What an interesting idea! I just discovered this very interesting TEDx talk video where Leanne Delle, who is a writer and a registered nurse, explains the problem with “last day” mentality.
In the beginning of her talk she refers to the famous Stanford commencement where Steve Job described how his daily morning ritual (that he had followed for 33 years) involved looking in the mirror and asking himself, “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” If he answered no one too many days in a row, he would change something about his life.
Delle, although understanding Jobs’s process for attempting to live life to the fullest, and not settle for second best, believes that this last day mentality, although may be motivating for some people, can ultimately induce anxiety for most of us, and is not very practical or realistic.
The problem with the last day mentality is that to be facing an “imminent expiration day”, real or hypothetical, causes stress because we are simultaneously reminded that we are not doing enough, or that we are not achieving what we should.
What is her solution? We should do the opposite. With the enthusiasm of a little child (I would say) we should live each day as though it’s our first day.
Is today was your first day of life, or your first day of an exciting travel, what would you do?
Live each day as though it’s your first. If we live each day full of wonder and appreciation while discovering a genuine sense of joy, I believe that motivation for our truest passion would be more likely to present itself…I would argue that we can deal with day-to-day routine and responsibilities while pursuing our passion. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. It’s an interesting shift in perspective that accomplishes the same thing without the logistics issue. You still think about what’s important to you, but this approach makes room for the process it takes to accomplish what matters to you, including your day-to-day routine.
What a powerful shift of perspective! It is never too late, and we don’t need to be so dramatic and start our day as if it was our last, even because we would be wrong most of the time (and right only once). This should be particularly true for those who don’t believe that death is the end of life, but only a change. There will be many first days, even after this life, and so it is better to think of life as a series of new beginnings, where we can learn to do better, until we get it right, like Bill Murray in the famous Groundhog Day’s movie.