Why Saying “Life is Short” Is Not Good Motivation

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by Melody Fletcher on November 27, 2014

 

Coaching Call #128 is out! The topic of this week’s call is: Her Partner Cheated But She Can’t Move On.

This caller’s relationship broke up when her partner cheated on her and she finds herself unable to move on. She doesn’t understand why he did this, especially when he’d promised her he wouldn’t do anything to hurt her. Now she feels unworthy, depressed and hurt. She can’t find a way to feel better about herself or the breakup because she’s still really angry with him.

How can she release her anger so that she can start to feel better about herself? How can she take control of her feelings and step back into her power?

If you’ve had your heart broken and you can’t move on from it, this call is for you.

Read the full call summary here.

Also, if you missed last week’s call, #127, She Wants to Know How to Stop Stuttering, you can see the call summary here.

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As many of you noticed, I didn’t publish a post last week. I experienced some big shifts on my last day in NYC (after our awesome event!), and ended up releasing a crap load of stuff as soon as I got back to Barcelona. This manifested as a massive head cold/flu, which I surrendered to (didn’t really have a choice…), leading me to rest and sleep and stay in bed as much as possible. Thank you to all of those who were concerned about me and reached out (you guys are so sweet!), and thank you to all of those who weren’t worried at all (you held the space for my wellness!). I’m all better now and back in better form than ever (LOVE the energy rush we get after a big release!). Now, for today’s blog post.

I received a beautiful message from new reader Awesome Marc the other day, in which he thanked me for my work and declared that he was looking to get out of his soul-sucking job. He used the phrase “Life is short” as the reason that he was now willing to make a change. A lot of us use that phrase, and quite often. It’s the original version of YOLO (You Only Life Once). After all, if you only have all that much time to live (or only one life), you’d better use that time wisely. You wouldn’t want to waste your short, precious, scarce life, would you?

The only problem is that the phrase “life is short” is not only totally crap at motivating us to have the lives we want, it’s also completely inaccurate. In other words, I’m going to make the case today for why you may want to stop using that phrase, or more importantly, change your perspective of it (which may well cause you to choose different words), so that you can actually rev up your motivation to shift into the life you want.

Life is not freaking short

Let’s face it: most of us alive today are going to live well into our 80’s or 90’s. I personally plan on living to about 150, although I’m still working on that (it used to be 120, but I upgraded this year. Ha.). Even if you “only” live 70 years, that’s still a long time. Of course, when you compare the average human life span to that of a Redwood tree or that of the planet, or even the Universe as we know it, it seems totally miniscule. But we can’t really make that comparison, can we? Do you know what it feels like to live hundreds of years, never mind thousands or even millions? No, you don’t. None of us do. We have no idea what that experience is like. For all we know, that tree experiences its lifetime as passing by in about the same amount of time as we do ours. What if the fly that lives for only a day experiences the equivalent of an entire human life in that time? What if ten thousand of our years is experienced as one day to a mountain? We can’t really make any kind of meaningful comparison between our own experience and that of another life form, because we don’t know exactly what their experience is. All we can really do is to choose to use what we assume our experience of their lifespan would be to make ourselves feel bad (“there’s not enough time!”) or good (“compared to the gnat, I’m nearly immortal!”).

But, let’s look at the average human life span in a different way. Like I said, even if we “only” live to be about 70 years old, that’s still a hell of a long time. You can pack a lot of experiences into seventy years. If you think of all those years as being comprised of trillions of individual moments, and each moment as full of unlimited potential, the human life span starts to look pretty damn good. Shit, it’s so long that a lot of people get tired of it in old age, and often way earlier. I’ve met people in their 30’s who were basically sitting around just waiting to die. They weren’t ill or anything, just not at all enthusiastic about life. I understand that there are a lot of people who don’t expect to live past the age of 50. It’s not just that they don’t think they’ll physically be able to, they really don’t want to. They’re “done”, tired, drained by the constant struggle of their lives. For these people, a normal life span is too long. They just want the suffering to end. They want to be done with it already.

Of course, if you let go of the struggle and fill your life with awesomeness, you’re not going to sit around waiting to check out. You’re going to fill your days with precious moments and adventure, which can and almost certainly will have the effect of slowing down time. You’ll experience more of it. In other words, you’ll pack more into each year. I can tell you that 2014 has seemed like ten years to me (no joke). I expect 2015 will be even longer…

Why a short life is not a good motivator

Not only is life most decidedly not short, the idea that it is, is actually a horrible motivator. If life actually was of a short duration, it would be ok if it sucked. It would be like ripping off a bandaid. You’d be born, spend a short amount of time in suckitude, and then die. You’d never experience the suffering for long enough to really get properly sick of it and make a change. You can put up with just about anything for a short amount of time.

