You Only Die Once (Y.O.D.O)

To abandon a comfortable lifestyle that isn’t deeply fulfilling is to abandon nothing.

There’s nothing of real substance there to protect.

An income, a car, a house, or a lifestyle is not worth protecting if the cost of such protection is your own fulfilment and happiness. People who achieve some of the external trappings of success without internal fulfilment are only living an illusion when they tell themselves they have something of value to protect. In most cases the feeling that there’s something to protect is just an excuse used to avoid facing the real fear — that maybe all this stuff isn’t really worth anything compared to what’s being lost… that maybe I should be living more boldly and not be so concerned about what happens to all my stuff.

I currently have some material stuff in my life. It’s not much, compared to what I grew up with, or had just two years ago. I have a car, computer, and a couple other things I call my own. But most days I feel myself drawn to protect these things. I once lived with the total conviction that stuff will always be stuff, but lately, stuff matters to me fully aware that it doesn’t have any real value.

I want my life to have had more value than just acquiring stuff and living comfortably.

After all, why are we here? Is it to acquire stuff, live a comfortable lifestyle, make our families as comfortable as possible, and then die? Whether there’s an afterlife or not, one thing is clear — we can’t take any of that stuff with us. Our comfortable lifestyle has no power to endure.

And here’s the worst part. While you’re working so hard to acquire and protect all that stuff, you could die unexpectedly.

You might die today.

You might die tomorrow.

Maybe you won’t die for another 70 years but death happens to people every day and eventually your day will come.

So what is the point of a life dedicated to the acquisition and protection of stuff? What have you got to lose? What are you truly risking if you go after your dreams? It doesn’t matter if you start with R0 or R1 million. You have nothing to lose either way. Money and material assets are just resources to use while you’re here — you can’t take them with you. You’re only a temporary steward of the money and possessions that pass through your life. So when you risk money, you don’t risk anything of any enduring value.

If you’re sitting behind a desk working at a job you hate in order to protect your current lifestyle, you are protecting nothing. Isn’t there a part of you, deep inside, that wants to just walk away from all of that junk and start really living? Can you feel how empty and hollow your days are, how devoid of meaning? Have you forgotten what it’s like to really live a day that fulfils you deeply as a human being?

In the long run, all you’ve acquired will eventually end up as dust.

None of it will endure.

It’s all temporary.

Your house will eventually crumble.

Your car will wind up in a junkyard.

Eventually you’re going to lose it all.

Or it will lose you.

So what kind of life is that — one that’s dedicated to the guarding of dust? Is that what you want your life to be about? If you feel there’s any purpose to your existence as a human being, then is this it?

Life is just too precious to waste.

What does it mean to really live?

Deep down, you already have a sense of the direction where this answer lies for you. Ultimately, it’s a choice. You’re totally free to live the kind of life you want. But you’ll know you’re really living when you would live pretty much the same way even if you knew you only had 18 months left. If you would make some big changes in your life upon learning that you only had 18 months to live, then why not make those changes now?

Live for what is real to you. Live for what truly matters to you.

What matters to me — what is real to me — is inspiring and helping people. Directly or indirectly, whenever I’m able to help someone solve a really tough problem or to motivate someone to finally push past a big obstacle, that is something I find tremendously fulfilling. And the fulfilment I get from doing this is so great that it trumps all the external stuff. This does not mean I don’t get distracted by stuff, or don’t compare myself to my peers, or don’t wish I had a GoPro or a pair of AirMax like my friends. After all, I’m human. But knowing that my time spent with someone is contributing to that person’s well-being in the long run, no GoPro can capture that.

There is a verse in the Bible that speak so much volume into this. It says, “Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days” (Ephesians 5:16).

We are living in conflicting times.

We are living in desperate times.

Make sure you are chasing/running after things that are fulfilling.

You Only Die Once (Y.O.D.O)

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