This is a practical exercise for you to try for yourself. It’s straightforward and won’t take long, although the more you connect with the exercise the longer-lasting and more profound the results will be, just like anything in life.
Before you begin, take a few moments to breath and clear your mind of any unnecessary clutter, you want to be focussed and present for this and you want to try and feel this (rather than think it) as much as you can. When we engage with our emotions, the exercise becomes far more powerful.
While reading this article you being to feel a pain in your chest. You go to the doctor are informed you have cancer and it’s terminal. You have 30 days left to live and that’s it. You’re seriously on the way out, and soon.
Yes, that’s it. In one month you won’t be with us anymore.
And here’s the thing, you can’t tell anyone.
How would you spend those 30 days?
Don’t read any further.
Just think about this for 30 seconds and think about it honestly. Close your eyes and really feel it, all the emotions rising in you. You’re going to die in 30 days. What would that actually feel like?
What must happen in the next 30 days?
If you’re like most people, the first thing that will come to your mind is the most important people in your life. You’ll want to spend quality time with them and express your love and appreciation for them and tell them all the things you never had because you were shy, or not brave enough or just never bothered.
Who would you reach out to?
What would you do for all those people you love?
What would you say to them?
How would you relate with them now?
They have no clue you’re going to die. You can’t tell them either of course. The only thing you can do is live for the next 30 days.
So how will you live your next 30 days?
Scenario number 2: You go to the doctor today and are informed you have terminal cancer. There’s absolutely nothing that can be done about it. You have 365 days left to live.
In one year from now, you’re dead.
Seriously. You have just one year left.
How would you spend that year?
You are on this exquisitely beautiful planet, with all these amazing people – how would you spend each priceless second?
365 more days left in this incredible and breath-taking experience we call life.
What needs to happen during those 365 days?
What would you do first?
How would your daily behaviours change?
What things have you been procrastinating that can no longer be put off?
Similar to the last scenario, you can’t tell anyone this is happening. You can only live 365 days like they are your last, because, in all reality, they are your last.
What would that year look like?
Last scenario: You go to the doctor today and are informed you have terminal cancer. There’s absolutely nothing that can be done about it. You have 5 years left to live.
In 5 years you are dead.
That’s both a lot of time and no time at all. However, if that time is well spent, you could do almost anything you’ve ever wanted to do.
If you absolutely knew you were going to die in 5 years, what would you do with that time?
How would your relationships change?
How would you relate to people, both strangers and those close to you?
What would you stop doing?
What would you accomplish?
What would you do today?
What would your relationships look like?
Again, you can’t tell anyone. But without question, you are going to die in 5 years from now. There’s nothing you can do about it.
Where will you be in 5 years?
One of the greatest things that arises from doing this 5 year exercise is honing in immediately on balancing your life. Most people’s lives are incredibly out of balance. Are you, like most people, spending absurd amounts of time on things you don’t really value, with people who don’t make you feel nurtured and loved, with people you don’t have fun with?
Every moment is just as priceless and important as any other moment. Even this very moment right now, while you read the words on this blog post. This moment is priceless. Can you feel it? You’re alive right now. On this beautiful planet.
How would you do things differently if you only had 5 years?
How would you work differently?
Where would you put your time and energy?
Becoming more comfortable with ‘the end’
Right, let’s come back from this and into your reality now.
You’re not really going to die (well, not that we know of).
But yet neither of us actually know when you are going to die.
The question is: How close are you really living compared to what you were just thinking about?
Confronting the reality of death is one of the best wake-up calls for beginning to truly live.
Life can become a game to you. Or if you’re Elon Musk, a simulation.
We’re not telling you to be reckless, of course. Well, sort of.
Everything you want in life is on the opposite side of fear. Pushing through the fear leads to them dissolving – some say freedom lies on the other side, but that depends on your fear. In any case, freedom is often the reward. Freedom from fear. The fear of doing things, or saying things. But you don’t need to be chained down by your fears anymore. When you die, all of your fears will die with you. So why have them choke out your life now?
What do you really want to do with you life?
What’s holding you back?
You have no clue how long you have left on this planet. Can you really afford being complacent? How much time do you really have to waste?
There’s nothing to lose. Just be who you want to be, today. Right now.
Live today with intention. Be who you want to be.
The biggest difference between those who you may view as being successful and those who aren’t is that they chose it. One day they decided, I’m going to live the life I want.
That decision is all it takes.
Then they started looking at people who inspired them and asked themselves, “Why can’t that be me? How could I get there?”
Conversely, most people think, “That could never be me.”
What would your life look like in 5 years if you lived purposefully and powerfully every single day from now until then?