My “Live As If You’ll Die Today” Experiment

Posted on | October 19, 2010 | 417 Comments

“Dream as if you’ll live forever, live as if you’ll die today.”  -James Dean

I have had the above poster hanging in my room for the last six years.  It is a very interesting quote and is really an intriguing idea that can give most people that momentary feeling of inspiration, drive and empowerment.

For many years, I was a person who took moments for granted.  I ALWAYS valued time & knew it was precious to me—sometimes even more than money because you could always get more money but not necessarily more time.  When I was younger though, there always seemed to be tomorrow or another time so it was not necessarily too big of a deal.  This mindset always helped a bad, boring or a less than ideal day pass with not too much emphasis or emotions on the negative aspects of it because there was always tomorrow.

As I have grew older I tended to procrastinatethings I wanted to do and let some opportunities pass me by.  I had this mindset that one day I would just get to certain things I wanted to do but those days really never came.

About two years ago after a few years of self-development immersion, I decided I had enough and was going to make every day count.  I was going to take this to heart and live every day of my life with themindset of the quote.  This was not suggested in the material I had read or heard but I was going to do it and I felt I would get amazing results.  I tried to make the most out of every moment, create new moments and make every day and night completely amazing in some way.  The success of creating what was not there prior works great.  I was creating new fun, going on new adventures, and happiness and enjoyment were multiplying exponentially.  This is redundant but I was truly making the most out of every moment as far as I was concerned.

Sounds good, so then what’s the problem?  Some nights are great and other times, well just some moments are great.  While I consider myself impatient at times, my impatience was at an all-time high and I was becoming frustrated a lot. Thoughts like the ones below were resulting and were being expressed angrily:

“ I cannot be wasting precious time just sitting around because there are only 24hrs in a day and I’ll be damned if I am going to waste them waiting and doing nothing with friends who want to ‘relax.’”

“ I did not accomplish enough today, ugh fuck!”

“We are wasting this weekend, we get only so many weekends, we need to do something cooler!”

“This is fun but man I bet we would be having much more fun if…”

I was not necessarily a stimulation junkie because I did not need it every minute of the day. However, when I was being stimulated, I demanded greater levels and it was never perfect.  Life had all of a sudden become a bipolar adventure.  Productive days of taking action and accomplishing were leading to frustrating nights of things not always happening perfectly.  Life was about fighting the clock and was essentially the polar opposite of before.  In the past, I took time for granted and now I was taking it too seriously and placing too much value on every moment.

My Take On It

I look at it as a crazy path but a necessary one to get to where I am now.  Life is about balance but we learn through immersion.  So if it took a strong mindset and overdoing the main idea to drive the idea of making moments count, it was worth it.  The important thing is that I was conscious enough to find my errors and make the corrections.  If I did not take a chance, I would still be wasting time and would not have learned anything or been able to change.

Today I am still all about action, creating, fun, and making things happen.  The difference today is while I still struggle to find time to do everything I want, I am not obsessed with fighting the moment.  I do not try to change things completely anymore if they are not perfect. I take notice of what is actually enjoyable about it and try to add more to the current moment.  It is not about settling for less than you wanted, it is about the ability to ALWAYS have a good time.

My advice is somewhat of a paradox.  First off, spend your time doing something that you are passionate about and seek adventure in this world.  Do not put off things you would like to do, create an action plan to make that happen as soon as you can and build in that habit of taking action on a consistent basis.  Once you build the habit, your life will change significantly for the better and you will not have many days you feel that are wasted.  At the same time, enjoy the moment for what it is.  Get out of your head & into your body and start experiencing rather than thinking.  If you want to create more fun that night or do more next time, make it happen but do not get in your own way of enjoying life.



Leave a Reply