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4-Steps To Making Your Life All It Can Be!

Many are breathing, but not living! The truth to that statement is the difference between living and existing.

Are you alive or merely existing? Does that sound like a strange question? The reality is most are breathing, but not really living. They get up each day trapped in their routine world that they choose to not venture out of.

Life was not given to you for existence! It was given to you for living. Do you understand the difference?

Existence is residing in a world without adventure. It is filled with sameness and routines that keep bringing you back to where you have already been.

Living is the willingness to step outside your comfort zone and daily seek the meaning for your time on this earth, the fulfillment that gives your life energy and the abundance you were placed here to experience.

Now, if you take just those simple words of understanding what the difference between the two is, are you REALLY living or existing?

When you choose to exist, what are you losing?

  • Life – existing is not the purpose of your life
  • Opportunity – opportunity is created by adventure
  • Sense of Purpose – your purpose on this earth is growth
  • Investment of Time – without living, time is wasted
  • Nourishment – living feeds your soul, existing steals your life
  • Growth – there is no growth in existence

Does this make sense to you? You were born to live, not simply exist!

It creates a BIG question for me – why would a person choose existence over living? Remember, you can be alive, but not living!

Here are the 6 most common reasons I have found why people choose existence:

  • Poisoned by the environment they were/are part of
  • Experiences are driven by fear
  • Refuse to adapt to the necessary changes
  • Sameness makes them feel safe
  • Obstacles are all they can see
  •  Negative surrounds their life

In the counseling room, I have seen these as the most common reasons people resist the adventure there is for their life. They talk to me about the great things they want to do, but then, allow their fears to override their desire. What they fail to realize is you can walk around as a dead person!

I love the thought presented in Tim McGraw’s song “Live Like You Are Dying.” You only have one life! Your time on this earth is limited and even though it might seem it will go on forever, it doesn’t!

When I was the Minister of Counseling for the church, I dealt with so many people who, at the end of their life, would talk about all the things they had missed. I would think, your life was your choice! Too many go to their grave regretting what they didn’t do. How tragic is that?

Life is for living! It is for seeing everyday as a gift to explore, to define with your presence, to not waste by waiting for tomorrow. It is a gift of time that has a beginning, BUT also has an ending. My definition of time is the space between the day you were born and the day you die. The great news is YOU get to design what you do with that time.

With time, you choose to do one of four things:

  • Waste it
  • Abuse it
  • Spend it
  • Invest it

Each day you take your time of living and do one of those four things. The reality is most take their time and either waste, abuse or spend it through their behavior – YET, at the same time talk about all the great things they want to achieve. If they would only listen to what they are saying and study the behavior they are implementing, they would see the contradiction!

My words ring so true – BEHAVIOR NEVER LIES!

Life is for LIVING! There are 4 Steps To Having The Life You Were Put On This Earth To Have!

Step #1: Live like you are dying

Today is your day, not tomorrow. The time you have right now is the only time you have. Once you understand that and accept it as the “time design” for your life, it will redefine your meaning of life.

I met Michele on a ferry ride from Mackinaw Island. I was sitting watching the waves when she just started talking to me. As we talked, I could feel a different spirit from this young lady. I thought to myself, “I have got to know where this spirit for life is coming from, so I invited her and her mother to have dinner with me.

At dinner that night I got the story. Three years prior, during a routine check-up, she was told she had a very rare form of cancer that wraps itself around our organs and chokes them to death. The prognosis was she had, at most, three months to live. Here she was the mother of 5 children, the wife of a great husband being told it was all going to end. She said, “I told myself I am not going to give up. I will find an answer.”

She heard about a doctor at Stanford University who specialized in this rare cancer, called, was given an appointment and within a few months was in surgery. She was told there was no guarantee she would live through the surgery. She and her husband talked it through, prayed about it and decided it was worth the risk.

Here she is three years later alive and doing well. Her words I had heard before, but never with the energy I felt from her. “Richard, everyday I awaken is a gift of time, of life. I was told I would be dead by now, but I am alive! Why wouldn’t I be happy? I am alive, when I was supposed to be dead.”

She is a great example of “live like you are dying!” We are all dying; we just don’t know when it is going to happen. Each day is a gift. Don’t waste, abuse or spend it looking at tomorrow and missing today. Each second you spend procrastinating you are cheating yourself out of a second of living with meaning, purpose and adventure.

Step #2: Invest each day in feeding your sense of adventure

Your spirit needs adventure! It needs adventure for motivation, for a sense of purpose, to have a direction. Adventure feeds your imagination and keeps it alive with color.

When you have a dream, you have an internal coloring book that each day you get to color with behavior.

I want to go back to Michele. I asked her, “Tell me about a day of your life.”

The smile just grew on her face as she said, “I wake up each morning and thank God for this day of life I have. I have breakfast with my husband and the kids. So many times I find myself just watching and smiling as I realize I wasn’t supposed to be here. Then, during the day I make sure I find something to do that makes this day more meaningful than yesterday. I don’t want to waste a minute of my life. I look for the adventure in the day. It is always there, and when I find it, I embrace it. At the end of the day I take my journal and write about the adventure. I can end the day knowing I have lived with meaning.”

Her words, “At the end of the day I can know I lived that day with meaning,” created such a picture for me. Each day she found the page in her coloring book to color with behavior. At the end of each day she can look at the page she has colored and know that was a day of meaning, fulfillment and adventure. Can you say that about a day of your life?

Step #3: Face your fears and control them

Fear is such a powerful enemy when you give it control of your life. When fear controls you, you stop living and start existing in the world your fear locks you in.

Fear shuts down your imagination. It takes your coloring book and turns it into something you stare at, not color in each day with behaviors designed to keep you free and growing.

In one of my recent posts I talked to you about “Controlling Your 6 Fears.” If you didn’t read it, go back and study it. Fear, when it is controlling you, steals your life. It leaves you existing in a world of sameness designed to make today a repeat of where you have already been.

What does fear steal from YOU?

  • Future
  • Experiences designed for growth
  • Attitude
  • Resilience

Can you see where fear steals life from you?

Walter said this to me – I am the person you were talking about who is not controlled by fear, but overwhelmed by it. Richard, I am the person who is afraid of his own shadow! I know this is not living, but I have existed this way so long, I don’t know any other way.

Walter is not alone in existing in fear. Fear is a part of life; it is and will always be, BUT it doesn’t have to have control of your life. Here is what I have learned – when you control your fear, you slow your life down, open up your imagination and create a pace you can manage.

I asked Michele, “Do you fear life?”

Her answer was immediate. “Richard, I don’t fear life, I embrace life. In the beginning I woke up everyday in fear. I found myself playing the ‘what if’ game and it just increased my fear. Now, I wake up each day and ask myself, ‘What can I do today?’ and the difference in the energy is tremendous. Why fear life? It is a daily gift to explore.”

Such power in her thought! Why fear life? It is a daily gift to explore! That’s freedom to live the life you were put on this earth to live.

Step #4: Experience Life!

When you put the other 3 Steps together, they give you ONE very important message – EXPERIENCE LIFE!

So many don’t experience life, they simply exist in a vacuum waiting for life to happen. Life is always happening; you may just not be living it!

So, I have a question for you! Do you just show up in a day of life or do you arrive seeking the adventure, ready to make this a day to remember? If you are not sure of the answer, just look at your attitude. Are you grateful for the day of life you have been given? Do you treat each day with respect? Do you embrace the newness the day brings to your life?

This is your life to LIVE! Don’t exist in a life of regret; live a life of meaning, purpose and abundance! It is your choice





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