“Nada de lo que tenemos hoy está garantizado mañana”
Nothing here today is guaranteed tomorrow. That’s what my host-mom here in Spain told me yesterday as she opened up to me about the day she learned her former husband had a tumor in his brain.
She often lectures me about how lucky I am to be young and have the opportunities to travel, party, and experience, without the major responsibilities of having children or a mortgage, and I definitely take it to heart. I am grateful for the point I am at in my life and everything I have going on, but I’ve never really thought about losing anything. That’s why this specific conversation really stuck with me. I imagined myself in her shoes, trying to think what it must feel like to have the whole world you live in just change like that. What if that happened to me?
I think it’s always something I’ve tried to ignore; that some of the key components of my life: the health of myself, my friends, and family were stable. Because why would I choose to have anxiety for something so dark and unlikely? But maybe thinking about it isn’t so bad after all. Maybe it’s actually something we need to be reminding ourselves. Not only is it possible that we and everyone we love will die, but it is actually inevitable.
What this does is it gives so much more value to the time we do have on earth. If everyone lived forever, time would be meaningless. This teaches us that in the short time that we have, we simply have to act. Get rid of the unimportant things in our lives. Give up worrying about the small anxieties and fears. We need to just do. Today. Who knows what might be taken away tomorrow?
So, how can this manifest itself? The key is that we need to in general adopt a “doing” mindset instead of a “thinking” mindset. Yes, analyzing is obviously important for living our lives and making good decisions. But, we take this too far. There are so many situations that will not be solved by more thinking, but, as evolutionary beings, this is how we are wired. We are programmed to survive, so our instincts are heavily biased toward the alternatives that are safest and that we are most comfortable with. But, as I spoke about a lot in my Meditation article, that’s not who we actually are, nor how we should necessarily act. When we let our minds run and overanalyze a choice, we let our biological instincts take over and kill our “crazy” ideas; those that can provide so much value to ourselves by allowing us to grow. So, we have to overpower our urge to overthink by just doing.
Now, let’s talk about regret. Imagine you’re on your deathbed right now, looking back on the life you lived. One thing you definitely don’t want is to be feeling a lot of regret that you can’t do anything about. The only way to avoid that is to realize we have everything to gain and nothing to lose. When we realize the gifts we are already given each day, everything else is just a bonus; something else we can receive.
Commit yourself to choosing the option that means less thinking and more doing. Later in life, we’re going to laugh and admire the times we were reckless and tried crazy things that scared us; we are so inclined to wish we had done things rather than wish we hadn’t. In order to do this, we must know that when we do mess up, we will take things lightly and move on. Learn from our little mistakes and keep moving forward. Then, we are guaranteed to learn about ourselves and grow, and more importantly, there’s no way we’ll be disappointed with ourselves later in life. Just start doing. Fuck it.
PS: I learned a really fun tip from Alexis Quiterio that will help you embody this doing mindset called the 5-Second Rule. Whenever you have an idea or a curiosity, within 5 seconds you have to take some sort of action to make it happen or else your mind will come up with some crazy list of excuses to rule it out. This can be anything as small as setting a reminder or creating a note explaining what your thought is. Something that gets the ball rolling, creating a habit of action.
- Nothing is guaranteed tomorrow — we are all going to die so we don’t have time to do so much thinking
- Acting mindset > Thinking mindset
- Our minds program us to fear acting
- We have nothing to lose and everything to gain
- If we are grateful for our gifts and commit to taking small mistakes as lessons, favoring acting will not be so scary
- By embodying the 5-Second Rule, we can help make acting a habit
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