“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
One of the most common mistakes us humans make is failing to appreciate how short our lifespans really are.
When we’re kids, we assume we have all the time in the world to figure out our lives before we grow into an adults. When we’re in our 20’s we assume we have lots of time to get our lives together before we hit 30. When we’re in our 30’s we believe that middle age is a long way away. Before we know it, we’re old enough to retire and still haven’t really figured our lives out or fully appreciated the years that went by.
We fall into this tendency of procrastinating on putting in the hard work, sacrifices, and dedication necessary to create a life of our own design. And we fail to appreciate how precious our time here really is. Because we assume that we have lots of time left to live.
The best way to avoid that mistake is to embrace Steve Jobs’ philosophy of constantly Remembering That Life Is Short and constantly keeping in mind that you might as well attack your goals with passion, relentless dedication, and intensity because you don’t have much time left. Your days are numbered. And one day it will all be over.
But that shouldn’t be depressing. It should actually be liberating. Because knowing that your life is short can really super-charge your happiness, success, and appreciation for life.
Steve Jobs faced a diagnosis with Cancer that forced him to approach each day with the mindset that it might be his last. Fortunately, you most likely aren’t facing that situation right now.
But even though you aren’t dealing with a terminal illness, Remembering That Life Is Short is a powerful way to live. And here’s 2 reasons why:
#1- Remembering That Life Is Short Is Motivation To Live A Life Of Your Own Design
“For the past 33 years, I’ve 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.” –Steve Jobs
If today was the last day of your life, would you want to do what you are about to do today?
According to a recent Gallup poll, almost 70% of Americans are not working on careers that engage, stimulate, or excite them. So for lots of people, the answer to that question is no.
It’s not an easy question to answer. But it’s a question that you—like Steve Jobs—have to look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself every single day:
“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
If the answer is no for too many days in a row, make the necessary changes to your life until the answer is yes.
Asking yourself Steve Jobs’ question everyday and looking at each day as if it’s your last is a powerful source of motivation to make drastic positive changes to your life. Remembering That your Life Is Short will always give you that push you need to do whatever it takes to create A Life Of Your Own Design.
Because nothing will ever motive you to go out into the world and pursue your goals, work hard on your passions, fulfill your dreams, and live your purpose than realizing that your time here is short. Nothing will motivate you to do what is necessary to create a Life Of Your Own Design than Remembering That Life Is Short.
Realizing that you don’t have much time left is a powerful way to snap yourself out of procrastination. Because one of the main reasons we procrastinate is because we think we have more time. We put off getting started on our goals to travel the world, get published as an author, become an entrepreneur, buy a house, become an investor, start a blog, or open up a restaurant because we assume that there’s more time left.
We assume that we’ll always have the opportunity to get started on living our deepest desires tomorrow, next week, next month, six months from now, next year, or five years from now. We take it as a given that we have more life left to live. And we lose that sense of urgency, drive, and tenacity that made Steve Jobs super successful.
So if you’re looking to step into that lifestyle that you’ve always dreamed of, start by assuming that you don’t have any time left. Start by living each day of your life as if it might be your last. Keep in mind that you don’t have anything to lose by making the decisions that you really want to make right now because one day, this will all be over.
Fully appreciate how quick time flies by and how short your lifespan really is. Because remembering that you don’t have all the time in the world will give you the spark, urgency, determination, drive, and intensity needed to start living life by your own rules.
#2- Remembering That Life Is Short Gives You Gratitude For The Present Moment
Nothing can fill you up with more Gratitude For The Present Moment than knowing that one day, everything you see will all be gone. Nothing can make you more grateful for the current moment than knowing that one day—in the distant future—every single living person on the planet will be replaced by a new generation. One day, everything you see before you will be gone.
When you consider that every minute that goes by is a passing moment that you’ll never get back and every year that passes is another page written in your life story that can never be re-written, there’s no other emotion left to feel except gratitude—gratitude and appreciation for this opportunity that we have right now to live. When you keep in mind that the human lifespan is only roughly 70 years—when you Remember That Life Is Short—it’s impossible not to feel gratitude for the moments that you do have left to live.
Because even when you’re struggling, you still have one gift that billions of other people from the past aren’t lucky enough to share with you: life. As of right now, you are still breathing. You’re still alive. You’re still here.
That’s a blessing that you’ll only get to appreciate for 70 or so years. When you keep that in mind, it’s impossible not to feel grateful for the present moment.
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