Read this piece tonight by James Altucher in his ebook The Choose Yourself Stories, available for free through signing up for his newsletter deal. Diggin’ his stuff lately. Some of his writings are humorous, others less so, but they tend to be thought-provoking regardless. Anyway, this story really struck me, having read similar elsewhere on his blog, though this piece I particularly appreciated and wanted to share here:
Live Your Life As If Everyone Else Was Going to Die Today
You ever have that dream where your credit cards and passport got in the salad bowl and are getting salad dressing all over them and your wife is cheating on you and your boss is yelling at you?
Yeah? Me too. Last night.
I’m traveling on business today. Actually, I already traveled. Today I have business to do.
I have one rule: never travel on business. You never make a dime when you travel on business.
The last half of that rule will not be broken today. I will not make a dime. But sometimes it’s good to just put a “face to the name”. I put that in quotes. It’s like I have this big list of names that need faces taped to them.
I’m going to tape some names today. I’m going to say that to a random guy in the hotel elevator later: “I’m going to tape some fucking names today!”
No I don’t know.
Here I am. Helloooo Boston.
If today were my last day would I be in Boston?
But why do people always say that? LIVE TODAY AS IF IT’S YOUR LAST! It’s like a rallying cry for the world. Be happy…OR DIE! An anthem. Like the Partridge Family’s “Take me Back to Albuquerque”, or Queen’s “We are the Champions”. Those are anthems.
I picture the girl in Schindler’s List yelling, “Goodbye Jews!” “It’s Your LAST DAY, JEW!” “LIVE YOUR LIFE LIKE IT’S YOUR LAST DAY, JEW!”
If it were really my last day I would walk outdoors naked somewhere. For the fun of it I would tape two-dollar bills to my stomach.
It was 3am, after my salad bowl dream, when I was thinking of this. I told Dan the other day, “if you wake up at 3 in the morning thinking stressful thoughts tell yourself, “it’s 3am and probably my thoughts are irrational so I’m going to make an appointment with myself to reconsider these thoughts again at 3pm” The idea is that at 3pm those thoughts will seem totally irrelevant.”
Note to self: address salad bowl dream with credit cards sinking at 3pm. Further note: you might die today. Live it up! Goodbye Jew!
Claudia was sleeping next to me. I started to think if we got in a car crash what if I didn’t die. What if SHE died? Now we are talking about something here. Because then I would be alive and I would have to deal with it. I would be sad and cry. I was thinking, “I hope I will be nice to her today just in case we get in a car crash later and she dies.”
So that’s my golden rule today. I’m going to live life as if everyone else is going to die. For everyone I meet today I’m going to really imagine that today is his or her last day.
Then I will:
– Be kind to them
– Try to help them be less stressed
– Try to fulfill their dreams for the day
– Not talk badly about them. Don’t talk badly about someone about to die. Too soon!
– Hug them if it’s appropriate. Or kiss them. Not the people I’m going to “business” with later. That might be too much. But I will be nice to them anyway.
– Really listen to them. I will listen to everyone’s last words today without interrupting them. Even if I can finish their sentence because I am light years ahead of them I will let them finish their sentences without my stupid voice piercing the air with its presumption.
– Learn from them. I will picture as if some universal life force is speaking to me through everyone else. I will listen carefully for clues that I can piece together later. These are the only clues that god will ever give me so don’t interrupt.
– Don’t opinionate all over them. What does it matter if I change their minds today? Do they really need my fantastic thoughts? They are going to die anyway.
I feel like my life will be better if I practice living it as if everyone else is going to die today but I’m going to live forever. Floating in space eventually, with only your last words to cherish.
When you die, can I kiss your forehead? And when you finally close your eyes for the last time, my poor baby, I hope you can return that kiss to god when your eyes next blink open.
Hopefully he won’t mind.