If Your Life Ended In 24 Hours

You see the question a lot on social media. “What if you only had 24 hours to live, what would you do?”

It is interesting when you see this question asked on Facebook or other places and it’s amazing how many people would do all these things they have yearned to do all their lives. They would make that effort to tell everyone they could that they love them and would fill their time left with enough action to ensure that they went out with a huge grin on their face.

But how likely is that scenario really… to live your last 24 hours full-tilt and go out with a bang and in blaze of glory? To be honest, I don’t think it’s possible.

More than likely those 24 hours would be filled with more sadness and tears than wild amusement park rides and skydiving.

If I were in that position, I imagine those last hours would be spent making many phone calls, writing a ton of e-mails, and probably eating a lot of junk food… it wouldn’t be pretty, glamorous, or even all that exciting.

As a life coach it is not a question that I would ever use or rely on to generate some motivation in a client. The better question to ask a client is, “If you had 5 years to live, what would you want to achieve?” At least with that question I am more likely to hear about their true desires, goals, and motivations for life. It is a much more realistic question that will generate much more realistic and actionable answers.

The first question just does not work because if death is that imminent all hope is gone, and without hope, we are going to struggle. Life is too short as it is, and it is a tricky proposition to use that “24 hour question” as motivation to live epically especially if you don’t know how much time is really left. It could be a day; it could be 50 years…

There is a misquoted “Buddha quote” that is very popular that says, “The trouble is you think you have time.” Even though The Buddha never said it, it’s still a great thought because until we know differently we do have a tendency to think we are always going to have more time.

The truth is that many of us live our lives in a holding pattern or we attempt to pace our lives out in such a way to save something for that last 100-yard sprint to the finish. The problem is that in most cases, those 100-yards are reduced to 20-50 yard dashes. We put off our lives until retirement and believe we have many good years still ahead of us when in fact, and in some cases, it is merely days. The cautionary tale that I always think of is Coach Bear Bryant who retired and died only four weeks later.

I hope that we all have at least a few decades left. I know there is a lot that I still wish to accomplish that I work towards everyday, as I am sure you do too. But if you actually only had 5 years, what would YOU do that you may now be putting off?

Get to it!

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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