Life Isn’t Promised So Get Busy Living

shawshank poster

I try to limit the amount of bad news I take in everyday. It’s a bad habit I’ve eliminated in the last six months. It’s had a positive effect on me.

Too much bad news is not good for us because it brings us down. How much do you need to read about murders, robberies, and crimes?

I’ve stopped watching the local news. Half the time it’s about what’s bad about the city and the country.

However when the tragedy is huge, it’s hard to not read or watch it. Like when the huge earthquake hit Japan or 9/11. I followed every breaking moment.

Recently there’s all these crazy tornados doing massive destruction. First one tore through Tuscaloosa, AL last month then this month one devastated Joplin, MO.

Photo by Mercy Health

A tornado, like earthquakes, are scary cause it comes unexpectedly and is so powerful. It comes so quickly that you just have minutes to prepare. People describe the sound like a train or a  jet engine.

Minutes go by and then it’s gone but not before destroying everything in its path.

When news breaks like the events I’ve mentioned, I’ll end up reading all about it and come across stories of survival and death. I try to limit the latter. It bothers me for so long but I’m drawn to reading them. What it does is puts everything in perspective.

This past weekend I read one article that again proves how promising futures can be gone in an instant.

Gone in an Instant

Saturday a headline on Yahoo caught my attention about a husband who saved his wife’s life. There was a video report of her describing what happened.

When the tornado ripped through their house, he covered her and took the brunt of the damage. When it was over, she looked at him and he was turning blue. He died before an ambulance came.

They were married six years and had planned to start a family. She said, “he was my hero”.

Below that article was the story of a high school student driving home from his graduation with his dad. The young man had a bright future. He had a Youtube channel that had over 1.5 million views. He was to start film school in the fall.

Instead the tornado hit. Their car flipped over. The dad tried hard to hold onto his son but his son’s seatbelt snapped and he ejected out of the sunroof.  The dad survived but the only thing left from his son was his cellphone and graduation cap.

Those aren’t the only two that have tragically passed. From the infants to the elderly, hundreds have faced the same tragic ending from these tornados. Those two stories were enough for me. It’s heartbreaking.

Don’t Take Life for Granted

After reading it, I started thinking that life can be taken from us at any moment. I hate thinking like that but it’s true. I wanna think we are all invincible and go peacefully one day. That’s not how life works.

This post isn’t meant to depress you. It’s meant to make you realize that you’re still alive. You’re reading these words in front of your computer. It’s a wonderful gift.

A couple weeks ago a guy warned of the end of the world. It was received with ridicule as it should have been. There’s no date for the end of the world.

The end of our life has no warning sometimes. It can be sudden with no chance to say goodbye. The only fact is that our life will end at some point. That’s what’s guaranteed.

How do you want to be remembered?

pointing at you

Photo by subharnab

So from this point till that time, how will you live your life?

What type of person do you want to be?

A positive one that touches so many people? Or one that just sleepwalks through life doing unimportant things?

Think about the type of legacy you want to leave. When you’re at your last stages of life and you look back at the memories in your life, how do you want to remember it?

Sitting behind a desk doing uninspired work for just a paycheck?

What are the memories you want to have? Healthy, happy  and loving? Or unhealthy, stressed out and full of regret?

The choice is yours. What’s happened in the past is done. Your future is up to you. If you’re starting to do great things with your life. Keep going. Build momentum. If you’re deciding for the right moment, make that moment today.

Don’t live life cautiously to be safe. Live life out of your comfort zone to feel alive.

Every Day is a Gift

I’m the hardest person to buy presents for on my birthday. More stuff doesn’t make me much happier. So my family saves money.

Instead since I’ve been doing my 30 day gratitude journal, I feel like every day is my birthday because I am thankful to enjoy another day of my life. Reading stories of promising lives cut short make me truly appreciate I’m alive.

Instead of one birthday present a year, I like the sound of 365  presents better.

How do you want to be remembered?

Are you working towards living a life that you’re proud to talk about?

Was this post useful to you?

(Update: My friend Paul mentioned in the comments an article he read called “The top 5 regrets people make on their deathbeds”. Worth a few minutes to read it)

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45 responses to Life Isn’t Promised So Get Busy Living

  1. Awesome post Benny. Reducing my content consumption (including news) has really helped me to get busy living. Also I’m loving the Shawshank image at the top of the post!


    • That’s right I remember you said you were on a news diet. Good idea. As I said I’ve tried to cut back on news about crime. Last week I slipped and read the metro section and I read about two bunnies being strangled to death. That’s exactly why i don’t read it anymore. The thought of it afterwards sickened me.

