They say that your second life begins on the day that you realize you only have one life. Although you may not know this, you and I have many things in common. We’re both here for a reason. The fact that we are all here, living on a planet that is close enough to provide us light and warmth, yet far enough that we aren’t vaporized, is not a coincidence. Now I can’t tell you what will happen after this. I wish I could tell you that I visited Heaven, took a selfie with God, came back down to Earth and posted it here to show you what awaits the righteous. The truth is, I don’t know. There’s only one thing that has been promised to us in this life, and that is death. This simple understanding should not make you fearful, but it should make you realize how precious your time is. Live everyday with passion, and do the things that make you feel good inside. You, nor me, owe it to anybody to live within a box of expectation created by a society that is lost in itself. The day you realize that everything you love can be stripped from you with no explanation, is the day you are set free.
When I was 16 years old, a decade ago, I was at a Church in my town. I remember this vividly as I was attending a funeral for a loved one that passed. I am not religious, and I do not attend Church on a daily basis, but I do respect those whom preach and believe. I do believe in a higher power. Anyways, after the ceremony the Pastor was meeting with my family and shaking hands. It was only respectful that I fell in line and shook his hand. When I finally got to him, he grabbed my hand for what felt like minutes, looked me in my eyes, and said “God tells me that you are going to do great things in this world, and it’s an honor to be in your presence.” Who? Me? This caught me off guard, and all I replied with was “thank you.” I didn’t know what to say. He replied, “No, thank you, for everything you have done, and everything you will do.” Honestly, I went home and smoked a joint thinking “that guy was a weirdo.” But what he said stuck with me throughout my entire life, even ten years later at the age of 26.
Am I special? No, no more special than you, or the beggar asking for change on the corner. In times of distress I analyzed his words, and hoped that the “great things God said I’d do” would involve millions of dollars, nice cars, a big house with a dog and a white picket fence, and a beautiful wife and children. It turns out that it was none of these things. I was given the gift of humility, and within that humility, I learned things that I never would have learned if I didn’t experience adversity. I’ve made mistakes. You can relate, right? We’ve all made mistakes. We’ve all said and done things that we didn’t mean, and it may have cost us friendships and/or relationships. What is my point? If you spend your time beating yourself up for the mistakes you made instead of learning from them and moving on, you will never grow to be a better person. With that being said, at any minute of any day, you have the power deep inside of yourself to be the person you want to be. It’s there, waiting for you to tap into your inner potential. I promise.
What do you want out of life? I assume it’s happiness, like the rest of us. But before you can be happy, you must define what happiness means to you. It’s different for everybody. Some people want to make millions of dollars, other people want to live a minimalist lifestyle. Whatever it is that you define as happiness, there are two important qualities you have to incorporate into your lifestyle: Discipline and consistency. Life isn’t easy, you have to work hard for the things you want. It doesn’t consist of working hard on Monday and Tuesday and blowing off the rest of the week. No, it is an everyday, 24/7, 365 day effort. Set goals for yourself everyday. They don’t have to be big goals, small goals are good. You have developed the habits you’re in over an extended period of time. You will not change them overnight. If you think it will be that easy, you’re going to be disappointed.
I watched Denzel Washington give a speech to graduates, and everything he said was absolutely vital to your success and well being. This quote from him resonated with me and I hope it resonates with you.
“Do you have the guts to fail?
If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying.
To get something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done before. Imagine you’re on your death bed, and standing around your death bed are the ghosts representing your unfulfilled potential. The ghost of the ideas you never acted on. The ghost of the talents you didn’t use. And their standing around your bed, angry, disappointed, and upset. They say, “we came to you, because you could’ve brought us to life. And now we have to go to the grave together.” So I ask you today, how many ghosts are going to be around your bed when your time comes?”
I made a promise to myself, and it’s a promise I hope you make as well. Everyday I will love myself. I will strive to make not only a living, but make a difference. I will continue to climb, and climb, and climb; and if I fall, I will get back up and climb again. Once I reach a certain height, I will look back in attempts to pull somebody up with me. I will be a role model and a leader. I will be the light in the dark for the people around me, and I hope after reading this, so will you. Will I continue to make mistakes? Yes. Will I ever be perfect? No. But I will be a better person everyday.
Now I could ramble on for hours, but like with anything else in life, I don’t want to overstay my welcome. If you are still reading to this point, I am confident you got something out of my message. I want you to know that your time and energy are very important. You only have a limited amount of time and energy each day. If you are using even 10% of your energy focusing on the past, whether it be an ex, a bad experience, or a mistake you made – That is 10 percent of energy you could have utilized towards the people that are in your life today. I ask that you do not waste this energy, because it’s very important. You are important. If you’re ever feeling depressed, tired, run-down, or all of the above – There is something you need to know. Life is precious and you can’t take it for granted. If it were gone, you wouldn’t be concerned about the bills, or your car, or your house. The only things that truly matter are the people that love you, and that is all that matters in the end. Get out into the world. Enjoy the sound of birds chirping, the wind blowing, and water flowing. Why? Because these are the simple things that we take for granted and don’t appreciate until they’re gone. Appreciate today, and tomorrow, and the next day for the rest of your life. If you do this, you will know what it means to be free.