Are You Really Living?
“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people just exist, that is all.”
– Oscar Wilde
Time is our most precious commodity. It’s incredibly revealing, too.
How we spend time reflects our priorities, passions and goals … or, perhaps, the lack thereof.
How do you typically feel at the end of a day? Tired? Happy? Satisfied?
Or are you more prone to resemble one of their ugly cousins – worried? Anxious? Unfulfilled?
I’ve yet to meet anyone who accomplishes everything they hope to achieve, every day. It’s just not possible. The minor factor called “life” always intrudes.
Yet, if you can look back each day and find you made the most of your time … well, you’ve good reason to feel OK. This especially holds true if you interacted with loved ones, did something that helped others, or even held the door open for a few people. No act of kindness is too small!
It’s all about using your time as smartly as possible … which empowers you to live life to its fullest.
My last article explored the notion that, if we knew when we would die, we’d live our lives much differently. Knowing our shelf life, we’d focus on things that really matter as the day approached. We’d mostly celebrate and reaffirm our relationships, whether with family, friends or God.
Obviously, we don’t know when that day will come … but why wait?
You can live a life of meaning now. Lest you accuse me of being all talk and no action, I offer these ideas to guide you:
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude: You have no reason not to be happy. You woke up breathing this morning, right? Start there. Recognize the “taken for granted” blessings in your life: good health. A job that pays the bills. People who love and value you.
Sure, everyone has stress in their lives. Everyone has pain. So embrace real gratitude. Be thankful for what’s good in life. See if greater happiness doesn’t follow.
- Make decisions with your future self in mind: Ever hear someone say: “It seemed like a good idea at the time?” Right away, you know they’re rationalizing a bad decision.
Don’t make decisions in the heat of the moment. Pause. Think ahead a day, or two, or further out. What are the ramifications?
For example, you have the opportunity to partake in a big, sumptuous meal … but also hoped to run five miles the next day. How will you feel if you skip the run? More so, how will you feel after ingesting all the food that made you do so?
- Fear is not a rational emotion: Because we’re human, we all fear rejection and failure. Fear can be a crippling, debilitating force. It’s not guided by logic … yet can make us forget our hopes and run in the opposite direction.
There’s a flip side, of course. Fear can spur us to rise to an occasion, and pursue a goal we really want. Asking someone on a date? Speaking in front of an audience? Starting a long-considered business?
Everything you want is on the other side of fear. On your death bed, do you want to reminisce about what fear blocked in your life? Fear has no sense … nor makes any.
- Do a regular visualization exercise: This can take many forms of life’s what-ifs. A favorite of mine is “You have one month to live.” How would you invest your remaining time? What would you stop doing? Whom would you reconnect with?
The upshot, of course, is that perhaps you should do these things now. There’s value in considering life’s many curveballs. Often they help identify what’s most important to you … which just might lead you to act on them today.
The beauty is that none of these really take much time. They can guide you to make better use of your time, though. What would that feel like? Your existence can become a life worth living, more than you ever dreamed imaginable.
(Paul M. Neuberger is President of The Starr Group, Founder/CEO of The Cold Call Coach, and a globe-trotting inspirational keynote speaker. Don’t miss his three-part webinar series, Paul’s Emergency Sales Kit, filled with timely instruction and advice for salespeople during a challenging period. Or, for an even deeper dive, try Cold Call University. Contact Paul at 414-313-8338 or via e-mail at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.)