3 Extra Brilliant Ways to Waste Your Life (365 Days of Spirited Living – DAY 242)
“Mistakes are a great educator when one is honest enough to admit them and willing to learn from them.”
— Alexander Solzhenitsyn
This is your life. Don’t waste it. This is your world. Don’t live in it without leaving something behind. There is more potential for opportunity and possibility than can be comprehended in a million lifetimes. But one will never know that if time is wasting away the precious life that has been given. We are surprised with good things that are sweeter than honey. And we are also blessed to encounter misfortune that brings with it another level of lessons. Nothing comes easily for that would be odd and boring. Be grateful that you get to live this life, overcome its thrilling hurdles, and achieve your goals even if it brings some pain to do so. You don’t have a life to waste; you have a life to live.
Here are some brilliant things we all do that cause us to waste our lives:
1. We waste our lives with indecision and inaction.
There are times in which we honestly cannot make a decision. We think, reason, analyze, ask questions, get feedback, and brainstorm. All of these things are good but each has time limits. Too many of us overthink, over-reason, and over-analyze to the point where we do nothing at all. Indecision usually leads to inaction. At some point, you’ve got to be willing to go with what you know. We’ll never have all the information we want exactly when we want it. If we did, some of us may never make a decision at all because we would already not want the outcome.
Indecision is usually a direct result of fearing the unknown. We can’t possibly know what is in our future unless we make the decision to actually go there. I don’t advocate for running into every situation at a million miles a minute, but constant indecision leads to frustration because nothing at all gets done. Use the information you have from all the different sources, combine it with your own mind, and then take the best action possible. Only two things can happen: you will make progress or you will make mistakes. You will see what works well and what works terribly. And both are points of learning and victory.
2. We waste our lives with blame.
The day you stop blaming others for our mistakes and unfortunate encounters will be the day we all experience freedom. Life is full of excuses that we all can make. When things don’t go well, it is much easier to drop the fault at the feet of someone else instead of taking responsibility. Taking responsibility requires that we actually take the time to see where we went wrong, to admit to it, and then to work to correct it. Many of us don’t do that because our pride and ego would be ruined for a good while. We blame others to hide our faults because being vulnerable, we think, is too great a burden to bear.
Blame is a waste of time because it hinders us from discovering the truth about who we are. When we are color blind to our own faults, we impede growth. You can have a million faults, you can encounter dozens of difficulties, you make thousands of mistakes. But none of that really matters until you begin to blame someone else for them. Nobody can ‘make you feel…’ or ‘make you do…’ anything. It is all up to you. The moment we stop blaming others and excusing ourselves from accountability, we can really change, grow, and move on.
3. We waste our lives fearing failure (and success too).
The fear of failure is a debilitating mindset that keeps us from full achievement. Fearing failure is really weird because it stops us cold in our tracks, or even before we get started, and makes us think we are so bad that we’ll never succeed. It only shows one side of the story. What happens if we do succeed? After failure perhaps. But success is success, no matter how it comes. The one thing worse than failure is regret. Regret is a must stronger feeling than failure can ever be.
If you want to achieve anything in life, you have to be willing to fail. But not just fail. Learn from your failures and then move forward better. If you do something and fail at doing it, you’ve only learned a way that will not work. There are probably hundreds of other ways that will. But you’ll never know that if you don’t consciously recover from failure and take the next step forward. If you aren’t willing to try out of fear, you will not learn anything and this will become a habit that leads to a very unproductive and exasperated existence.
“We dream to give ourselves hope. To stop dreaming—well, that’s like saying you can never change your fate.”
— Amy Tan