But life is long – too long to put up with the pain of horrible, painful, soul destroying jobs or relationships. Consider this: let’s say you were granted eternal life (maybe a sparkly vampire bit you or something…); would you stay in your current job? Would you change nothing because life just became longer? Or would that not be more of an incentive to go and do what you really want to do? Would you not suddenly be inspired to open businesses, knowing you had plenty of time to nurture them into success? Would you not go and travel the world, safe in the knowledge that you’d never run out of days to fill? Wouldn’t you actually be more likely to give up the desperate struggle to find a mate or birth kids, or accomplish anything in a certain amount of time, allowing yourself to relax more, drift more, and trust the unfolding of things more? Wouldn’t an eternal life take all the risk out of it? After all, if you screwed something up, you’d have eternity to do it over again.

What you almost certainly wouldn’t do is lament that there’s no point in achieving or experiencing anything, now that you have all this time. When we say “Life is Short”, we assume that it will motivate us to make a change, meaning that the opposite, a long life, would lead to lethargy. This is, quite frankly, bullshit. If you had eternal life, you also wouldn’t stay in a crappy job. A lot of people justify staying in a nasty situation with the reasoning that they only have a few years left to retirement, or they’ve already put so much time into a relationship (and there’s only so much time to go around), or they’re getting old and don’t think they have enough time left to manifest a different reality. A lack of time tends to motivate us to stay where we are. An abundance of time frees us up to do what we really want. While we can put up with suffering for short periods of time, we’re much less willing to be in pain for decades or longer.

And yet, by continuing to buy into the paradigm that life is short, we can actually keep ourselves stuck in a horrible situation for an entire lifetime. We convince ourselves that it will go on for just a little while longer. We can do that, right? Just another day. Just a couple more years. THEN we’ll be released either through death, or retirement, or whatever excuse we’re using to finally allow ourselves to feel better.

Your long, awesome life

If you truly want a time-based motivational tool, remember that life is long. Look at that soul-sucking job. Imagine doing it for another 20 or 30 years. How does that feel? Is that acceptable to you? Don’t just project the negatives out for the next year or so, look at your entire lifetime. Whatever situation you’re in NOW, imagine that you’re still in it at 90, 120 or even 150 (whatever age you can imagine you’ll get to). Is that what you want to look back on, a life full of struggle, fear and ignored opportunities? Or would you rather look back on decades and decades of adventure, risks, and awesomeness?

Life is just too damn long to put up with crap you don’t enjoy. You can lie to yourself and pretend that the suffering will stop soon, but honestly, nothing will get better unless you’re willing to make a change NOW. Sacrificing an entire year or two (“Just a couple of years of this and then things will get better…”) means millions of moments filled with suffering instead of joy. Millions of moments. That’s a lot of moments. That’s a lot of time. That’s a lot of life.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating running around and trying to fill your world with as much stuff as possible, in a desperate attempt to honor the sanctity of life. I’m actually saying the opposite. When we look at life as long, we lose that desperation, which allows us to relax more, be in the moment more. We stop running. We actually have an easier time being in the NOW and getting more out of life than when we’re under time pressure. We’re much more apt to smell the roses when we don’t have an urgent meeting to run to, and we’re much less likely to schedule an urgent meeting when we have plenty of time.

It may seem counterintuitive, but a long life is both a deterrent to staying in a painful situation, and a great motivator to focus on what really matters – love, adventure, joy. Stop seeing life as something short, fleeting and therefore, less meaningful (and often, more disposable). Start living your life as though you were eternal (you actually are, even if you won’t keep your human body forever), as though each moment was infinitely valuable to you and All That Is (it is), as though you had more than enough time to do everything you want to do (because you do). After all, if you were to go to an amusement park, and you were only given twenty minutes, would you enjoy those twenty minutes more or less than if you had an entire day to explore? Would the time pressure not take away from the awesomeness? Wouldn’t you even be resentful that you didn’t have more time? Lucky for you, you have a whole day. You have an entire lifetime. And it’s decidedly not short. Isn’t that awesome?

Image Credit: http://theawkwardyeti.com/. I love these comics!! Don’t forget to check out their shop! 

{ 24 comments }

Amanda November 27, 2014 at 22:02

This is amazing, Melody. Thank you.

