Saturday 5 September 2015

A good question to ask ourselves every day

We all know that life itself is extremely fragile and short. Worded differently, our time on this earth is precious and we should certainly make the most of it.

What 'making the most of it' exactly means will probably be a point of debate depending on who you talk to.


For example, a common expression amongst young people is YOLO - You Only Live Once.

YOLO is sometimes a term paraded around as a reason or justification for doing things like heavy partying, drinking, or perhaps engaging in living-on-the-edge type of activities (eg. skydiving or some other adrenalin-rich activity).

In many ways I think this attitude is actually correct and it's understandable why someone who hasn't thought it through might take that approach - however I think the application is wrong.

Perhaps instead of looking for thrill-seeking or self-satisfying activities, we should help to make the lives of others better.

Our purpose in life?

As Dr Vale Imbrosciano so clearly elucidated, we should seek to tread lightly on this earth - by causing as little offence to others as is humanly possible. That means forgiving and making amends with people. We should also engage in meaningful relationships.

We should also realise that every day is literally a gift - a gift, in my view, from none other than God Himself.

So, I think a good question to ask ourselves each day is this:

If I died today, would I have any regrets?

Now, this question is not to be interpreted as seeking the YOLO-type response mentioned above (ie. "I regret not partying hard today so I shall do so now!!").

What it seeks to elicit is a positive response from us - is there something we should have done today to make someone else's life better?

Easier said than done obviously, but the question is a useful starting point.

But if I knew my date of death...

Of course, if I 100% KNEW that I was going to die today, then obviously my response would be quite different to that which would result from leisurely answering the hypothetical question  "IF I died today...".

Being asked a hypothetical question on death is clearly not the same as being faced with the certainty as to the time and date of our death.

If I knew I was going to die, I might for example give away all my money and possessions to someone who needs it...or someone I trust. Of course, no one knows exactly what they would do until they are in that position. Sitting down to think about it might help, but I would imagine that being on one's deathbed would make one think very differently about life.

On a somewhat related note, as an ex-colleague once said to me, the fact of the matter is that the average person is very unlikely to consider preparing a will in contemplation of their death until they experience a life-changing event. That life-changing event will probably wake us up and make us realise that, in the event of death, we have to plan for what happens to those we leave behind.

Life changing events can include: marriage, the birth of your child, having a health problem etc.

What's my point?

I admit that these are some deep thoughts that are often taboo topics to raise in casual conversation, but it's something we all eventually have to think about.

For now, I think I should just stick to the hypothetical question discussed above - If I died today, would I have any regrets? - and see if this actually changes the way I live my life.

(In theory it should. But we all know about the human condition.)

Andre Lim

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