It’s strange; the saying “life is short” is one of the most common in modern American culture, yet only the slightest fraction of the population act on it. We all have dreams, an ideal life, so why is it that we rarely ever pursue our dreams? For most of us it’s because we don’t really believe that we are able to achieve them. Think about this: If you were somehow guaranteed to achieve your dream life if only you would make the attempt, wouldn’t it be infinitely easier to take that first step and see your goal through? Anything good takes sacrifice, in terms of time, money, effort, or any other type of energy. We don’t pursue our dreams because we don’t want to make a major sacrifice for what we tell ourselves is a shot in the dark. It seems foolish, we’d rather invest our energies into sure things with small returns. Let me make the case that not taking that chance is the most foolish thing you can do.
This viewpoint helps me see things through…give less importance to the actual achieving of your goal than to the effort you make towards it. Being able to tell myself that I tried my hardest is even more important that actually achieving the goal, for life really is too short. When it’s all over and your time is almost up, you may look back on your life and think “Man, I should have tried harder. Looking back on it now, there really wasn’t anything in my way but myself”. Regret is one of the worst emotions a person can feel. Regret for wasted time, time you can never get back. Whatever it is that you really want to do, don’t make it an issue of failing or succeeding. Make it an issue of whether or not you gave it your best shot. Reaching for your dreams and failing is far better than the regret of not trying. Let fear of regret be your motivation.
So today, think carefully about the life you really want to live and take one step in that direction. Not two, not zero, just one. Don’t listen to that voice in your head telling you it’s a waste of time; success isn’t even the point, it’s the ability to be able to tell yourself that you tried that’s important. Boldly charge ahead of obstacles, make those sacrifices even if you “know” that you’re going to fail or that it’s a waste of time. Failure is not your enemy, regret is your enemy. You’ll never forgive yourself if you don’t try. And as an added bonus, you may actually get the life you never thought possible. Like they say, you can’t win if you don’t play.
We live at least three lives; one when we’re awake, one when we’re asleep, and one when we’re watching TV. Ultimately the purpose of all televised entertainment media is to allow you to experience life vicariously through the experiences of the actors.
There’s a very blurry line between watching TV in moderation as one form of entertainment, and watching the actors go through life experiences because you haven’t been generating any of your own. Instead of wondering about the fictitious scenarios of Hollywood, don’t you think it would be more fulfilling to try to get a life of your own? You may never fly a jet to fight off an alien invasion, but if you stop watching so much TV you’ll have enough time to achieve some pretty amazing things anyway. At the end of life, saved memories will be your greatest treasure. What will you look back on? Will you recall amazing life experiences of your own, or will you recall previous TV episodes? I’m just saying.
When you watch your favorite shows, you’re excited because you put yourself in the story. It’s satisfying, almost as if you were there. But the problem is, you’re not in the story. Technically, you’re sitting in a sofa at home, staring at a machine by the wall for hours at a time. The near satisfaction that a fictitious experience brings makes it hard to get off the couch and produce the extra effort required to be productive.
People will tell you they got a tattoo to commemorate the dead, to illustrate who they are at the core, or just because it looked cool. But people who get tattoos essentially get them for the same underlying reason. They have accepted their own mortality. Aside from the intended message, a tattoo also says “Life is WAY too short. My body is only temporary so I might as well draw on it while it still belongs to me”.
Some people think that tattoos are a foolish idea. And in fact many people do get tattoos for all the wrong reasons and regret it later. Some people think it’s foolish to willingly mutilate your own body, but what they don’t understand is that’s the whole point. People with tattoos, whether they know it or not, all of them have accepted their own mortality. When you see your body as a temporary vessel, it’s no longer such a big deal to doodle on it. Let me explain.
Most people don’t like to think about the fact that they WILL die someday. It’s depressing, and the more you focus on it the more horrific the reality becomes. However, not thinking about it is even worse. There are alot of people who like to think that they will last forever, that they can stay young forever because they lack the courage to say “Yes. I will die. I am not important. Even if I’m famous people will eventually forget about me”. The refusal to accept your own mortality leads to vanity and corruption, which can only lead to a poorer quality of life and a quicker death.
If you’re invincible, then why be kind to others? Why follow any honorable path at all? This is the wrong way of thinking. Once you accept your own mortality, you grow up a little. You realize that life is short and you start treating people with more respect because you’re not sure how much longer you have and you don’t want to die being known as a douchebag. You become more ambitious because you realize that your time is limited. And if you accept your own mortality, it’s alot easier to get a tattoo. After all, it’s your body and it’s not going to be around for very long. Once you’re dead, your old problems won’t seem like such a big deal after all.
I’m not trying to say that everyone with a tattoo is a model citizen! But if you ever wondered how a person could do that to themselves, now you know. I encourage you to sit yourself down and admit out loud that you will die. It will feel good. You may get inspired to achieve more. After all, once you’re dead you will wish that you tried harder. You will have less drama in your life because you’ll know that life is way too short for it. Overwhelming problems don’t seem so bad, compared to dying. You’ll be more grateful for what you have, which coincidentally is key to getting more. You’ll release your tight grip on materialism and as a result you’ll probably become wealthier. All while having a non-judgemental, drama-free attitude. If you’re sexier than most people or if you’re wealthier, you won’t flaunt it or look down on others. Because you WILL die someday. And when you die, you’ll have nothing, just like everyone else. So think hard about who you really are at the core and what you will stand for with the little time you have. Then go and get a tattoo.