Live for today, learn for a lifetime

I recently ran across this quote from Indian philosopher Mahatma Gandhi

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

This got me to wondering: how would my life be different if I actively sought to realize this statement in my everyday behavior? What if, rather than tackling my seemingly insurmountable to-do list in chronological order, I looked to complete those things that I would want done if I knew I wouldn’t have another day to do them? Would I really respond to every email, or would I take more time to invest in the people around me so that they could effectively carry on the work? Would I continuously check my Blackberry or would I fully participate in the staff meeting at hand?

But perhaps just as significant as this prioritizing is the notion of learning as if you were to live forever. This recognizes the value of investing in yourself, ensuring that tomorrow’s “last day” will be more impactful than today’s. After all, if you’re lucky enough to have more time, shouldn’t you do everything you can now to make sure you get the absolute most out of it? Learning may feel like a luxury, but let’s recogize that this is in fact time well spent.

So what would you do differently if you were to embrace this kind of thinking? Maybe more importantly, what is really stopping you from doing it? Perhaps today is the day to try something different!


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