Steve Jobs once asked the hypothetical question: “If today were the last day of your life, would you want to be doing what you’re doing?” I’d be willing to bet that most people reading this would answer this with a resounding “No”.
If we knew we were going to die tomorrow, we wouldn’t be wasting our time on the Internet or typing away at a cubicle. We’d be on a plane to Italy, or swimming with the dolphins in the Caribbean. Of course, we can’t just up and leave our families and jobs in order to pursue the things in the world we simply want to do. But we do have power over our own destiny.
We can get where we truly want to be if we put in the effort required to experience the amazing things this world has to offer.
1. Choose your own path
So many of us drift through life without really ever making a major decision for ourselves. We do what we think is expected of us by our parents and society in general.
We jump into careers at 21 without being completely sure if it’s what we want to do with the rest of our lives. We get married and have kids because society tells us we should. We sacrifice our hobbies, interests, and time in order to chase money and success. I doubt very many people would want to be at work today if they knew they were going to die tomorrow.
It’s important to blaze your own path, and create your own version of success. Don’t let society or naysayers tell you how to live your life, or that you can’t do something you set out to do. Whatever path you choose, make sure you put your all into it every day of your life, so that when you do reach that final day, you’ll be happy with how you spent it.
2. Picture your ideal life
Now that you understand the importance of living for yourself, you should figure out what it is you really want out of life. You might choose to focus on your career, or you may look forward to having a loving, tight-knit family of your own. Or you might want both.
Do you want the freedom to be able to hop in a plane on Friday and spend the weekend on the beach? Or would you be happier taking your 8-year-old daughter mini-golfing, or watching a movie with your wife?
Don’t settle for anything less than what you would consider perfection. And, again, don’t let anyone else cloud your vision of perfection. What makes you happy makes you happy, regardless of what anyone else thinks.
3. Realize and face your fears
Everyone has their own set of fears that have haunted them throughout their lives. As you get older, your fears start to become more realistic.
A lot of adult fears stem from a person’s relatively small comfort zone. The only way to alleviate these fears is to pinpoint the exact problem, own up to them, and face them with everything you’ve got.
If a fear of public speaking is holding you back from your dream job, seek out classes you could take to practice speaking in a public forum. If you feel out of shape, force yourself to hit the gym. You’ll realize that after you dive into that which had previously held you back, your comfort zone will immediately begin to expand.
4. Start taking steps immediately
Don’t ever think you’re too young or too old to get moving on your dreams. So many people waste their college-age days (myself included) thinking they have all the time in the world to do everything they’ll ever want to do. On the other hand, those who have been stuck in the same dead-end job for years often believe it’s too late to get started on their dream life.
On both ends of the spectrum, these thoughts are a waste of valuable time that could have been spent making the changes needed to live that dream life. Don’t put off til tomorrow what you can do today. After all, one day there won’t be a tomorrow, and you’ll have spent the last day of your life looking ahead to a future that will never come.
Featured photo credit: Steve Jobs 1955 – 2011 RIP / Zip250 via farm7.staticflickr.com