One day, you will return to the source that created you. While this reality is an overwhelming concept, it is the secret power for many of the most successful people. Why? Accepting the reality that your life will end is the very thing that frees you to live.
Steve Jobs said it best in his commencement address at Stanford University:
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."
We place so much emphasis on living perfectly, achieving success and receiving validation that we don't truly live. By accepting the fact that life is short, you can let go of perfectionism and just live your life. You can embrace your true expression and start living it.
While this is certainly not a topic you tend to read on business websites, it is nonetheless a topic that can truly empower you to live and achieve in a way you've never experienced before. That's what happened with me. Embracing my mortality helped me create more professional success and personal fulfillment.
Here are four things you will gain when you embrace the reality that you won't live forever.
1. A life with less fear
I'm not going to suggest that you can live without fear. The human being is an evolutionary species that uses anxiety and fear to survive. So don't judge yourself if you feel fear.
Yet you should embrace the fact that an excess of fear does not serve you. You only live once, and while that is cliche, it isn't any less true. When you accept that life is short, you can let go of fears of failure and rejection. You can let go of any other fear which keeps you from living fully.
Remember this: you're not going to remember the times you failed on your deathbed. You're going to regret the times you didn't go for it because you were too scared.
2. A feeling of invincibility
One time I was negotiating a contract and the other company suggested the idea that my company would fail if they walked away because we didn't accept their version of the deal. I told them that this was an outcome I was willing to face. In that moment, I realized that the idea of my startup failing had no real consequence on the outlook of my life. Why?
I realized that there was nothing this company could do of any real consequence to me as a human spirit. Even if we didn't get the deal, and even if we did go out of business, it wouldn't ruin my life. If that happened, I would take some time off to travel and make space for a new inspiration or purpose to come forward. That time off could spark an idea that becomes a new company that ends up selling for millions? Or what if I realized that a consulting business would create a lifestyle I enjoy more than a venture-backed startup?
The point is not that you shouldn't care about outcomes. The point is that when you care too much about them that you compromise your worth, you've given all your power away. By realizing that this group had no real power of me, I was free to take action without fear.
3. The freedom to live your life
Too many of us are living the lives that others wanted for us. This often happens because our fear of death makes us want to live life the right way or the safe way. Unfortunately, this is not a path to happiness.
When you realize life is short, you are free to let go of the dogmas and burden beliefs that others place on you. You give yourself permission to dream up the life you want and the freedom to pursue it. It's your life, and you only get one. You can live it however you want.
Here's an example. I met an expansive young woman who is first generation American. Her parents immigrated from India and wanted her to be a doctor or lawyer. However, her dream was to be the next Oprah - interviewing inspiring people and sharing the gifts of mindfulness and conscious creation. I was thrilled when she told me that she moved to Los Angeles and is actively pursuing her dream. That's what it's all about.
4. You say "yes" to life
When you soften your grip on needing to control your life, you start to see more serendipity and luck come into it. I call this the "magic." Magic tends to show up when you say "yes" to opportunities that come your way.
The carpe diem spirit helps this process. You only live once, so saying "yes" to things brings you new opportunities and experiences. I am sure that so many of your favorite moments in life were not planned and showed up when you said "yes."
Whether it's working, traveling or spending time with the people you love most, the shortness of life inspires you to seek out and live the life you want to live. When this happens, you'll notice that your life feels more full and you have more energy. It feels like you're tapping into the power and energy of life. Death is actually a tool to help us live. It gives us permission to live a full life on our own terms, and in our own way. Let's take advantage of it.