How Not to Ruin Your Life

Sleepless nights, high blood pressure, chronic indigestion, and premature aging, are just some of the effects of stress and anxiety on our lives.

Doesn’t that sound good? Wouldn’t you like to live the next thirty, fifty or even eighty years feeling like that? No? Read on.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that in 2002, I had a heart and double-lung transplant. After a ten-month wait, and near death, my life was saved by the gift of a stranger. It took almost a year to completely recover physically from the surgery. It took much longer to recover mentally and emotionally. In the process, I learned something powerful about human behaviour that I hope will help you.

A year post-transplant, I still felt continuously uneasy. After nearly two years of declining health, I was waiting for the other shoe to drop. I couldn’t get used to being well again, and I was living in constant fear that something would eventually go wrong. Have you ever felt that way?

Most people will never experience an organ transplant or even chronic illness, and yet I’ve met many people who are suffering from this phenomenon. They are waiting for something to go wrong, and they are suffering the consequences of that worry in the process.

Life is fatal.

Here’s the thing: life is fatal. As they saying goes, no one gets out alive. There are sure to be challenges and difficult times along the way as well. For the most part, none of us know when these things will happen, but we know that they will. So we have two choices: enjoy life when things are going well, and deal with the challenges when they come; or live constantly on edge, ever vigilant, trying to guess when the other shoe will drop.

Which will you choose?

Unfortunately, many are choosing, consciously or not, to live the second reality, and it’s killing them/ The toll of stress and anxiety on today’s work force is huge and only growing. It affects productivity, attendance, engagement and overall health. Twisted logic tells us that we can somehow be on guard and be prepared for when the inevitable happens. The problem is, the strategy doesn’t work and most often, it just isn’t necessary.

Generally speaking, there are far more trouble-free days than trouble-laden ones. Most our lives lie not in the extremes, either in perfect joy or devastating crisis, but in the meat of the curve, in the ordinary. Knowing this, it would seem only logical not to waste away these days worrying in anticipation for something that may or may not happen, and instead to spend that time working to create more great days.

So I challenge you to spend each of your ‘ordinary” days trying to make them extraordinary, even if only in some small way. I challenge you to enjoy as many of your days as you can, and challenge you to live every day fully and completely, putting to work every ounce of energy and talent you have. If you can do this, you won’t have time to worry about the future, and what’s more, the future will be a whole lot brighter.

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