What If You Died Right Now?
In Meditations — a Moleskine that a famous stoic and Roman emperor kept with notes for himself — Marcus Aurelius writes, “You could leave life right now. Let that determine what you do and say and think.”
I’ve read the book more than five times now. And every time I read those two sentences, I go deep into thought.
I ask myself, “What if I died right now?”
How much would I leave undone? What would I regret?
And most importantly, What would I wish I had done so far?
It’s a powerful question to bring perspective into your life.
Of course, if that did happen — I wouldn’t get the option to think or regret anything (which I consider a good thing).
But since I am alive, it’s an excellent exercise to do to reflect on your life and see how many of the essential things you plan to do; you delay doing.
It doesn’t make sense to postpone anything. You should do the important things you aspire to do right now. You can’t afford to wait.
Not because life is short (it is), but because by postponing doing the essential things, you do the urgent ones instead. You fill the emptiness with something. You distract yourself with trivial matters. And because what you do daily — is, in fact, your life, you end up living a mediocre life as a result.
To live a meaningful life, do meaningful things daily.
What do you want your life to be about? What do you want to do? What important projects do you wish to create someday in the future?
It’s easy to keep those things off and tell yourself that everything has its time. And you’ll be right. Just as the snow comes only during winter, some things are better to be done at a certain age, time, or a set of circumstances.
But asking yourself, “What if I died right now?” is an excellent way to bring perspective into your life quickly.
If you’re like me, you’ll see that you haven’t even done 1% of the things you want to do. And then you’ll accept — with a touch of sadness — that you weren’t living up to your full potential.
You were waiting. Procrastinating. You were indulging too much in the mundane instead of coming up with meaningful projects that you want to be doing or building towards an image, a life, a character, a lifestyle you want.
This question is a powerful way to see that you don’t have to wait.
You can’t afford to.
Do the meaningful thing that you want to do someday, right now.