Make Every Day Count

One of the first personal development books I ever bought (the Magic of Psychic Power!) had a number in it that shocked me so much that I have remembered it ever since – 25,500. That, according to author David J Schwartz was the average number of days someone lives.  (Life expectancy in the developed world has increased; in Japan it’s now around 82 years, near enough 30,000 days)

When I first read that figure, aged around the age of 20, it seemed such a small figure. Now 30 years – or 11,000 days – later I’m rapidly eating into my allotment, if I’m lucky enough to get an average quota.

The film American Beauty has a nice twist on the famous poster quote:-

“Remember those posters that said, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life?” Well, that’s true with every day except one: the day that you die….”

In the chapter of Schwartz’s book, he further illustrates his point by saying that every day 5500 Americans die (it’s a generally cheerful, uplifting book!). Without dwelling on that statistic, few of us like to contemplate that our death is as much a part of life as our birth. “No one gets out alive”

Another perspective I often use, is to to say that today – December 31st 2008 – will never happen again. When its gone, its gone. Sure, you’ve got 1st January 2009 to look forward to (hopefully) and 31st December 2009 – plus the days in between. But why waste today when you won’t have it again?

Steve Pavlina has a very good post on goal setting, well worth reading the whole thing. But towards the end he has this quote:-

“I was once told by someone that I should end each day by crossing it off my calendar and saying out loud, “There goes another day of my life, never to return again.” Try this for yourself, and notice how much it sharpens your focus. When you end a day with the feeling that you would have lived it the same if you had the chance to repeat it, you gain a sense of gratitude that helps you focus on what’s really important to you. When you end the day with a feeling of regret or loss, you gain the awareness to try a different approach the next day”

If we’re not careful, we don’t notice that the days are passing us by. We take the paths of least resistance, sticking within our comfort zone. We watch TV all evening rather than learn skills that will help us advance. We put up with unwarranted criticism, we passively submit to requests rather than assert our needs. We allow a lack of confidence to pass up on an opportunity.


Lacking self confidence can be a barrier to making the most of life and enjoying the moment. If you are hesitant in your ability to achieve something, you may never start it. Low self esteem casts a negative shadow on your opinion of yourself. Even if you do things you have a low opinion of what you have done, and get no pleasure from achievement.

Looking back over the past year, or even the past week, its by doing things and stretching myself that I feel I have made the most of my days. Or as the quote from Steve Pavlina says, I would live it the same way if allowed to repeat it. But, to use another cliche, life is not a rehearsal – there is no replay button. Moreover there is no erase and record again facility!

I finish today, and this year, with a question I have recently read on FreetheDiva:-

A bank credits your account each morning with £86,400. It carries over no balance to tomorrow. Every evening you lose the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? (I converted the $ to £ as the pound needs all the help it can get at the moment!)

Well most people would withdraw every penny they could before they disappeared, and invest them as best they could. Yet everyday we are credited with 86,400 seconds, which disappear when the day is over. Most of us squander those seconds, let them slip by as if we have a limitless supply. Remember, if you fail to “invest” them, its your loss.

I wish you all the best for 2009 – make the most of all 365 days.

Top photo exfordy and bottom photo sydneywalker on Flickr

Zentastic January 1, 2009 at 3:04 am

Thank you for this post. I’m going to Stumble this, because it’s a beautifully written reminder of something I try to do myself – that is, live in a way that minimizes the things I’ll regret.

Zentastics last blog post..7 Tips For Walking With Confidence

Lindsay January 1, 2009 at 7:27 am

Ahhh, I love the dog picture. Although my dogs are much more active than that… I could send you one of them bouncing up and down with a “must take a nap, must take a nap” caption. :p

Anyway, I appreciate the thoughtful post and links. I think if we knew we’d get that same money every day, we would indeed squander our chance to use it. And then it’d be gone, and only then would we appreciate it… human nature, perhaps.

Lindsays last blog post..Should You Consider Affiliate Programs? (How to Build Passive Income with Article Sites Pt 7)

nassorn January 1, 2009 at 8:11 am

Ok, I will make every day, the first day of a year.

Happy New Year.

nassorns last blog post..Happy New Year 2009

Maudrey January 2, 2009 at 9:51 am

Wonderful post. I cringe at the thought of how much time I wasted in front of the TV when I was younger. Of course, like you said, there is no replay button. I can only work on not wasting any more time doing inconsequential things now that I am more aware how precious each minute I’m alive is. Thanks for reminding me.

Maudreys last blog post..The Bridal Veil: A Very Important Part of a Chinese Wedding

Maria | Never the Same River Twice January 3, 2009 at 1:27 am

This is a great inspirational post, David.

I have one more happy quote to add to the mix, “You have a limited time to live.” If I recall correctly, the American author Robert Fulghum (the “Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten” guy) had this posted on his bathroom mirror.

Maria | Never the Same River Twices last blog post..Regrets and Resolutions Make Poor Bedfellows

Nathan from New Orleans January 3, 2009 at 3:12 am

This was a very inspirational post and made me think I need to think more about making the most of every day.

Thank you for the words of wisdom.

Nathan

Nathan from New Orleanss last blog post..5 Weight Loss Tips for 2009, 1 at a Time

David January 3, 2009 at 10:44 am

Thank you all for your comments. Yes, its the things we don’t do that we tend to regret – if we are lucky enough to live to a ripe old age and look back, I doubt we’ll be saying “I wish I had spent more time watching TV and worrying!”.
As Maria has added with this new quote, “You have a limited time to live” – make every day count.

Kirk January 5, 2009 at 5:38 pm

that is certainly a great perspective in life to have… as they say, what we have is borrowed time and that it is critical that we make the most out of it…

RaymondBurton January 11, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Jeez, every now and then I read something that lights a fire under my butt. This was one of those times. Time is going to pass until it exists no more and you’re right, once it’s gone it’s gone. How are you going to spend the day… Planning for the future or enjoying the present (a gift).

I’m glad you put this into my thoughts for today.

RaymondBurtons last blog post..The Strangest Secret And Law Of Attraction

David January 21, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Kirk & Ray
Thanks for comments, make the most of today!

Owen January 26, 2009 at 6:21 pm

Reminds me of Jim Croce’s song about time in a bottle…we never have nough time to do the things….how true

Owens last blog post..Train Horn Kits

mercola January 30, 2009 at 8:25 am

Yet again, very inspirational post. Time to get off the couch, people!

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