(And I’m glad you’re back!)

Adriana Guidi November 27, 2014 at 22:08

So glad you’re better Melody!!

kelli November 27, 2014 at 22:29

Hey Melody
First off, glad to hear you are feeling better. i imagine after such a huge step for you, the energy release must have really whopped you physically. Unpleasant at the time, but an indicator of something awesome happening energetically.

I really enjoyed this post and this is actually something I have been thinking about lately. I am in my mid-30′s and I recently met with an energy worker who had just turned 70, and it made me realize how long life actually is, like you said. I see so much potential in my life, and so much time to keep working towards what I want. This has helped with my vibration a lot because it has taken off some of the pressure we feel to have something succeed at full bore instantly. I know it doesn’t have to take a long time, but it is also good to have an energy where you just let things unfold, while all the while, working consciously with your energy to help move things along.

Great stuff!
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Natalie November 27, 2014 at 23:02

Even before I learned about the eternal nature of our being and the truth about “death” the phrase “life is short” still made no sense to me. How is 70-80 years short? LOL. Anyway, I love love love your blog posts! Thank you so much for everything Melody!

Cordy November 27, 2014 at 23:23

I’ve been thinking about this a lot – I realized a couple of months ago that I totally experience/believe in “time scarcity”.

Do you think that people who are generally in alignment actually might live more years? Science has recently found that telomeres, the bits at the end of your chromosomes, get shorter as we age – and that they get shorter faster in people who’ve experienced trauma, which leads me to think that maybe focusing in alignment could slow or reverse that process. Or do you think that people who are generally in alignment might not live longer, but that the time between coming into alignment and croaking will feel very rich and long to them?

I suppose that distinction only feels important to me because I’m still letting go of my time scarcity worldview!

PS, Melody, glad you’re feeling better! I’ve recently understood from several sources more clearly that it’s okay to trust whatever is coming to me, because it’s all my body/mind/etc trying to come into alignment. I’m still letting go of some residual feelings of “but what if I’m WRONG???? and so I’m not preparing for disaster???” but it’s been really interesting. You mentioning the physical results (head cold) of releasing something made me think of this. Thinking “it’s okay to have a cold, it’s my body releasing something and coming further into alignment, I can relax into this” is so very helpful and soothing to me – but I still, as I said, get little blips of “What if I’m kidding myself?”

(But I think they are becoming less and less the further I relax into The Worldview Of The Proudly Weird!)

Moonsparkle November 28, 2014 at 01:41

I’m also glad that you’re feeling better, Melody. :)

I enjoyed the post. I can see why people say that life is short because sometimes the years seem to go by quickly but I do tend to think that it’s not really that short, especially if you live into your 70s or 80s. I’m 30 and it feels like I’ve been alive a long time to me because it’s the longest I’ve ever been alive so far, lol. (At least in this life, I don’t know about any past ones!). My grandma lived to 86 and that really does seem a long time to be alive. There’s a saying that goes something like, “Why do people say life is short? It’s the longest thing you’ll ever do!” and I agree with it!

Those are some good points about calming down and not being so desperate to do everything straight away because you have time. Thank you for the post :)
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Rose November 28, 2014 at 03:04

As always Melody, soooo good. Just love each and every one of your posts. And suckitude is such a lovely word. :) Thank you. PS. Hot ginger tea with honey and crushed pepper is what helps with my cold.

Rose November 28, 2014 at 03:08

Sorry, I meant peppercorns.

Deepti R November 28, 2014 at 08:16

Am so glad that you are back Melody! Missed your posts, but I figured that considering the quantum shifts that you have made, you needed some recovery time. :)
am commenting on your work for the first time ever. Cause its taken me years to take it from pure theory to actual practice and get results. Me writing to you now, is cause am totally convinced that this works and am proving it everyday!

Thank you sooooo much. You are amazing and its incredible the impact, that you, despite having never met me or seen me, have on my life.

