Have you ever noticed that you can look back in time and everything just seems so much less important than you thought it was at the time?
Have you ever wished you would have done something differently if you could go back? Not because of some deep regret or anything…but maybe just because you would have wanted to have a better story to tell.
Do you ever wish you had better stories to tell? Maybe times when you were more bold or times when you did something just because it would make a good story later?
Have you ever wanted your life to be more interesting? More epic? Or even just more funny or silly?
Do you ever wish you just had the guts to take more risks?
Maybe you’re caught up in the idea that life is serious and you have to take it seriously or you’ll end up losing everything, being homeless, or even dying.
The fear of something bad happening – even our mortality – prevents many of us from living cool, unique, adventurous, and creative lives.
The worst part is that the more we let this fear control our lives, the more pervasive it becomes. Suddenly your entire life begins to center around risk adverse behavior even when the risks involved really aren’t that serious in the grand scheme of things.
And once this happens, you’re trapped. You almost need to have a mid-life crisis before you end up even attempting to live again.
Not only that, but you’re reinforcing the “safety standard” for everyone around you. It isn’t until you start to see wild people who seem to break the rules with great success that you can become inspired once again to live outside of your comfort zone.
Think about a time when you had an opportunity to have a fun and unique experience, but you chose to play it safe instead.
Maybe you studied instead of going out to that awesome party.
Maybe you didn’t tell someone how you really felt because you were scared that you might have been rejected.
Maybe you never started that side passion, or pursued that hobby, because you were afraid that it would take you away from your life.
Well guess what…?
This IS your life.
You are living your life right now. Why would you not choose to live adventurously?
Why wouldn’t you choose to love when it hurts, to explore when it’s scary, or to dream of something bigger even if you don’t believe you can achieve it?
The past has a way of fading in importance the closer you get to your death bed. All of those convictions you once held seem to slip away.
And if you don’t live NOW, then the past will turn into regret and haunt you until you leave it all behind.
I once knew a 98-year old woman who would pray to God everyday that she would die. Her husband had been dead for nearly two decades and she was ready to join him in the afterlife.
I asked her if she had any fear around death and she said, “not even a little bit.” She was ready. She had done everything in life she wanted to do and she couldn’t wait to transition to the next world.
After her husband passed, she and her friends decided to purchase an RV and do one last hurrah touring the country and living a life of freedom and adventure.
She said that it was one of the best things she had ever done. As it turns out, it wasn’t long after that trip when she had a back surgery that went horribly wrong, leaving her unable to even get out of her chair without assistance.
The woman spent the last several years of her life barely being able to move or take care of herself. But she was able to be at peace with her situation because she had lived her life the way she wanted.
She said she was so glad that she decided to go on the RV trip with her friends. She almost opted out in interest of saving her money. But that would have meant sacrificing her last few years of mobility for nothing.
The point is that we get so wrapped up in our lives that we forget to live. We get so entangled with trying to preserve our own mortality that we don’t make the time or the space to nourish our souls.
At the end of this life is a new one. And what matters now is how you lived this life.
Did you go out on a limb? Did you pursue a dream? Did you enjoy the experience?
Or did you go to work?
When people are on their death beds, nobody ever wished they would have loved less, laughed less, or learned less.
Nobody ever looked back on their lives and said, “Boy, I’m glad I didn’t take that risk to get that thing I really wanted.”
There’s going to come a time when it’s all over and you have no more chances. Your body will not last forever…it could give out on you in a month.
Have you really seen and done everything you wanted to?
If not, then what are you waiting for?
This life is really not that important. It’s not as serious as everyone says. It is impermanent. It will end. What matters is what you did to enjoy your life while you still had it.
There’s no better time to start creating cool memories, awesome experiences, and fun stories. The experiences aren’t just going to come to you…sometimes you have to be a little crazy and chase after them.
Go on. Take a risk to make a better or more interesting life for yourself. You probably don’t have anything to lose. Because even when we do something crazy and fail, most of the time you still end up having a cool story anyway.
Stop basing your decisions on what’s the most logical, safest, or most socially appropriate. Base your decisions on what would be the most fun, the most entertaining, or what’s going to give you the best story when it’s all said and done.
When you look back on the past, nothing is ever quite as serious as you thought it was at the time.
And today is your future past. You are writing the past right now.
One day you’re going to look back on all of this and ask yourself what you were afraid of.
Hopefully that day isn’t a day when you’re already lying on your death bed.
Hopefully when that day comes you still have your health, your family, your freedom…
Hopefully when you look back on the past, you see it with satisfaction.
Hopefully you don’t look back and wonder what could have been.
Hopefully the regret doesn’t eat you alive.
In fact, very recently I had someone email me and say that they purchased my week-long program to end procrastination but that they couldn’t spare the time required to complete the course.
Now are they going to die regretting that they didn’t take my course? Probably not.
But think about the mentality that’s happening. This person has a problem and believes that they can solve it…but they won’t. They don’t have the time.
What other things in this person’s life are they not doing because they “don’t have the time?”
Mark my words, there will definitely come a time when you no longer have time. And when that time comes you’ll find that you’ll never be able to get the time back no matter how badly you want to.
There absolutely WILL come a time when you’re out of time.
But it’s not now.
For now, you still have breath. You still have thoughts. You still have the potential to dream where you once didn’t dare to dream.
If you go to a graveyard at just the time, just as the sun is setting, you can almost hear the screams of the dead who never truly lived.
So my advice is to stop making excuses and start asking yourself how you would live if you knew no limits.
And when the excuses start rolling in, ask yourself if that’s really how you want to live.
Because when you make excuses that prevent you from living a full life, then your entire life becomes one big excuse…answer honestly: are you okay with that?
***If you’ve made it this far in the article, I want to invite you to watch this 4-minute video. I couldn’t help but be struck by the young people dancing in the audience. And when I looked at the date of filming, my mind was blown. Those “kids” are now 50 years old.***