If you were told that you only had 3 months to live would your priorities, values, and perception of time change?
I know that this is a crazy question and you likely don’t have an immediate answer to but honestly think about it… if you really only had 3 months left on this earth what would you continue to do the same and what would you do differently? Would you value your time and the way you spend it more?
In today’s world where time is money, most people are frantically rushing through their lives with overscheduled calendars and are chasing deadlines. Most of us are living under time pressure where our lives are ruled by clocks and calendars. If there’s one thing that I think we all agree on its that time is precious and it’s invaluable and it’s one of the most powerful factors in life because our lives are measured in terms of time. We’ve developed clocks and watches to indicate its flow, and we’ve invented dates, days, years to indicate and measure it. We grow in time, live in time and perish in time. Yet … we use time so ineffectively.
So again, I’ll ask the question: If you were told that you had just 3 months to live – how dramatically would your life change?
Given that we can’t rent, borrow store, save, renew or multiply time, all we can do is spend it, and spend it wisely and not allow other people to waste it. We all have the exact same amount of time. It’s the only aspect of our lives where we are all truly equal. Dr. Denis Waitley said it quite eloquently, he said “Each human being has exactly the same number of hours and minutes every day. Rich people can’t buy more hours. Scientists can’t invent more hours.”
Many of us live under the false belief that we have all the time in the world and yet we squander the time that we do have. Our minds intellectually know that we all will die at some point, but not tomorrow or in any time in the near future. Therefore we don’t seize every moment and live it like it was our last. We postpone joy. We postpone bliss. We postpone spontaneity because of perceived responsibility. So often we have our fingers glued to our smartphones and we are missing out on the magical moments of life. The love that is sitting an arm’s reach away.
I don’t know about you, but I feel guilty when I spend time doing nothing. I often will prioritize my Cinderella-ing over spending time with people I love, hiding behind my busyness allowing it to steal what I can give and receive to and from relationships. All in the name of being responsible and adulting.
Time is a beast that we all would love to tame, but for many of us, it’s a wild animal that resists any form of control or submission. We make decisions about how to spend the next five, ten, thirty minutes all too often based on our feelings.
I think if we circle back to the question I asked at the top of this blog, what would life look like if you knew that you had months to live? What would you immediately shave from your life? What would you urgently begin to make time for? How would you show up to life and the people in it?
I’d like to believe that our relationship with time and how we spend it would most certainly change. I’d like to think it would include a lot more auditing of priorities, a heck of a lot more balance and a new appreciation for the things that really truly matter. When we live our lives disconnected from the things that truly matter, distracted by the unimportant, lost in the frivolous, sidetracked by the superficial, our lives start to ring empty and unfulfilling.
Death comes to us all sooner or later so why do we always wait for bad news before we launch into action? Why do we accept the status quo even though, silently, or loudly we’re craving and yearning for more yet take no immediate action?
Maybe it’s time we reevaluate the things that are important to us. If we knew this was it, that our days were indeed numbered, would we take back the control and fight for more? The old adage ‘’work smarter, not harder” has never been truer.
Start today to live life on purpose. On your terms. Identify what’s truly important versus what actually at the end of the day really doesn’t matter at all. Our time is finite and perhaps we need to start to live like we’re going to die ( because we all are going to ). Steve Jobs gave a powerful commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 entitled “How to live before you die.” In that speech, he said, “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.”.
Isn’t it time to face your fears? Chase your dreams? Really show up for the people who you love and who love you? Use that vacation time. Do that one thing that you’ve been putting off. Stop caring what others think of you. Take that chance. Start that business. Tell that person you love them. Stop waiting for life to be perfect and just start to live.
If everyone lived like they were dying, imagine what our world would look like.