Are You Putting Off Life Until Later?

  • July 1, 2009 by Guest Writer
  • 23 Comments

Editor’s note: this is a guest post from Chris Garrett of chrisg.com.

walking-alone

My brother-in-law’s best friend just died at a young age leaving everyone connected to him frozen in shock.

The saddest part for me is that he was largely estranged from his family and that he had put his life on hold. He lived life like he was poor, even though he had plenty of money coming in. It was like he was going to enjoy himself “one day”.

Just before he died he had finally started doing things he enjoyed, buying a motorbike and doing up his house. Still, he seemed to be locked into thinking that now was for working, and later was when he would have time for living.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

Are you putting off life? Or as Corbett calls it, are you living the “deferred-life plan?” Worse, are you waiting for life to “happen to you?”

These events were one of the catalysts for me booking a vacation to Australia and New Zealand. As someone with a consulting business you might think it is crazy to take so much time out in “this economy,” but there will never be a perfect time. My daughter is getting older, and there will be a time when she does not want to spend time with us.

With my moving from 100% consulting to digital delivery of courses, such as my Authority Blogger course, I finally have a business that does not completely close down when I am not there for a while. It seems to me I would be crazy NOT to take the trip.

Action Equals Happiness

My brother decided one day he was going to pack in his office job, move to London and enroll in a guitar institute. People called him crazy, but I could see just by making the decision he was both terrified and exhilarated. When he really got going with the course it was the happiest and most fulfilled I have ever seen him. He was where he was meant to be. Just the rent for his flat in London is more than some people make as a monthly wage, but he is living his dream.

Take management of your life today so you can live life now rather than in some vague, idealized “later.”

  • Dream – Imagine the lifestyle you want
  • Turn the dream into an ambition – something you actually intend to work towards
  • Decide where you are going and how you are going to get there – this is not just about destination but living the journey well
  • Work out the steps to achieve it
  • Write down the exact milestones, how will you know precisely when you have achieved those steps?
  • Start bringing the lifestyle into reality piece by piece
  • Take action to make it happen
  • Record a diary or journal and celebrate successes
  • Work on progress rather than perfection

The Time Is Now

There will never be a perfect time, the only time you have is now. Start making progress toward the life you want… before time runs out.

What do you think? Have you managed to get the life you want or are you still working towards it? Please share in the comments

Chris Garrett is an internet marketing consultant and business blogger living in the UK. You can find him at his own blog, chrisg.com and client blogs such as Cogniview and Promotions Blog

photo by joiseyshowaa


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John Bardos July 1, 2009 at 7:53 am

Great advice Chris,

I have had several deaths in the family, friends with cancer and other close calls that are a huge reminder of how short life is.

Waiting until you are retired, save up enough money, or until all conditions are perfect is a recipe for disaster. The only limitations we have in life are old age and death. Everything can be overcome.

Do the things you want in life, and do them now! You do not know how long you will be around.

Corbett Barr July 2, 2009 at 10:39 pm

It’s so hard to watch people who have the means to enjoy themselves, but who are too addicted to working to take time off. This is especially true as people get older and time becomes even more precious.

Dan Harrison July 1, 2009 at 8:37 am

I literally just left my job today so that I can work for myself for the first time. Seize the moment, you usually don’t get a second chance!

Dan

Corbett Barr July 1, 2009 at 9:33 pm

Hey Dan, Congratulations on leaving your job. May I ask what you’ll be doing working for yourself? Best of luck on your new adventure.

Cath July 1, 2009 at 8:44 am

I totally agree. Do what you love or be working on getting to do what you love. But don’t wait and wish.

Cath

Sean July 1, 2009 at 9:24 am

Chris,

Great post. I was just talking to a friend last night about how there will always be “some day” things in your life. They wont go away until you make the decision to take action, and there is no better time than now. Thanks for the encouragement

Sean

Elaine July 1, 2009 at 10:30 am

I bought my sisters and best girlfriends key fobs for Christmas which read ‘Live the Life You Love’ – that’s the only way – happiness is very contagious.

jdbentley July 1, 2009 at 10:31 am

This post is a great reminder and motivator. My ass needed kicked back into gear.

