Last week, we discussed some numbers–10,000 hours until mastery and 27,000 days to live (Read Turtling Yourself to Success 1/2). So, how can you make the most of your life?
According to a palliative nurse, these were the common themes of deathbed regrets:
- I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
- I wish that I had let myself be happier.2
Though I’ve listed all of them, the first regret is the one we’re focusing on. There’s nothing wrong, per se, with wanting to make people happy, to fulfill their expectations. Expectations can actually push us higher than we can push ourselves alone. But the problem (and the solution) is that this life belongs to you and God, if you choose to give Him ownership. God is the only One we need to please. If we meet His expectations, but no one else’s, we’re on the right track.
I happen to be a people pleaser. I genuinely want others to be happy. I want to meet the expectations of my friends, parents, and coaches. And, again, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with striving for more, reaching higher, but too often we let everyone else distract us. We sacrifice what we want in order to get what they want. At first glance, this might seem selfless and Christianly, but God doesn’t call us to be people pleasers. He calls us to be God pleasers.
Maybe some of you, like me, want to be involved in some form of art. It could be dance, painting, writing, acting. If this is something you’re passionate about, something others have heard about, then someone has probably told you that’s it’s not a good idea, that pursuing an art-based career isn’t practical, that you should get a “normal” job and dance, paint, write, or act as a hobby.
They’re right. It’s not practical, and alone we can’t expect anything to come from those passions, but we don’t serve a practical God; we serve a miraculous One.
“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God,
and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”
-1 John 4:7
If it’s something you love and something you can’t not do, then it’s of God, so don’t let the doubts of others hold you back. All of us probably have well-meaning relatives, who have our best interests in mind. By all means, listen to them, but don’t let them make this decision for you. This is your life after all. Live it without regrets. Live for yourself and God.
You can’t afford to waste a single day doing something you don’t love. Of course, no one wants to live his or her entire life in poverty, but I find that if you do what God calls you to do, He never lets you down.
Before I conclude, I’ll leave you with a favorite quote of mine. In our culture, YOLO is a popular phrase, but for the wrong reasons. It’s used to justify something reckless, something we probably shouldn’t be doing. It’s still a good reminder, but I find this quote a bit more accurate:
“You only live once,
but if you do it right,
once is enough.”
You’ve got 10,000 hours until you become a master, 27,000 days to live, and a dream. Make your life count.
What have you dreamed of becoming or doing? How are you going to achieve that and become successful?
2) Ware, Bronnie. The Top Five Regrets of the Dying. London: Hay House UK Ltd, 2011.
Kindle ebook file.