A_Blindy November 28, 2014 at 09:13

I am glad to hear that the reason you did not publish last week was because of a cold. I was a bit afraid it was because you were having another omg I am really overwhelmed moment and you were going to change your blogging schedule again. I am afraid I am giving you ideas. Anyway that’s why I didn’t reach out about that. Wouldn’t want to step on something and be part of a big manifestation of who knows what? I know it sounds a bit awful and maybe selfish but I figured honesty is sometimes the best and I really felt like mentioning that.
Anyway this is quite interesting because I never looked at “life is short” this way. I say it for motivation to make change. Because if I had forever, I might not make the change because I am afraid of doing so.
Say you have someone standing on the edge of a freaking bridge about to go bungy jumping. They want to, but there is some fear involved. They are scared. They just are “not quite ready” for that manifestation. But haven’t you said you will actually never be completely ready anyway? Anyway this jumper has all the time they need to get ready. They might never jump because well, they could just put it off… and put it off… etc. They might even start overthinking and decide that, well, they really don’t want to do this and what if they die and this and that and blah.
So with this in mind, can “life is short” motivate someone out of fear of taking a first step?
If that bungy jumper only had ten minutes to jump or that specific opportunity to do so would be taken and they would need to make another appointment, wouldn’t they maybe actually jump? Can’t time harbor overthinking and OCD? I don’t know, that’s just how I have used it. But now I am afraid I shouldn’t do that for some reason lol.

A_Blindy November 28, 2014 at 09:47

Just reread this. And I kind of see what you mean. My last comment, I wrote it because it felt like you were discrediting my experience, that life is short. I can now see you were not, you were explaining the problems one might have with that perspective. And now that I have thought about it, I guess that perspective can be a bit problematic, and the long life idea can give me the same positives the short life one did.
But what about when you are in that crappy job and you actually want the day to be short? We now know it’s long. Monday through Friday is longer than Saturday and Sunday, so how do you get through that week, when quitting the job isn’t really an option yet and it looks like hell? And if life is long, then doesn’t change naturally take a long time in itself?
At my first read, I read through this way too fast. I really need to think more about it as I read.

Faith November 28, 2014 at 11:28

Glad to hear you’re better Melody and this post struck a cord with me. Recently here in America there’s been a lot of stuff going on regarding this teenager named Micheal Brown. ( For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about Micheal Brown was an african american boy who was killed by a police officer, and the police officer was found not guilty which angered a lot of people). But when I heard about all of this I felt sad at first but then I focused on the fact that he’s with Source ( universe, God) and is having a great time in a high vibration. But the first thing my mom said to me after the verdict was ” this just tells us life is too short and that we should protect our children” so when I saw this post I knew I had attracted it ( as everything else in my life) but I do have one question Melody, how did Micheal Brown attract his death?

Moonsparkle November 29, 2014 at 01:03

That’s a good question, Faith. It also made sad to read about the 12 year old boy Tamir Rice who was shot by a police officer, even though he had a toy gun. I wondered why did his life end in that way? Both of those incidents have sparked discussion on race and the police, so it could be seen that their deaths happened to make change but I wouldn’t find that very comforting if it was my child who died. Also a lot of anger has stemmed from it with the riots and I see some people attacking white people online and I don’t think that’s the way to go about it all. I wondered if Melody may do a post on it in the future.

Moonsparkle November 29, 2014 at 01:07

*to go about it at all.
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Faith November 29, 2014 at 04:06

Thank you Moonsparkle and I also hope that Melody will do a blog post on it because it’s such a big recent thing you know?

Tina November 28, 2014 at 12:37

Wow, Melody, what an AWSOME article! It has put me into trans for the past hour and I was shifting energy like crazy hehe :D I will read it again, cause I still need to process it.

I’m 32 and me and my girl-friend from childhood were resuming a while ago “OMG, we still have 2 times 30 years to go – that’s soooo long!” and then bursting into laughter :) We’ve both been through a lot, moving more and more from victim to adventure, and sometimes I actually feel “If I died right now, I would be pleased with my life and what I’ve been through”. It was all fun but from time to time we need a vacation :D So then I pull away from the outer world to process, reset and connect with All That Is, and get ready for more :)

Thank you so much, Melody, for your wisdom and perspective shifting! <3

Carla Hamilton November 28, 2014 at 14:01

Thank you Melody, I would just add who says I can’t keep my body forever? I AM that I AM, I can do what I wanna do! Since I am INFINITE and UNLIMITEDNESS Itself them my body, money etc., has to be what I am. I don’t see squirrels walking around on walkers and with canes! Everything in my experience is made in my image and likeness and I am INFINITE, I am Consciousness itself, then body is Infinite as well. We were told that we had to die but Jesus and many others said “no you don’t, let me show you! ” Again you sooo much.

Just Call Me A. November 28, 2014 at 15:48

I thought you were either recuperating or presenting your book to your publisher.

It’s so great to read this post! It is all so true and humans can live longer with less resistance. We are here for the experience, after all. I recently met a woman who is 46 and got the dream job, relationship and baby all this past year, after she stopped worrying and struggling and made peace with herself. Good story. And excellent post!!!!