Thanks Chris!

Colin Wright July 1, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Exactly!

This is the very reason that I started up Exile Lifestyle, so that I could travel around NOW instead of waiting for some nebulous LATER to come along. Even though I have other opportunities (that would likely pay a bundle) if I were to stay in Los Angeles, I know that if I don’t leave soon (August, actually), I’ll always regret it, and likely never get around to it.

Also: Dan, congrats on leaving your old job behind! Nothing but smooth sailing (or at the very least, interestingly choppy waters) ahead!

Nate July 1, 2009 at 2:51 pm

It’s interesting how much something like that can put things into perspective. Waiting around is just a big waste of time. Why work all your life to retire when you are old? I’m starting to get close to reaching my goal of being my own boss and I can’t contain my excitement. May is my goal.

Very inspiring post.

Ralph July 1, 2009 at 7:02 pm

I first heard about the defered life plan from the 4 hour work week. It articulated what I was feeling for years. Not for me!

Mark Dixon July 2, 2009 at 6:23 am

The deferred model worked for my grandparents. They had a long and happy retirement enjoying their grandkids and entertaining friends. It wasn’t until much later that I realized they were the exception. By pure luck the bet-the-farm gamble called the American Dream paid off for them, and (also by pure luck) they lived long enough to enjoy it.

The Dilbert comic strip is a cautionary tale: don’t toil away your best years in some corporate cubicle hoping for a gold watch, a pension and a long retirement. That worked in our grandparents’ era, but that model is broken now.

Sean July 2, 2009 at 11:53 am

Thanks for the encouraging words!
The “deferred-life plan” has become the preferred model of what we are expected to do in the US. Just because something is expected, or you are supposed to, does not mean that it is something that you should do. We each need to figure out for ourselves what we want and go for it!

Mickey Roberts July 4, 2009 at 7:44 am

There is a great meditation from the Buddhist tradition that seeks to motivate us to live in the now, and to understand that our purpose in life is not to constantly spend our time and energy acquiring material possessions. The meditation is this: 1. Death is certain.(We will all die one day) 2. The time of death is uncertain. (How many folks do you know who have died suddenly, even at a young age?) 3. When we die, we cannot take material possessions, or friends and family, with us. We must go alone.

This may sound morbid, but the more we contemplate these truths, the more we live NOW

Dan August 10, 2009 at 8:33 am

I love “action = happiness.” That is one I have to keep reminding myself every morning. Great post.

agghtea! August 12, 2009 at 3:27 am

You might need to take a step back from this world view, there is room for everything in this life. Going all out in chasing the dream is only part of it; some people need to open up a little and this goes from personal experience.

I relocated to Australia two years ago – selling up the flat I bought in the UK and most of the stuff I had as well. I’d worked myself into a place where I was spending the majority of what I had on a certain lifestyle (and following up on whatever whim took me).

Now renting a place in Sydney and (shock horror) saving around the edges I’ve become slightly more considered about what I choose to spend my money on.

This leads to making value judgemets about what you choose to do – and those judgements pay off in the end. Sure, you might find that something isn’t right for you but at least you’ve rationalised why you decided to do it in the first place – a BIG difference from just “going with the moment” and more rewarding when something works out.

and @Mark Dixon – exactly!

Ersan November 10, 2009 at 8:05 am

Life is short, All Right but Most people don’t know it. Their all aim is to work until they die. This is their sole hapiness! Because they don’t dream living cozy conditions of life due to lack of financial situation. But reverse is true too. Life is a comment of ours.

Ben Lumley December 22, 2009 at 3:55 am

Completely agree.

My Grandad used to always say “you can’t take it with you!” It’s true all of the stuff you hold back until that perfect moment for when you have the time, like money, time spent with family, that dream you have; are things that when you go you have to leave behind.

Get out there and fulfil the dreams you have, you might find they open up more opportunities than you thought they would

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