What if 2012 were your last year, your last chance at leaving your mark or doing something great or crossing out every item on your bucket list?
This has nothing to do with the Mayan calendar or the financial crisis, mind you. It’s just a simple what if question.
What if you went another year without writing that book you’ve been thinking about for a decade? What if you went another year without taking that trip to Paris or Moscow or Sydney you’ve been dreaming about your whole life? What if you went another year waiting to launch your startup?
What if you only had 365 days left and that’s it?
Here’s what I’ve learned in the last few years: There’s no such thing as the right time. All we really ever have is now. Now is the right time. Tomorrow is bullshit. Tomorrow turns into next year and then someday and finally never. Tomorrow and next year will be too late. Whatever needs doing, do it now. Today.
Early in my career, I wasted years – precious years – doing what I was told, trying to fit in and often playing it safe when every instinct in my body told me not to. You have no idea how much I now regret having thrown those years away. I lost so much time waiting for opportunities and “the right time” to do something, it makes me ill just thinking about it. Never again.
So the lesson here is simply this: Ask her out. Book that flight. Graduate. Take the job. Write the damn book. Get your funding. Finish that triathlon. Launch your startup. Carpe Diem isn’t a slogan on a T-shirt. It isn’t an abstract philosophy. It means get off your ass and do the thing that needs doing. Today. If it fails, it fails. If it works, it works. So what? Either way, the sooner the better.
That’s it. You have 365 days. Show me what you’ve got.
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And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also this:
Success is blocked by concentrating on it and planning for it… Success is shy – it won’t come out while you’re watching.
“If you want to achieve things in life, you’ve just got to do them.”
“When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.”
“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.”
M. Scott Peck
“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game one foot from a winning touchdown.”
“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.”
John Foster Dulles
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”