Our life is a gift to us, what we do with it is our gift to the world. All the great people whose names we remember are people who have discovered the meaning to life, and work tirelessly to make their life worth living. This is the reason why their lives will continue to echo till the ends of the earth. It is easy to waste our life without even knowing it, hence for us to matter in life we have to take conscious and deliberate decisions in life to make an impact. I have come to discover that every decision we make in life either takes us closer to our goal; a life of significance in life, or takes us away from it. It is an abuse of existence to pass through this life unnoticed. George Bernard Shaw affirmed “what tragedy will it be, for us to climb the ladder of success only for us to reach the end and discover that it is leaning against the wrong wall”. That’s an exact description of a wasted life. So I’m going to list some factors or points that will help you discover how you have been wasting your life, but the good news is you can retrace your steps and start leading a productive life.
- You don’t plan the activities for the day before facing the day
In life it is easier to get caught up with so many meaningless activities, and we fall in to the deception and assume busyness equals productivity. There is a wide berth between busyness and productivity – one is left to chance, the other is systematically determined. So what happens is when you don’t plan your day before you face it, you keep floating around and you end up achieving less than 10% of what you were supposed to achieve for the day. You end up getting frustrated, because you put in all the work and you achieve less result. You know why? Because that energy is not used judiciously, trust me I’ve been there, but immediately I learnt how to take charge of my day I began to feel good about myself. I learnt the principle from a book written by John C. Maxwell, “Today matters”. He made an insightful statement in the book that stuck with me. He said “show me your 24hours and I can predict your future”. It might sound seemingly hostile but it is profoundly true. There is this exciting feeling you have when you know you’re in control of your day and the activities. So when you don’t plan your day, you’re gradually wasting your life.
- When you don’t have a self-development plan
Self-development plans are the things you do to improve your mental ability, innate skills, your gift and talents. You must have a strategy, and plans to improve yourself, that’s how you rule your world, and it has been proven that 90% of the world’s population is controlled by the 10% of those who think. How do you think concretely? It is done by exposing yourself to materials like books, tapes and seminars that can improve you in the area of your life’s assignment. Once you realize, for instance, over the past three months you have never taken any conscious decision to have a self-development plan whatsoever, then I’m afraid you aren’t taking your life seriously. You need to re-evaluate the essence for your existence and begin to take your life seriously, as it demands.
- When you don’t have people you model your life after
It is a cliché that success leaves clues, but it is true. Having role models in your life helps you avoid most mistakes you should have made in life, enables you know the right decision to take in some difficult situation that may one day confront you. Mentors are the window to your future; they use their experience as a guiding compass to help you navigate the turmoil of life. Having nobody to emulate is synonymous to groping in the dark, there’s a little you could learn yourself. So I ask you these questions, who are you modeling your life after? Who do you turn to when you’re at that cross road and every decision you’re about to make seems all wrong and all right at the same time? Wouldn’t it be good to have someone who has chattered that course guide you safely? It is dangerous to live life unguided.
- When all your friends are mediocre
Show me your friends and I show you your future. “Your income is the average of five of your closest friends” Brian Tracy. I know there are some people we can’t get rid of all of a sudden, but it is good you draw a limit between you and your supposed friends who add nothing to your life. Some friends add to you, some remove from you and others just occupy space doing nothing, wisdom is to know how to factor them in to those categories and relate with them accordingly. Loving people is a command, but relationship is a choice. We can’t do without people, but it is imperative for us to have the right people in our life. Life is too short to keep the wrong people around making the wrong mistakes and spending the rest of our life in correcting them.
Take time to think about the friends you have, once you can identify those friends that add no value to you, just quietly create a gap between you and them, believe it or not, the people you hang around possess great influence on your life, consciously or unconsciously.
- When you don’t have goals
Goals are the driving force of our existence, a man with no goal is a man who hasn’t lived yet. Goals are valid parameters to measure the value of your existence. When you just float around in life without a tangible goal, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Some day you just look back at your life and realize you haven’t lived. Goals are little steps and strategies, with dates on how to achieve a particular dream or desire. Please learn to cultivate the habit of living a goal oriented life.
