not fit or healthy, it’s not too late to try to be.
We get a brain, which we can fill with any number of amazing facts and memories of real-life experiences and not just what we watched on TV. But the brain is like a muscle, the less we use it, the less efficient it becomes.
The fact is, every single day that passes is a day of our life we are trading for it. And we’ll never get it back. You can never get more time, you can only manage it more effectively by living with intention.
This is not to suggest that anyone should act irresponsibly, spend money they don’t have, or live with reckless abandon.
Reminding yourself that every day has value and every day that passes is another day closer to your expiration date can provide the perspective & motivation necessary to help you prioritize your life in a way that reflects the kind of person you truly want to be.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” — Steve Jobs
This has nothing to do with deliberately hurting someone or offering unsolicited feedback. This is about being honest & telling the truth in the course of a conversation and relationship.
If you have a problem with “Tell the truth, even if it hurts”, then know that what you’re essentially saying is that it’s okay for people to lie to you, as long as the lie appeals to your ego and sense of worth.
If you want to build a relationship based on false beliefs and miscommunication, then lying to a person because it makes them feel better — or makes you feel better about yourself — is an excellent way to accomplish this.
Not only is this not an open or honest way to communicate, it is one of the reasons why so many friendships and marriages fail. Because rather than truly address and resolve issues, friends or couples choose to cover them up with “little white lies.”
1. a person who tells lies.
Note how it doesn’t say anything about the size of the lie or whether it makes someone feel better.
“But they can’t handle the truth!”
Right. So catering to someone’s weakness and lying becomes acceptable? Is this how you would want someone to treat you in the same situation? You would prefer that they fill your head with a lie rather than tell you the truth? And you think that’s what real friends do?
Yes, there is a time and a place for all conversations. And no, not saying anything is not the same thing as blatantly lying, but not saying something or leaving out details (the whole truth) can be a form of lying.
Sometimes the answer to improving relationships isn’t to talk more or pretend to be more interested. Sometimes it’s simply to be truly honest and open.
I’m not saying these are the best responses, but if you are truly friends with someone, there is nothing in these statements that should be considered offensive while getting the point across without lying.
But what’s even better is if you have a relationship where you can say:
A) Gawd, that outfit is ghastly.
B) You look like an elephant, but I still love you.
C) I have no idea why you bought that, but hey, we all have our things.
D) Naw, I don’t love you, I’m just here cause you have cable.
Because if you can get away with that, you probably have yourself a real friend.
DOUBT: You must be that little American brat I taught a lesson to all those years ago. You’ve tried to overcome me your whole life only to fail now? I think that’s about the worst thing I’ve ever heard. How marvelous.
(ZERO stands up after a knife thrown by DOUBT hits him in the stomach)
DOUBT: Good heavens. Are you still trying to win?
(ZERO falls back against the wall)
DOUBT: You’ve got an overdeveloped sense of determination. It’s going to get you into trouble someday.
(DOUBT draws his sword and lunges at ZERO who weakly parries the blade, into his left shoulder. Again DOUBT lunges at ZERO and the blade is deflected to ZERO’S right arm. The next attempt at a blow, ZERO blocks, and drags himself upright.)
ZERO: Hello. My name is ZERO DEAN. You tried to kill my dreams. Prepare to die.
(He continues to move forward, but slumps onto the table. DOUBT goes on the attack, and ZERO blocks four blows – and starts forward again.)
ZERO: Hello. My name is ZERO DEAN. You tried to kill my dreams. Prepare to die.
(Five more of DOUBT’s blows are handily parried.)
ZERO (louder): Hello! My name is ZERO DEAN. You tried to kill my dreams. Prepare to die.
DOUBT: Stop saying that!
(DOUBT attacks again. ZERO blocks it again, and then stabs DOUBT in the shoulder. Then DOUBT takes a swing at him, which ZERO ducks to come up and stab DOUBT in the other shoulder. Then he advances quickly into a flurry of blows.)
ZERO: Hello! My name is ZERO DEAN! You tried to kill my dreams – prepare to die!
(He knocks DOUBT’s sword aside, and slices his cheek.)
ZERO: Offer me money.
ZERO: Power too – promise me that!
(He slices DOUBT’s other cheek)
DOUBT: All that I have and more! Please!
ZERO: Offer me everything I ask for.
DOUBT: Anything you want.
(DOUBT attacks, hoping to catch him by surprise – but ZERO grabs his arm and stabs DOUBT in the stomach)
I love to travel, and I love adventure, too, but those are not my life either. And I love writing, creating things, and making people laugh.
These things are simply pieces to a much larger puzzle to me. Something that I am more passionate about.
And that is using the unique combination of these, and other skills I have, to make a meaningful and significant positive difference in the world.
But there’s no job title for that.
So no, I don’t really want to be a “photographer” or a “writer” or an “artist”. I truly love these things, but they are simply pieces of something else.
And I have always, always felt this way. I have always felt like I was trying to fit into some premade mold.
While it can work and satisfy many, it doesn’t work for all.
I see the mold. And I can make the mold work. I can even be comfortable in the mold.
But no matter how comfortable I get, I will always feel like there is so much more that I can do.
Not not just “can”, but “should”. That my purpose isn’t to indefinitely play a role that someone else has written. That my purpose is to create my role and then live up to it.
And I know I’m not alone in feeling this way.
I’ve done the “one thing” multiple times. My journey was funded by the one thing. The one thing was comfortable, I did it well, and I could have done it forever, but it was never truly me.
Sometimes life isn’t just about finding that one thing you can do and then doing it the best that you can. Sometimes it’s about taking the individual things that you are good at and using them in a way to create something that is much larger and more powerful than the sum of its parts.
“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” — Vincent Van Gogh
It’s not easy. But I’m convinced it will be worth it.