Life is a beautiful thing -- and its beauty is firmly rooted in its transience. As the great Steve Jobs once said, “Death is the greatest thing to ever happen to humanity because it is life's change agent. It is our time frame of what we have left to do on this world.”
Time provides the ultimate limitation to what you can effect in your life, what you might bring about – that’s why the legends of the world are always remembered for a reason. Because they’ve capitalized on this time and done something with it, made something special from it – whereas, most people don’t do anything with it at all.
Sure, it is scary to die and it is not something that many want to think about, but it is inevitable and one day it is going to come, the question is: are you going to be happy with what you did with your life?
I once encountered a phrase that went something like "many people die when they are 21, they are just not buried until they are 80." Unfortunately, when you think about it, society has become so miserable with routine and being average, the quote stands true.
At the age of 21, people are forced to make decisions as to where their lives are heading…and more often than not, they take the easy route, the road most traveled, and end up dreading their lives and never seem to find happiness. It is at that point that they die.
What you need to understand is that in life your choices, your input, your mindset is what will ultimately dictate your life. Think of it as a script for yourself and that you are the actor, the director and the producer, and you have to put this movie together in real life. And when it is all said and done, you are going to ask yourself these 5 questions below...to make sure you've done it right, I've even provided the answers.
1. Am I proud of how I lived?
This is going to be the first and the most important to you. It is going to have the most meaning because a life without passion is no life at all. It’s the ideas, the deeds and the actions that make you live. You will die one moment at a time without ever having lived. It is your creativity and your massive actions towards what you want to do that will ultimately bring you the result you want.
The last thing you should ever do is be scared of death. You should actually embrace it. Be scared of leaving too much of your life unlived and unfulfilled. The moment people become embarrassed by their lives, there can be no progress and no sense of fulfillment. It’s like the leaves on the trees staying the same color. Be scared of being mediocre and having to live a life that doesn’t empower your existence or your best self.
A fear of death is a fear that you haven’t accomplished what you were born to do. When you live a fulfilling life that’s abundant in meaning, the thought of dying becomes less worrisome, because your mind isn’t focused on it. Instead it is taken up by living passionately and truly enjoying life in the present moment.
Your life will flash before your eyes and go faster than you have ever imagined, just make sure when it happens, it is a movie worth watching that you are proud of. To be proud of life you must be passionate about life. Find the fuel that drives you.
2. What did I discover?
“Never stop exploring” should be your mantra in life. There is always something new to learn and discover. Whether it be about yourself or about the world. What you were not looking for can end up being more than you ever hoped to find. So look for your goals and dreams diligently, but do not develop tunnel vision. Keep an open mind and do not blind yourself from other things that could be out there waiting for you.
The beauty of life is that you never see it coming. It is full of surprises, so embrace them. The nature of it is that is constantly renews possibilities and variables for you. Open yourself to these surprises. They will bring more to your life than you ever imagined. When you are afraid of change and exploring, you will stay stuck in the same place and mindset. You have the ability to discover, so actually use it and embrace it, who knows what hidden talent you have.
3. How well did I play the hand I was dealt?
Life is a gamble; it is a card game and gambling is a part of it. Without any risk or trying there is no outcome or reward. It’s either a daring, rewarding venture, or nothing at all. You never know beforehand what exactly will happen or what you are actually capable of doing. The saddest thing in the world is a wasted talent, and in today’s world there are too many wasted talents walking around.
What control your destiny are the choices you make, the time and the experience. Time is like the deck of cards the dealer at a casino is pulling from; it holds all the possibilities. It’s about how you control how you play each hand. The more hands you play, the more experienced you become at playing the game. You must keep trying and you must keep playing because when you stop, that is when you quit like everyone else.
Stop thinking that there is something else that controls the hand you were dealt. It’s your decisions that brought you there and you can do anything you want in your life as long as you stop telling yourself that bullshit excuse that is standing between you and where you want to be. It’s a leap of faith, but how far are you willing to jump?
4. Did I take enough responsibility?
People are too content and are not responsible for their lives and actions. They are afraid to do things or succeed so they make excuses when things go wrong to help themselves feel better at night. A combination of your decisions and external factors for which you had no control brought you to where you are in the world today.
Negatively blaming yourself, someone else, or some other force will change nothing. Positively taking full responsibility for your situation and your path forward can change everything and that is what separates the winners from the losers.
The past is the past for a reason and these excuses you keep coming up with so that you don't pity yourself are not doing much for you. Give yourself the present moment to deal with and learn from your mistakes rather then using them as excuses. Take responsibility for your actions, at the end of the day there is going to be no one that is going to bail you out of your troubles.
5. What struggles did I conquer?
Every life has struggles; if it were so easy, it wouldn’t be exciting. It is a rollercoaster to say the least. Every dream, goal or ambition requires a struggle or an obstacle to get there. If your actions don’t take effort, you won’t make progress. Wanting success without sacrifice is like trying to run before you learn to walk. It’s like wanting a rainbow without the rain. It’s like wanting oxygen in your lungs without making an effort to breathe.
There is scarcely any love, passion or fulfillment in life without reasonable effort. Your struggle may be physical, it may be emotional, or it may be both. In all cases it is necessary and worth every bit of strength you can muster. It is about getting through the hurdles of life and becoming stronger as a person rather then letting the obstacles stop you in your tracks.
Most people quit and give up when the wall seems too high to climb, but the stubborn ones find a way to get on the other side of that wall.
Life is in your control and you are going to ask yourself these 5 questions when your time is comes to an end. The good news about it is that you can control what your answers are. Your growth potential is as vast as your thinking. You are as powerful and capable as you know yourself to be.
You will be whoever you want to be and decide to be. Live a life worth living, you only get to do so once, so make sure your story gets retold because it means you actually did more with your life than the person telling the story.
Preston Waters | Elite.