How to Make Every Minute of Your Life Meaningful


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“My religion is to live and die without regret.” – Milarepa

Something that scares me more than anything else is dying with regret. I don’t want to look back on my younger years wishing I had done something differently or wishing that I hadn’t hurt this or that person. Regret scares me. And the only way to live and die without regret is to find a way to make your life truly meaningful. When your every action, thought and word has meaning you will find that your death (and indeed your life) will be a very peaceful process.

In this post I am going to give you some ideas about how you can discover the secret to making every minute of your life meaningful.

Is your life meaningful?

Take a second to do a little “meditation” with me. I want you to take your hands off the mouse and just spend two minutes imagining your death. Imagine you are laying on your bed with your family around you. Imagine you have only five or six breaths left before you depart to the next world. How do you feel? Do you have regrets? Are you afraid?

Some people get really angry when I talk about death. They send me emails asking me to stop talking about this terribly taboo subject. I find this attitude really sad because death is the one thing we can be sure of in this world. Nothing else is certain, but our death is. No one in the history of the planet has ever avoided death. Everyone has to go through it. So why, then, is everyone afraid of preparing for it?

Don’t be someone who is afraid of death. Do the meditation and really try to imagine what it is going to be like. How do you feel? If you find you are afraid, anxious or regretful then I can guarantee you aren’t living your life the way you intended. You aren’t making every minute meaningful. By looking at death we can get a great insight into our life.

How to make every minute of your life meaningful


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You are probably like me. You want to live and die without regret. So how do we do that? How do we make every minute of our existence count? Here are some ideas.

1. Make your life about others
The most important thing you can ever do is make your life about other people. Our world is so self-centered. We are brought up to believe that we are more important than everyone else and that we need to take care of our own needs and wants before the needs and wants of others. But after a while we realize that we feel kind of empty. That’s when we have the midlife crisis. The crisis occurs because we realize that we have spent our whole lives working to make ourselves happy but we still feel crap.

The great Buddhist master Shantideva said:

“All the suffering in the world comes from wanting happiness for oneself. All the happiness in the world comes from wanting happiness for others.”

It is one of the truest quotes you will ever read. A life spent helping others is a life well spent. And when your time comes to an end there will be no regrets because you have used your time well. You have made a contribution.

2. Don’t procrastinate
A few months ago I wrote an article designed to help you stop procrastinating. I believe that procrastination is one of the worst things a human being can do. If you want to make every minute of your life meaningful you have no time to procrastinate.

Think about the last five years of your life. How fast have they zoomed by? I remember my first day of high school as if it were yesterday and it seems as though I have achieved very little since then. I have spent too much time procrastinating. And this is a cause for regret.

We hear it all the time but we never take it in. Life is short. It will be over in the blink of an eye. And to make matters worse, you have no idea when your life is going to end. You could die of a heart attack in your 80′s or you could die from cancer in a week. You could get hit by a bus. So now ask yourself this: if you knew you had only five years left would you change the way you are living? I bet most of us would.

3. Don’t get angry
Anger, it is said, is the worst of all the negative emotions. The Buddha once remarked that a single moment of anger can destroy 100 years of good deeds. I can see how this can be so. Lots of bad things happen because of anger – violence, rape, wars, etc. And the bad thing about anger is that you always end up regretting it.


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Think about the last time you got angry and acted on it. You might have yelled at your partner or a coworker. How did you feel five minutes later? Did you feel vindicated and justified or did you feel heavy and burdened? I am betting it was the latter. Every time I have said or done something in anger I have come to regret it. Life is too short for anger.

Angry people don’t succeed in life. They sabotage their happiness and they end up living very lonely and shallow lives. Take a look at any friend you have that is constantly angry. They are never happy. They are always frowning and they get no joy from life’s simple pleasures. Anger is the worst thing you can do. Don’t become one of those people who finds the worst in every situation. Look for the best.

Conclusion

Life is so short and fleeting. You could die in your sleep tonight. Make sure you live your life in a way that will allow you to pass away with no regrets. Make compassion, love, patience and energy the main pillars of your existence. If you do you will leave behind a wonderful legacy.

So now the question is; are you making every minute of your life meaningful? What is holding you back? Leave a comment and let us know. I would be very interested to see what the main problems are.







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15 Comments »

Comment by Souful Girl
2009-05-31 15:05:28

Thanks for this article. I really needed to read this right now.

 
Comment by gobi
2009-06-01 02:21:30

Hi

I personally don’t agree with first point . Now I am 30 years old and till few months back I was helping others and then suddenly I realized i wasted the life till then by making sure others are happy . There were no one when I needed them . For them their things had more priorties .For me others need was more important than mine . Now i think i wasted the life till now and trying to come out of it

gobi

Comment by beez
2009-07-29 15:10:37

i agree with gobi. i feel the same way. for years now, i had devoted myself completely to making others happy, despite the fact that i myself was compromising who i was in doing so. now i look back and feel that that time was… not wasted, but not well-spent. i have nothing to show for it but other people’s anger that i will not continue to be their stepping stone. so while it is important to consider other people in the decisions you make, you must also keep in mind that you owe it to yourself to pursue happiness in your own life as well.

