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Sunday, June 19, 2016

How Would You Look Back at Your Life When You are Just One Week or Two Away from Your Death?

Suppose you are just one week or two away from your death. Now, think about this question - how would you look back at your life?

Would you be in a good mood and willing to die happily because you have no regrets as you lived all through in a way you always wanted to?

Or would you be sad and in a sulky mood and like to be given some more time (weeks, or rather years!) so that you can now live it the way you always wanted to but somehow never did?

Think hard.

This is not just a million dollar question, it is actually an infinite dollar question. In fact, this is the only question that really matters.

For you as an individual, what you did after you were born and till you are not dead is really what really matters at the end of it all.

Nothing else in this world truly matters.

Now suppose, you talk to someone who has seen many deaths, not tens and hundreds but 12000.

Following article culled out the learning of one man who saw 12000 (yes, that's 12000 only) deaths.

And what did he think of the key life lessons? The above article lists down 12 of them all of which are so very important.

Here are three messages, from the above article, which though very counter-intuitive can be (and perhaps should be) put into practice almost immediately for a "purposeful" life:

Message 1 - Simplicity is the truth of life - A simple life, as he explains, can be attained by spending less. We spend more to accumulate more and thus create more need. To find contentment in less is the secret to having more.

This is really talking about minimalism and couldn't have been said any better.

If you look around, however, you have been told just the exact opposite all this while - you have been told the purpose of life is to get a good job, buy a bigger house, a nicer car and expensive clothes.

This also provides yet another reason for adopting minimalism as explained in an earlier post on this blog on minimalism: What Makes Minimalism a Powerful Way to Live Life?.

Simple, minimalist life will take you away from the tendency to accumulate more and more stuff and consequently increase your happiness. It is useful to become aware of the fact that stuff doesn't make you happy.

You should buy and use only those "stuff" that are essential and bring joy and happiness to your life. In addition, by doing this you will help the environment as well immensely.

Message 2 - Acceptance is liberation - Indifference, avoidance, and denial of a certain truth, Shukla believes, cause anxiety; they develop a fear of that thing in the person. Instead, accept the situation so you are free to think what you want to do about it and how. Acceptance will liberate you and empower you.

Stretching and reaching out is fine but only till a certain extent.

If you look around, however, you have been told just the exact opposite all this while - you have been told nothing is impossible, you should have it here and now and that you should never, ever give up.

This is another powerful message. It is important to always remember this - Don't Try Too Hard. You shouldn't keep on trying for the greed of the outcome and should focus only on taking the actions that are possible without killing yourself.

As Oliver Goldsmith, the famous Irish novelist, playwright and poet, so rightly said:

“He who fights and runs away, May live to fight another day;
But he who is battle slain, Can never rise to fight again”

One way to avoid falling into the outcome trap is to dilute your outcome orientation by being aware of the message from Bhagvad Geeta: Karmanya Vadhikaraste Maa Phaleshu Kadachan.

Focus on actions and forget about the outcome.

Message 3 - If/When you find your purpose, do something about it - To have awareness about one’s calling is great, but only if you do something about it. A lot of people, Shukla says, know their purpose but don’t do anything about realising it, making it come to life.

You should live your life in a way you really want to so that if you have to die today you will embrace your death happily.

If you look around, however, you have been told just the exact opposite all this while - you have been told to live your life as per the standard template that means go to school, get a job, buy lot of stuff to have a comfortable life.

This is yet another powerful message. Consider this - Your Life is Lucky If You are Getting to Live It as You Would Want to Live It. So are you lucky?

Knowing your true calling in life is a great revelation. Knowing what you would want to do in life and then trying to do that is such a wonderful thing.

You never know, but it is possible that you fail to live your life the way you would want to but that's alright. Even trying in that direction is wonderful.

It is better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all.

As Mark Twain, the famous American author and humorist, so rightly said:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did so. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

So in summary, here are the three messages explained above:
  • Live a simple, minimalist life
  • Focus on action, not outcome
  • Find your true calling in life and go after it!

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