If there’s anything that the last few weeks have taught us, it’s that not one single day should be taken for granted. It’s as if in a blink of an eye our entire world was turned upside down.
The truth is, so many of us take for granted the little things- our mundane routines, the people we care about, our health, and so on. But, all of those things can be lost in a moment’s time. Our children get older, people die, our lives get shaken up by forces outside of our control.
We are never promised another day. No one more beautifully laid this concept out than Steve Jobs in his famous 2005 Stanford Commencement address, where he said:
“When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: ‘If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
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.”
So, I ask you, how will you live each day to the fullest? Will you spend a little more time with your children, parents, friends, or partner? Will you take a leap of faith and do something you’ve always wanted to do?
How you decide to live each day to the fullest is a deeply personal choice. However, we have a few suggestions to start you on your path.
Live in the Present
Don’t get stuck ruminating on the past or worrying about the future. You can’t go back and relive or change history, and no amount of worry will change what’s coming. When you fixate on these things, you lose what you have, which is the present moment. You can never get that moment back, so don’t let it slip away.
Relinquish Your Need for Control
You can’t control the behavior of others or the events happening in the world around you. So, why try? You are only going to stress yourself out and get distracted from what’s really important in life.
But, you know what you can control? Your behavior and how you react to your environment. So, focus all that energy you were expending trying to control the world around you inward for a happier, healthier you.
You Know That Thing You’ve Always Wanted to Do? Do It!
There is no better time than the present to do the things you’ve always wanted to do! Have you been thinking of going back to school? Go ahead and do it! Or, maybe you’ve wanted to take a trip or visit someone you haven’t seen in a long time? We might be limited in our ability to travel at the moment, but it’s not to late to start making plans!
People tend to be risk averse in the short-term, but in the long-term experience regret for action not taken, a concept coined in both psychology and behavioral economics. While this thinking seems rational, it’s actually counterproductive. It leads us to miss out on valuable opportunities and experiences in life.
So, what are you waiting for? Seize the moment and start crossing things off your bucket list!
Venture Out of Your Box
As people, we tend to prefer things we are familiar with, a social psychology phenomenon coined the mere-exposure effect. The mere-exposure effect basically explains that by simply encountering a stimulus repeatedly, we tend to show a higher preference for it.
So, while you may have a natural tendency to gravitate towards things you know, or stay in your box, so to speak, by doing so you are seriously missing out on life.
We challenge you to go ahead and try new foods, get out and meet new people, and do things you’ve never done before! Don’t stick your toe in the pool, go ahead and dive in! We aren’t saying you need to make any commitments, simply step out of your box and try something new!
Don’t Take People for Granted
You never know when it might be someone’s last day. Kiss your kids’ goodnight, tell your parents or partner that you love them and make space for the people you care about. You never know when you might not get that opportunity again.