was just 42 years old when he died of a heart
attack. He was in the prime of his life:
happily married, the father of two small children, a
successful banker. My guess is that, when he left
that weekend to go to his friend’s cottage, he may have
been very casual in saying goodbye to his wife and
children. Surely, the thought of not returning
didn’t enter his mind.
was 40 when she finally lost her battle with cancer.
She, too, was happily married. She had a young son,
and she had grown very close to her family through this
was 11. He had barely begun life, and then it was
over. He had been healthy during those 11 years,
until the virus swept in and ended his life very quickly.
knew Kevin, Marcia and Kodey. There have been
others, too. Though the others’ deaths were not as
sudden, not as unexpected, they too reminded me of this
lesson: Live life to the fullest.
Hill, one of the world’s greatest motivational authors,
said that “every adversity brings with it the seed of an
equivalent or greater benefit.” I believe that the
lesson I mentioned, “live life to the fullest,” is the
“equivalent or greater benefit” that came as a result
of these tragedies.
see, God doesn’t promise us tomorrow. Every day
men, women and children die. Some after lengthy
illness, others suddenly. We just don’t know when
our number is up, when our time has come, when life here
on earth is no more. So, in the meantime, live life
to the fullest.
my question for you: Are you living life to the
fullest? What would you do differently if you knew
that you only had one year to live? How about one
month? What if today would be your last?
ask these questions not to be morbid, or negative, or to
burden you with the responsibility of having to think
about your response. I ask them because we have the
wonderful opportunity to think about “how we would life
our lives if…,” and to begin living that life
today. We have the opportunity to make adjustments
in the way we live our lives, so that we are doing the
things that are important to us. So that we are
indeed “living life to the fullest.”
we are alive and well, not lying on our deathbed, longing
for “another chance.” People who have come close
to death often say that they have different priorities no
than they did before. They don’t take things for
granted anymore. They realize the how short life is,
and how quickly it can end. Their focus changes.
of them, when reflecting in their hospital bed, think
“if I make it through this, I’m going to spend more
time at work.” Rather, they think about doing more
of what they love to do. They think about enjoying
more time with their family. They think about the
difference they can make--in their own lives, and in the
lives of others.
wait until you’re lying on your deathbed. Don’t
wait until tragedy strikes someone around you. Live
life NOW. Live life to the fullest.
the good news: Today is the first day of the rest of
your life. You get to choose to live life to the
fullest. Here are some things to think about as you
make that choice:
kind of person do you want to be? Do you want to
listen more and talk less? Do you want to smile
more? Worry less? Be more relaxed, with
less stress? Do you want to be more spontaneous,
to have more fun? Do you want to be more
curious? Decide what kind of person you want to
be. Then start living that way.
do you want to be doing? Do you want to read
more and watch less TV? Visit museums more and
Blockbuster less? Do you want to listen to more
classical music? Learn a hobby, or a foreign
language? Do you want to enroll in an aerobics
class, or learn yoga? Do you want to eat more
broccoli, and fewer french fries?
kind of parent / child / friend do you want to
be? Do you want to hug more, and yell
less? Do you want to keep in touch with friends,
especially the ones who have moved away? Do you
want to, just once: Eat spaghetti on the living
room floor? Tell your kids to go out and get
grass stains on their new pants? Say “I know
it’s getting late, and you have school
tomorrow. But why don’t you stay up just a few
minutes longer?” Do you want to go for more
bike rides? Fly more kites? Have more
meaningful conversations with friends and family
members? Do you want to say more “I love
you’s,” more “I’m sorry’s” and more
will you live life at work? Do you want to work less
and make more? Do you want to tell your boss to
“take this job and shove it?” Do you want to
moonlight as a dancer? A singer? A
consultant? Do you want to pursue your passion, your
calling in life? Do you want to do what you love,
knowing that the financial part will take care of itself?
you look back on your life, you’ll regret the things you
didn’t do more than the ones you did. Carpe diem.
Carpe diem. Seize the day. Life live NOW, and
live life to the fullest.
* * * * *
Bartes is a top personal and business success coach.
His bi-weekly newsletter is filled with strategies for
achieving greater success in your personal and