Opinion: Don’t try to live before you die


“I want to live life to the fullest!”

“I want to reach for the stars.”

“I want to…”

“I want to live life before I die.”

These are not real goals. These are meta goals, and should not be your focus. The same as sitting down to come up with the most brilliant idea to change the world or attain happiness and wealth, they are intangible. And it doesn’t work that way.

Set real goals

Before you say “I’m going to give it my all,” know what “it” is. It doesn’t matter how big or small. If you want to read all of the published Game of Thrones books by the end of the year, do it. If you want to join a Zumba class by next week, do that. If you want to ask out that cute coworker before the end of the day, that’s all you.

These are tangible accomplishments.

It doesn’t matter at all what the activity is, it matters how much of yourself you put into it. Engage yourself to the fullest, dive in and make it your everything. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to judge you based on how sophisticated your goals are, what is worthy or unworthy of your time, or what you should be doing. Only you know what you want/need to accomplish.

What is should

Too many people give in to what they (think they) should be doing. You should be doing this, you should be doing that. You should be doing things the way everyone else is doing them.

“Should” isn’t a real word.

Well technically it is. But it’s just an auxiliary verb “used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions” (Google) and it has no real place when discussing your life. Yes, you should travel the world. But not if that isn’t for you. Yes, you should strive for success. But it’s you who defines success, no one else. Never deny yourself something that brings you happiness based on what a person should or should not do.

Avoid doing things for $$$/Do things for yourself

The reward should come from the activity. Don’t do it for money; money changes everything. When money is involved we get wrapped up in the rat race instead of what we love. We get wrapped up in the competition of making more than someone else, the jealousy toward someone making more than us, the predefined notions of success, the worry of paying off credit cards, paying for the yacht, while buying the latest this, and that, and the other thing as well.

All of this starts at a young age. For example, young children who love to color (and who would color regardless of reward) suddenly begin receiving a sticker for doing a good job coloring. When the teacher then takes away the sticker, the child no longer has the will or want to color (How Children Fail).

These external rewards only damage the feeling of doing something because we want to do it.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t have a job (unless living a nomadic lifestyle is one of your goals. Just make sure you’re out of Minnesota and in a warmer climate come winter). Find a job that allows you to keep food on the table and a roof over your head, but doesn’t add so much stress, and takes up so much of your time that there isn’t any left for anything else (namely, you). 

Do things that you want to do. Do things because they make you happy. Don’t let anything else get in the way, not should, not would, and certainly not money. If the reward isn’t already an inherent part of what you’re doing, don’t do it.

You will live

If your goal is to have a dynamic life, but you don’t know where to start, find one thing, just one thing and start there.

We all have something that makes us smile, makes us dance, makes us happy.

And someday, whenever that day may be, you will lie on your deathbed and realize that by not focusing on the generic “living,” by not reaching for intangible stars, but rather by focusing on the real things you want to do, by reaching for real goals that give you joy and satisfaction, that you truly have lived.

Or maybe you’ll try and accomplish one last goal, live just one more time, just for the hell of it.

Fore more tips on leading the life you deserve, read this article next: Hack your brain, live a smarter life