 
Comment by kathryn
2009-11-29 06:17:59

Sometimes we are not really making other people happy, we may be giving in to their selfishness or being manipulated by them.I think if there is no sense of sharing we have to step back and think about what we have given.

 
 
Comment by Joshua
2009-06-01 19:33:42

Gobi,

I can totally see where you are coming from. I might be speaking for myself here, but when making someone happy I have to make sure I’m doing it for the right reason. I’ve found myself making people happy for selfish reasons. You cannot control how people act on you being kind or doing something for them, all you can control are your actions. So if you truely want to help someone, help them regardless of the outcome.

It takes a selfless person to help someone without any expectations of the person they help. A good example is Mother Teresa, she spent her whole life helping people, people that normally recieved no love and no help from anyone. People that other people pretended that didn’t exist. And she got nothing in return, maybe a smile here and there. It brings great happiness to me to make someone smile. If you are happy, it doesn’t matter what’s for dinner, or where you are living… All of that just doesn’t seem to matter anymore. We all stive for a high paying job, and a family, etc.. Which can be good, but ultimately I could careless about what car I drive or how big my house is. I want to be happy. I know that the only true happiness I get is by helping other people, it makes your existence on this planet justified; a life worth living.

 
Comment by Haitham Gad
2009-06-15 20:47:54

I totally agree with the first point and I just wanted to add some comments. First of all, I’m Muslim, so I wanted to mention some of the quotes from Prophet Mohammad’s sayings that support this meaning:

“No one will truly be faithful except when he likes the good to other Muslims exactly as he likes it to himself”

“To be in the help of any of my brothers is better than to spend one complete month praying in the Masjed (Mosque)”

“The Muslim is the one who doesn’t hurt Muslims with his words or power”

 
Comment by Laura
2009-09-23 19:02:48

I will make every second count. I am determined to turn things around and make every minute and every second count. I will reach my potential and make a difference. I am determined to.

 
Comment by Rejected
2010-05-29 08:59:56

I personally disagree with the first point. Yes, I’m one of the few people that will actually go out of his way to help others. Sadly, I cannot say it actually make my life any better or meaningful.
I have always been there for anybody who needs help be it a shoulder, or a ear or even monetary but when I’m down, nobody seems to be near me.

though, it helps if you think happiness come from the inner mind and soul not from others.

 
Comment by lovejeet
2010-08-26 21:43:05

I think some people are selfish. They use other people when they need.

 
Comment by Noone
2010-09-10 15:29:06

I think meaningful life is doing something sustainable, whatever is sustainable, which must be good and work with the natural law. Doing the right thing at the right time on the right place will bring happenness into my life, sometimes doing nothing is not bad, at least I don’t do anything bad. What you think is good, someone may think your action is bad, so do the right thing at the right time on the right place, and live with the natural law is my key to approach a meaningful life.

 
Comment by Alan
2010-10-26 04:38:31

I don’t think I focus on making others happy. I simply want to contribute or, more specifically, make a difference. I want to have positive impact. What worries me is that the motivation is out of vanity.

 
Comment by Sarah
2011-01-19 23:03:05

I just found your site and just want to keep reading and reading. You are very insightful. I just wanted to add my two cents in too. I do agree with the first point but only if you are doing it for the right reasons. If you help someone in order to get recognition or to hide from your own problems then how is it really benefiting your life?

Other thought I wanted to make is your point about anger. I don’t think it is necessarily beneficial to say try to “not get angry”. Anger is a normal human emotion which shouldn’t be repressed just because it is not considered a “good” emotion. Everyone has the right to be angry at times. I think sometimes as kids we are taught that anger is not good and you shouldn’t feel it instead of being taught how to deal with our anger which is more important lesson to me. I know for me, sometimes I have a hard time feeling that I have a right to be angry and instead I internalise my anger. I am finding that I am happier when I address the situation and my feelings in a healthy way so I can let my anger go. However, that is just my opinion and how I’m learning to handle things for me and my life. Everyone is different. :)

 
Comment by justin
2011-02-18 04:58:09

If you are looking back on your life and saying you helped others but no one ever helped you? So does that mean you now or previously wanted someone to help you? Or would of liked that at least? It all goes back to expecting absolutely nothing in return. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING

 
Comment by dat vu
2012-05-25 22:44:34

I just have one idea.I strongly to agree with the first point.if you want to have happiness you must to give happiness for other.if you want to have meaningful life you must to do things that meaningful.

 
Comment by Ohwo
2013-05-04 19:46:48

I have always wanted to live a meaningful life and seeing this article has enrich me. However in making others happy we should not help to get ourself into troubles. Thank you very much

 
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