      Glad you like the image! I love it too. Thanks buddy!

  2. Truly a powerful post.

    It’s amazing how many things can be gone in an instant.

    I like your reminders to live the way we want to be remembered and never take anything for granted.

    • Thanks JD. I just hope some people who live busy lives can step back and realize my point. You seem to fully understand. Thanks for commenting and hope you’ll share again in the future.

    • To live life in the moment is to find a balance between the past and the future. I alone get to decide how my time will be spent. My choice is to live in the present because the future is unknown and to worry about it is to borrow anxiety.

      Henry David Thoreau teaches us to “live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment.”

      It seems that natural disasters are an everyday occurrence right now, but so are the wars that are being fought on so many fronts. The TV and newspapers are full of things that bring my energy down. So, I do not read or listen.

      Loved ones being taken in the most unexpected time has hit home with me and I’ve learned to tell my family that I love them often and not only tell them but live in a manner that shows them how much I care.

      • Ellene, I always reading your lovely words. I’m glad you don’t read or listen to bad news as well. I’m surprised so many readers here do the same thing. I’m glad to hear that.

        Sounds like you live in the present. You have a great attitude about life.

        Thanks for sharing that quote! I’ve added it to my journal.

  3. Hi Benny,

    This is very inspiring. I have stopped reading negative stories in newspapers. They are really a depressing lot. But good to know that there are inspiring stories as well.

    Also doing things differently and taking a risk is not easy but it can be learned with the right attitude.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Glad you’re stopped reading negative stories in the newspapers. Some I can’t resist when it’s national news. But for local news, I’ve stopped all that.

      Thanks for commenting Ashivini!

  4. Wow,this one really hit me. Thank you Benny.

    It made me wonder what I am doing with my life? and How fast am I doing thing to accomplish my goals?

    I hope others can view this as an eye opener because we may be busy but the question is, Are because of your deams? or, Are you busy because of other people’s dreams?

    • Armand, we’ve lived too long fulfilling other people’s dreams and it leads to unhappiness. It might lead to money but certainly not with the feeling of waking up every day excited.

      Reading their tragedy made me think I am doing something every day that I’m happy to be doing? I have a real job for now so in my free time I make sure to fill it with writing, reading, sharing, giving advice because that’s what I enjoy doing here.

      So I do hope you’re working towards your dreams as well!

  5. Dang, this post was intense. I read an article yesterday (wish I could find the link) written by a nurse describing the top 5 regrets from people on their deathbed. #1 was not living their life the way they wanted it to be lived.

    While I’m certainly don’t advocate not planning for the future, I think the worst thing that could happen to a person would be regretting how they lived their life.

    • Living a life full of regret is one of the worst things when I read other blogs. I wish I did this. I wish I did that. That’s terrible way to live.

      Too bad you can’t find it Paul. That’s be another intense article as well and a lesson for all of us who are still alive.

  6. I know the value of life. I work in a hospital and it is crazy how at any time I can call a floor and the charge nurse will tell me about how someone suddenly just died in front of them. It was weird and a little unsettling at first. But now every time it happens, it makes me sit up and take notice of my own mortality. It helps me realize that I can’t take life for granted. I hate wasting time and wasting opportunities. I agree with you completely when you say that every day is a gift.

    • Hey Steve,

      Sorry to jump in on this, but working in a hospital must be crazy man! I suppose like anything you do get conditioned to it, at least up to a point. Glad you take valuable lessons from your job bro. Just checked out your blog, you’ve got a great blog there will be checking it out more in the near future 🙂

    • Hey Steve. Did you start working there and then start your blog afterwards? Just wanted to know if working there changed how you were living your life. I think being that close to death really gives you a wake up call. You see it first hand.

      • I just started working there a few months ago so I’ve had my blog a long time before I worked at the hospital. I don’t think it has changed how I live my life much since I’ve long ago stopped taking life for granted. But I still do find it a good reminder to keep living life to the fullest.

  7. Benny, amazing post as usual.

    Last year when I lost a good friend to illness at only 22 years old it put everything in perspective for me, and I think it did for a number of other people as well. Life can be taken from us in an instant. That’s why we have to get busy living! However, we also need to remember our priorities and what is important in our lives – for example family and friends. Some people neglect this side of things trying to pursue the life they always wanted. I think it’s essential we get busy living but remember who and what is important in our lives.

