Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal. Live this day as if it were your last. The past is over and gone. The future is not guaranteed. – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
The recent passing of Dr. Wayne W. Dyer, self-help pioneer and motivational speaker, prompted me to share one of my favorite quotes from him (above). It really hits home for all of us because it speaks a key truth: we MUST live in the present and BE present. Our past experiences are only memories and our tomorrows are never certain.
We only have today.
We humans are generally in deep denial of our own inevitable deaths. It will happen eventually, yet we push it out of our minds completely. The result? We think that every day is a “rehearsal” for our real lives. We are waiting for the curtain to lift, for the show to start, for the story to unfold.
Procrastination is a nasty byproduct of this denial. There is always tomorrow – always something better. Tomorrow we will find a better job. Tomorrow we will finish that project. Tomorrow we will get together with an old friend. Tomorrow we will find love. Tomorrow we will take that trip. Tomorrow we will donate our time to those less fortunate. Tomorrow we will take care of our environment. Tomorrow we will learn to play the guitar.
Yet while we are waiting for tomorrow, the world keeps turning and time keeps ticking. And then one day we wake up and realize that this is it. We aren’t in a dress rehearsal. This is our life.
My wake-up call came in my late 20s when I found myself dreading work and absolutely miserable. I held several jobs the previous seven years and while I learned a great deal, I just didn’t feel happy or fulfilled. And I realized that I wanted joy in all aspects of my life – from personal to professional. So I let go of the fear and started my own business.
I also made myself a personal commitment to treasure every day – no matter how challenging. I learned to live in gratitude, and be thankful for all I had – not envious or sad or jealous of what I did not possess. I became internally motivated – and blocked negativity and toxicity from my life. And I made a huge decision to try to make a difference in the lives of others.
Many of us let fear define our lives. We let baggage from old relationships and experiences hold us hostage – preventing us from pursuing dreams or embracing love. I suggest that we revisit Wayne Dyer’s words of wisdom, and start living our precious lives as fully as we can. Let’s stop procrastinating, stop making excuses and figure out how to avoid squandering our lives.
And when the end comes, whether it is tomorrow or 20 or 40 or 60 or 80 years from now, our loved ones will know that we lived our lives on a vibrant stage, in front of a packed house, to applause and acclaim because we did it right – we lived a passion-filled life.
RIP Wayne Dyer.
Dr. Lori Baker-Schena is the founder and chief executive officer of Baker Schena Communications, a firm dedicated to “Unleashing Your Potential Through the Power of Words.” We offer motivational speaking, leadership consulting and medical writing services. Find us at www.loribakerschena.com