Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Tyler Tervooren.
“Just pick something,” they say. “It’s not life or death.”
Well, actually it is. Every decision you make is life or death. Every single one leads to one result or the other – even the seemingly insignificant ones.
When you decide to do something you love, you choose to live. When you decide to do something you don’t, you choose to die. It really is that simple.
Life is filled with daily decisions and lots of them are tied to these things we call responsibilities. Nothing wrong with that, really, as long as those are things that actually bring you to life. It’s easy to see responsibilities as a kind of burden – something we agreed to do a long time ago and now we’re stuck with it – but they can be rejuvenating and life affirming as well.
Big little decisions
I’ve given myself the responsibility to publish a new article twice a week. I have a whole list of things I feel responsible to accomplish that give me plenty of joy. When I get an email from you, I feel a deep sense of responsibility to answer it the best I can. Doing that makes me really happy.
Every day I decide to keep up with those responsibilities and my life is drastically better because of it.
I know this because sometimes I slip up and pass on an opportunity to get closer to my dreams or an email goes unanswered. When that happens, I can feel a real tug in my heart like I’ve missed something valuable. Like I decided not to live in favor of doing something else that doesn’t bring me happiness.
On the other hand, life is also filled with unwanted responsibilities – things we accidentally agreed to that drain our energy and do nothing but take us one step closer to the grave.
I’ve committed to jobs I didn’t actually want to do. I’ve agreed to help people with things I have no business helping them with. I’ve even committed myself to stupid little things like reading books that I hated because I’d already bought them and didn’t want to “waste the money.”
The big secret
Here’s the thing. Life is filled with all kinds of stuff that’s available to you in limitless quantity, but time isn’t one of them.
Every time you decide to do something that drains your energy instead of brings you life, you’re choosing to die instead of live.
It may seem like an insignificant decision, but do it too many times and you end up with a lot of regrets at the end. These things compound.
So what if today, instead of choosing to die, you chose to live instead? What if you blew off that unnecessary responsibility and found a new one that actually made you happy?
What would happen?
- Would you die?
- Would you go to jail?
- Would your family disown you?
If you can answer no to those three questions, it’s probably in your best interest to go ahead and do it.
All or Nothing?
Sure, we can’t get away from everything we dislike about life, but that’s okay; a little bit of tension is what makes it worth living. There is no sweet without the contrasting sour. The goal is to slowly tip the scale towards life instead of death.
I suppose if I wanted to be morbid, I could say that, yes, we’re all slowly dying, but wouldn’t you rather live a little on your way there?
I know my answer.
So what do you think? How can you start making more decisions to live?
(Photo courtesy of redwood)
Tyler Tervooren blogs at Advanced Riskology. He is a writer, musician, and risk taker on a quest to join the top 1% of the world. Tyler loves helping people do scary things that improve their lives.