    Nothing is guaranteed, and I think your question “How do you want to be remembered?” is a great questions to ask. Like Stephen Covey says “begin with the end in mind.” – The most fundamental way to do this is to imagine what impact and legacy we will leave when we pass away.

    I think many people go through life in the “rat race” and “stuck in a rut”, and if they just take a step back and analyse their position, they can make the necessary changes to live a more enjoyable and fulfilling life, if they so desire. As we know, nothing is guaranteed, nothing lasts forever.

    Excellent, insightful and thought-provoking post as usual bro, keep up the good work 🙂

    • Robert you bring up a great point. Take time for family and friends. Read this article my friend Paul mentioned to me in the comments. I think you’ll find a lot of value in it.

      So many people are in the rat race. Racing through life. They want Monday, Tuesday, Wed, Thurs, and Friday to done with fast so they can enjoy the weekend. That’s a terrible way to live life!!

      At least you and I know how we should enjoy life more. I know we’re both trying to spread that message!

  8. Amazing post, Benny. I too have started cutting my content consumption (Mainly news local news) That’s one of the tenants I took from Tim Ferriss and the 4 Hour Work Week. If there is something really pressing I need to know, others around me will tell me.

    It’s perfectly fine to throw caution to the wind. Everybody may not be built to do it on autopilot. But if they can muster up the courage to do it in bursts, they will definitely be better for it.

    I’m going to Medellin, Columbia in December cause I tuned out what everybody says about Columbia. If more people stopped paying attention to what people will think of them and live their lives how THEY want to live it, then, and only then will they be able to truly get busy living.

    Get Busy Living or Die! (metophorically speaking, of course! ;))

    • Hey Kevin! A pleasure to see your here buddy!

      I love my USA Today newspaper. It doesn’t have as much bad news like crime in it. The local paper I rarely read and like you I’ve cut out the local news.

      Of course if you say Columbia to me, I think drug lords. But I learned last year that Medellin is a nice place to visit. I’m glad you’re not paying attention to the critics. Usually when you’re doing something great, that’s when the naysayers come out. Should be a fun trip!

  9. You are right Benny, everyday is a gift! I always try to improve and learn something new to help me get closer to my goals. More often than not it is a good idea to sit back and reflect upon all that surrounds us and as you’ve stated; focusing on the positives rather than the negatives will bring that what is desired.

    • You sound like you’re doing great things. You have the right idea in improving and learning constantly. Keep it up and hopefully you’ll build momentum. Thanks for sharing!

  10. Hey Benny,
    What a great reminder to remember what is truly important in life.I like what you said about deciding who we want to be in life. It really is time to decide for all of us. Sleepwalking through life is the same as being in a dream state.

    I was never a watcher of the news. I saw it as something that brings stress to people.

    • I’m glad to hear you don’t watch the news. I’m surprised so many readers here say they don’t watch the news. I’m glad to hear that though.

      We definitely are made to do great things in our lives. It’s about finding what that is.

      Thanks for commenting Justin!

  11. Oh, my gosh, Benny! This article really makes me think. The tornadoes that swept through Missouri a couple of weeks ago were something! Living in St. Charles, Missouri, I thank God each day for another chance to enjoy the world He’s placed us in.

    When the storms finally passed that evening, the news showed the devastation in Joplin. I too read that story about the wife whose husband died saving her life. My heart goes out to her!

    I pray I can live to my fullest potential and make a difference in the lives of others. No matter how long life is, it’s really quite short in comparison to eternity. I definitely don’t want to take it for granted.

    I like your ideas of the “30 day gratitude journal” and “365 presents better.” Thinking about using them, if that’s okay. Thanks for the post!

    • Allyson, glad to hear you guys were okay. Did you get tornado warnings? If so that must be a scary thing.

      I think you’ve got the right mindset. Every day to do follow your passion, be with friends and family is really a gift.

      Glad you like my ideas. Please use them and share them in anyway! They’ve been helpful to me.

      • Hey, Benny. Thanks for asking. Yes, we are all okay… We got a lot of tornado warnings in the area and huddled in a safe room away from windows for a few hours. We are definitely grateful, knowing it could have been much worse.

        I appreciate your post. It reminds us all of what’s really important in life. Thanks as well, for allowing me to use and share your ideas!

  12. Oh man! I read the local newspaper everyday and there is more bad news in it than good news.

    Great insights here man. Now, I feel truly blessed to be alive and being able to enjoy every second of the day. Everyday is a gift – no doubt.