- When you have not discover your purpose for life
Purpose is why you exist, the problem you’re created to solve; until you discover why you exist, you will continue to wander around in life. Your purpose is what gives you fulfillment in life. According to Dr. Myles Munroe “it is possible to be a successful failure, succeeding in what you’re not created to do”. The question is, how do you know your purpose for life? This question will be addressed in a subsequent post. But let me give a brief insight on what purpose is. Your purpose is hidden in your gift, your purposes are the things in life that get you angry, that’s the problem you’re created to solve. Your passion is an ignition to your purpose, whatever you’re so passionate about, that’s where your purpose lies. When you have not discovered your purpose nothing you do makes you genuinely happy even when you’re being paid for it, but your purpose is what you will rather do for free and still maintain a feeling of fulfillment. Lack of purpose is the key element why people waste their lives. If you haven’t discovered your purpose, search for it, it is hidden in your gift. If you have discovered it, dedicate your life to developing it – that is your life assignment.
- When your life is not affecting anybody positively
We are all loving beings. We are all created to make life easier for fellow humans. If there is nobody that attests to the fact that his/her life becomes better due to your impact, then it is an indication that you’ve been living a self-centered life, your life adds no value, a life that is not lived for others whether you believe it or not is a wasted and unfruitful life.
True fulfillment is not found in material things, it is found in how we make other lives better and peaceful. John D. Rockefeller, once America’s richest man was once asked how much money is enough, to this he replied “just a little more”. Until he gave half of his wealth to charity before he know true happiness and fulfillment, that’s what life is all about. Fela Durotoye, quite recently, remarked “God has no problem with you being great if he’s sure what he passes through you won’t get stuck in you”. Jack Ma, the founder of ALIBABA.COM said “once you have a million dollars, it is no longer your money, it is people’s expectation on you” as true as the statement is, I feel we don’t have to have a million dollars to make life easier for people, every little act of kindness matters a lot to people. Live your life selflessly, and you will be amazed how beautiful life will be. Sometimes, the only way get what we want is to help others get what they need.
- When you can’t measure your growth
There’s no way you can lead a deliberate life and not be able to account for how you spend it. Growth is measurable, and the moment you’re not sure if you are growing or not, it’s a clear indication that your growth is stunted, you’re simply not growing, no tangible result in your life. It all boils down to taking charge of your own life, discovering what you’re set on this earth to accomplish and follow through with everything that you’ve got, otherwise you will end up living a life of void and emptiness. Growth is a proof of a life of meaning and significance. I am pretty sure, if you own a garden and you planted a flower for months that refuses to sprout, someday you will get frustrated and get it uprooted; now how do you think the owner of life itself would feel, when we are not yielding any result?
- When you just exist
The beauty of life is to master the art of time usage, because time is life. When you kill time, you kill your life, because the measure of your life is in the measure of your time usage. The difference between productive people and unproductive people is this: the former has learnt the art of time conversion while the latter just wastes time on trivial things.
Time conversion is the ability to put your time to productive use, turning your time to value by doing things that generate lasting good returns, not on parties and funfair, little wonder people, who live that way are never great.
What it means to just exist is to go through every day doing nothing serious, dong nothing that adds value to you or the people around you. Dr. Sunday Adelaja said “Any day you discovered you didn’t do anything that has to do with your purpose for life, you haven’t done anything”. This means one can actually be busy doing nothing. Learn to prioritize your life. According to Jim Rohn “Never major in minor things; always keep the main thing the main thing”. That’s how you become a person that can rule and reign in the world.
- When you don’t have a clear picture of where you are going in life
I’m currently reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey. In chapter 2 of his book, he says “begin life with the end in mind”, what this means is, never begin a thing without having a clear picture of what you want to achieve. He speaks about the second creation, everything is created twice, first in your mind, secondly in the physical, but most of us live our life without a sense of where we are heading. Until you have a clear picture of what you want your life to represent you are going to continue to waste your life. It is said when the purpose of a thing is not known, abuse is inevitable. This article might force you to have a rethink and a reassessment about how you want to live your life.
It is never my intention to make anybody feel bad about their life, but to get you fired up so you could live a life that means something to you and the world at large.