wasting my life

10 Ways to Not Waste Your Life

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Is there anything worse than waste? Wasting food that could go and feed the hungry? Wasting athletic talent because of laziness? Wasting an amazing business idea because we can’t overcome alcohol addiction? As sad as all that is, the worst is when you have the thought, I am wasting my life. A lifetime completely devoted to the graveyard mentality of me first will be 80 years wasted.

Rather, using our most precious commodity, our time, to invest in causes that will outlive us is the opposite of waste. It is life, and here are ten ways to get started not wasting your life.

1. Believe

Believe that you are a valued person with something to contribute, and chances are you will.

2. Know where you’re headed

The cliché goes like this – if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up somewhere else. Goals, both short-term (I’m going to spend the evening with my child so he goes to sleep feeling loved) and long-term (By Christmas, I’ll be able to tell my AA group and my family I’ve been sober for six-months), are necessary for purposeful change.

3. Pursue the right success

Know that our standard for a successful life is found in serving others, being a great dad, loving our spouse – these standards are more conducive to satisfaction than “beautiful because I’m worth it”, or “he who dies with the most toys wins.”

4. Value relationships above all

This is an extension of #3 – No man is a failure who is loved by a child. That principle extends to our spouse, neighbors, friends and co-workers. To love well is the key to a life well lived.

5. Happiness is found internally

When we need others – or achievements – to feel worthy, or happy in any way, we’re undermining this great truth: The simple fact of our creation, and that we are valued by the Creator, is sufficient.

6. Live in the moment

“I’ll feel like I’ve achieved something when ‘thus and such’ has happened.” “Just let me get that new garage and I’ll be good.” This kind of thinking ensures we’ll remain dependent on “more” for satisfaction. Enjoy each moment and take the opportunities that are in front of you right now to have a positive impact.

7. Defer short-term thrills in favor of long-term rewards

We often confuse fluff and bling with substance. When we believe we are dependent on externals for genuine satisfaction, then we will sacrifice what is real (relationships, stability, respect, hard work, etc.) for what is superficial. Grabbing what we can now and undermining what is lasting amounts to nothing short of self-sabotage.

8. Always continue learning

Life-long learners adopt the ongoing posture of reinvention and redemption. Learners ask questions rather than act as if they know all the answers. It’s difficult to waste your life when you are humble and open to new ideas.

9. Don’t sweat the small stuff

Knowing what we value puts it all into perspective. At the end of your life, you’ll probably wish you hadn’t spent so much time worrying about things that don’t matter in the end.

10. Uphold morals.

I am a person of faith and I try to never do anything I wouldn’t be comfortable doing in the presence of my Maker. When in doubt, I talk it over with God first. How do you uphold your morals?

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Mark W. Merrill

Mark is the president of All Pro Dad and Family First , a national non-profit organization. He is also the voice of a daily radio program called The Family Minute.

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