Life is precious and we only get one shot at it. Nevertheless, a lot of people spend their life merely passing the time rather than making the most of the short time they have left.
Young people are especially guilty of this — we are in the springtime of our lives. If ever there was a time to plant a tree, it’s now. Yet most of us don’t do that. Young people spend their time partying, eating junk food, and taking vacations rather than reading, building new skill sets, building healthy habits, and investing in themselves.
Are you merely passing the time instead of making the most of your one life? Here are some ways to tell.
1. You don’t get out of bed quickly upon waking.
If you spend a half hour to an hour poking around on your phone before getting out of bed, you are not making the most of your life.
People who have a driving purpose in their life don’t spend time lounging around on their phone in bed. Waking up is no big deal, just the start of another random day. To someone with a purpose, waking up every morning is a refreshing welcome to another day of hard yet meaningful work.
2. You spend more than an hour or two a day on aimless activities.
Some activities are inherently aimless, done only because they are pleasing in the moment. Some activities like this are:
- spending time on social media
- watching TV or movies
- playing video games
In small doses, no more than an hour or two a day, these kinds of activities can be an important part of decompressing. Any more than that, though, and you’re going beyond ‘decompressing’ into ‘wasting your life.’ People with a purpose don’t spend too long doing these sorts of things because they are aware that every hour sucked away by aimless activities is another hour they will never get back. It’s not that they try not to spend so much time doing these things — the thought of wasting that much time makes them sick. People with a purpose wouldn’t waste their time this way even if they could.
3. You don’t feel ready for bed at the end of each day
People whose days are filled with purposeful activities feel tired at the end of the day. Whether it’s mental work or physical work, purposeful activity uses up all your energy and leaves you ready to go to bed each day.
When you aren’t making the most of your life, on the other hand, you aren’t tired at the end of the day. You are, quite literally, not making the most of your energy.
4. You spend more of your time planning than doing
If you spend more of your time daydreaming, planning, or thinking about the future than you do working to bring about that future, you are are not making the most of your life.
People who make something of themselves don’t sit around daydreaming about what the future may be like. People who make something of themselves pick a goal for the future and then work hard to make that goal happen. Someone who spends all their time daydreaming is not someone who spends all their time doing.
Think about professional weightlifters. They spend a little bit of their time researching how to lift weights more effectively, and a lot of their time lifting weights.
5. You worry what others think of you
High achievers are too busy getting things done to worry what others think of them. High achievers may worry about what people who matter think of them, but they don’t worry about what their friends, family, or pop culture thinks. They are too busy getting things done.
If you routinely worry about what your friends, family, peers, or pop culture thinks of you, you may be letting your life slip by. Instead of doing what others approve of, find a guiding purpose that you can be true to even when the world turns against you.
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People who read this article seem to have one of three objections:
- “You realize life is about more than money, right?”
- “How dare you tell me how to spend my life, you arrogant jerk.”
- “Life isn’t just about being productive 24/7. We need downtime too.”
You can find a follow-up addressing these objections here.