    You know Benny, I feel real good after reading your post and thanks for the reminder as to why I should forget the past and start on what is important this instant!

    Very much appreciated brother!

    • Hey Adam! Try to not read the crime section of the local paper if possible. I used to read it all the time and it only stressed me out.

      I’m glad my post inspired you Adam. You’re very welcome!

  13. Hey Benny!

    I always say I’m going to wake up everyday and live it to the fullest….but then routine sets in and days sort of pass instead of being lived.

    I think this would be a cool challenge to truly commit to. Go for say a month, living each day as if it was your last. (Might hurt the bank account a little) But I bet that month would be the most fulfilling 30 days of anyones life!

    Definitely have to keep this in mind and life in perspective.


    • Hey Chris!

      I do the same too man. I try to have more good days than sleepwalking days.

      That would be a pretty amazing month for sure to live it up every day. That would be a heck of a month for sure! You should do it! 🙂

  14. Another thought provoking post Benny – Awesome.

    I always live by the motto: Life is Good, Live it Up!
    Followed by: Tomorrow is never promised.

    These are the sayings that I always say to myself to keep me positive and happy to be alive, to be able to run, walk, read, laugh, love, bbq, play with my kids, tickle my wife and everything in between.

    Thanks for reminding us about our lives and how fragile they really are.

    • Brad, I’m glad you’ve got that attitude on life. Life is pretty good for sure.

      Your wife is ticklish and you tickle her? Oh man that’s torture. Are you ticklish? I am extremely ticklish and my fiance takes advantage of that. It’s not fair cause she is not ticklish at all.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for the RT again!

  15. Ah Benny, what a beautiful post my friend.

    You definitely know how I feel about this subject. I hate that it takes tragedies in our lives or others in order for some people to finally “get it”. That’s why I always say to just live in the present moment because it’s all we have. Appreciate what life has to offer because it can all be gone tomorrow. Tell the people who mean the most to you how much you love them so no words will ever be left unsaid. Stop worrying about the small stuff because in the scheme of things, it’s so unimportant.

    I hate when I hear about these types of tragedies and my heart breaks for the families. But these things should make others appreciate life even more. Honor those who lost their lives and make something of yourself. Stop listening to depressing news and just be happy darn it!

    Okay, enough said. You definitely said it all in this post. Thank you again my friend for sharing your thoughts with us all and for helping others realize that life is a precious gift that can be taken away at any moment. I don’t know about everyone else but I want people to remember me as someone who always put a smile on their face, always had kind things to say, loved to help others and loved life with a passion. Yep, that’s me! 🙂

    Have a blessed day!


    • Thank you Adrienne! There still so many people that don’t appreciate life. Even if they personally have a near death experience, they keep living the same destructive life. I don’t get it but I’m not friends with people like that anyways.

      You certainly make a great impact on everyone you meet I’m sure! The world needs more people like you!

  16. Superb post to justify why life should not be taken for granted. It’s sometimes hard to believe how things can change in an instant.

  17. Hi Benny,

    I also used to think that reading the “bad” parts of the news was something I should avoid. Now I feel that the “bad” parts are just as imporant and real as the “good” parts so why avoid them? The “bad” news has a reality and affects the people involved. It would seem selfish to ignore it just because I don’t want to stress myself out. The truth is, it’s happening. Even though it might make me uncomfortable, perhaps I should feel that way to acknowledge it. I hope that reading all parts of the news will help me to more fully understand the current state of the affairs in the world.

    Anyway, I particularly enjoyed the part of this post where you advise asking yourself how you want to remember your life. This is a great way to set your priorities straight and I have found this technique very helpful. Cheers on motivating people to start living now! This life isn’t a dress rehearsal…

    • Hey Sean. I see it’s your first time here. Welcome!

      I do agree that we should take in some “bad” news. I take in bad new on a national level. When the earthquake hit Japan, I followed every day for updates. Like I said I read some about the tornados. The recent shootings in Arizona. I’ll read those. The shootings at Vtech. Though tragic, those don’t bother me as much.

      What bothers me the most is reading the local “bad” news. Local crime in the area. Murder, burglary, car accident, etc. I think cause it’s closer to home so it stresses me out more when I read it. Some can read it and brush it off. For myself, it’s better if I don’t read it.

      I see you’ve been blogging for a year and are in college. Awesome! Keep it up. I wish I had been blogging as serious as you when I was in college. You do seem wise beyond your years. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing Sean!

  18. shanthi priya July 4, 2011 at 5:52 am

    really nice benny

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