Moonsparkle November 29, 2014 at 01:25

That’s an inspiring story about the woman who had her dreams come true at an age where some people think, “It’s too late”. It proves that it isn’t too late at all. Thanks for mentioning it. :)
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Just Call Me A. November 29, 2014 at 03:49

Thanks, Moonsparkle. It is never too late, really. I read of another woman who at 51 had twins and now she is 53 and she is having another baby. Both were with donors, as she is single, but healthy, wealthy and full of life, more so than some younger people, so she was like, why not, you know, if she was deeply feeling this, so I totally agree. She sounded like a good mom and those kids are lucky. And no, she did not think that she would be dead when they are 20, because she won’t be! It is what one puts forth.

Moonsparkle December 2, 2014 at 00:08

That’s inspiring too about the second woman. The more I read, the more how I see how it’s all about about the mindset.
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Melanie November 29, 2014 at 19:46

Melody,
Glad you’re feeling better! About two years ago I was in a very low vibrational state and had just about lost my mind–I got hit with a double blow of bronchitis and a sinus infection that forced me to lie around and contemplate. It was one of the best things that ever happened to me.

Great post–I never thought about it that way. I remember people telling me that college would be “the best four years of your life.” First of all, no, they weren’t. Second of all, if those are the best four years then that means the rest of my long life will suck! I didn’t want to buy into that philosophy! I have fallen into the trap of thinking, “life is short,” which can either be motivating or can evoke panic and hopelessness. That makes it seem like there isn’t time to make drastic changes or I’ll be stuck in a certain situation.

My dream isn’t the same as yours or my parents or somebody else’s. We all have our own definition of what a successful, fulfilling life is but it seems like we all put these ticking clocks of expectations over each other’s heads (or we do it to ourselves). Shifting to the mindset that “life is long” is a little scary, but it’s relaxing and freeing. I never thought about it that way before and as usual, you offer up ideas and perspectives that are fresh, funny, and thought-provoking.
Here’s to our long lives!
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Summer Starr December 1, 2014 at 20:26

I’m glad you’re feeling better! :)

I was actually one of those who wasn’t worried. I thought you and your team of puppies were super busy on some awesome stuff you were working on and were about to launch for the site – which the sickness could have been a piece to that puzzle – but either way there was a big shift. :)

It’s funny because one of the biggest things that motivated me to think of something else to do with my life (besides doing the 9 to 5) was the fact that: Who KNOWS how long I’m gonna be here? I could easily be here another 50 years.

I’m only 36. So when I think of being 60, 70 or even 50 years old, I think “Wow that is a loooooong time from now” and I think about how much one person can accomplish in just a year – let alone 10, 20 or 50 years!!!! I think about my life just 10 years ago and that seems like an entire lifetime ago.

So do I really want to be STILL working at this job years and years later? Heck no!!!! The fact that I may very well still be alive in 50 years (I plan to be anyway) was plenty of motivation to figure out what I wanted to do instead. For me, the idea of working a 9-5 for the next 50 years is something that makes me think “I’m just gonna cut my losses with this life and start another one.” But I kinda like this life, so I decided to take action and do what I gotta do to get out of here.

The only time “life is short” enters my mind is in the case of sudden accidents where someone dies prematurely (or what we perceive to be premature). And when someone says “YOLO” I just laugh silently to myself because that is just goofy from my perspective, as I KNOW I have lived before and will again once I transition into….well whatever it is we transition to.

I just always thought that saying was silly when talking about a human’s life span. I was always looking at gnats and flies and thinking “Awww what short lives they have” Then I think, well it is a fly….it probably wanted a short life span. :)
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Christopher Soliz December 5, 2014 at 17:24

Life is short. The saying is not to motivate you but to educate you and to teach you a very important truth. Those 70 – 90 – 120?? years you think you’ll “most likely” live can go by fast. Ask older people.. ask the elderly, some will say life goes by fast. Thos saying is to help you to be grateful for each and every moment in life because thats all we really have.. is just moments. If we have the false belief that we will love tomorrow, then we’ll put off telling our mothers that we love them until tomorrow – and then it just so happens that she died or something horrible happens. Like it or not, God controls when we were born and he certainly controls our time of departure from this earth. All we control os between those two time periods. There is no certainty of tomorrow – even the bible claims that. Just how like the bible also says that our thoughts create our reality. Tomorrow is never promised so let us make the most of today!!!

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