“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever”.
A basic philosophical question asked by the mankind every now and then is “What is the meaning of life?” Looking at this question through the prism of above brilliant quote by Mahatma Gandhi, one can safely say that life is meant to be lived to the fullest and learn and continuing to learn everyday. Simply put, how would one use his energy if he was to die the next day?
So, how do we live a meaningful life? First, we need good health to be able to accomplish any career path we wish to travel; so choosing healthy foods and proper exercise appear to be necessities. Our bodies do not need much of the food our society offers. Second, our minds can do without much the news and entertainment. They certainly do not make us happier, smarter, healthier, or more creative. Third, we need dreams and personal goals and aspirations that are deeply personal as well as lifelong ambitions. Fourth, we need a comfortable place to live. We are very fortunate to have so many choices where to live and be sheltered. However, living and associating with people who drag us down, have unhealthy lifestyles should be avoided.
You are never too old to learn. If we all stopped learning because we’re going to die someday, we’d all be idiots. As it is, there are too many idiots in this world. It is better to die tomorrow having a little more knowledge than to live another year as an ignorant idiot. Knowledge helps you enjoy life more. Knowledge engages the mind, opens doors to the imagination. The more knowledge you gain, the more fulfilling living becomes. As you live, your thirst for knowledge grows. If you haven’t begun enjoying the moment, thinking there would be many more, you might as well be a mindless drone, whose only purpose is to work so others can enjoy life.
Most people take life for granted and are only worried about worldly possessions. But does it take death itself to have us stop and think and wonder if our life has been meaningful. It is important to continue asking and trying to answer this question because meaning gives our life a purpose. Eventually we are all going to die but finding the meaning of our life reduces our pain and suffering in this world.
Meaning in life gives a person a purpose in life, it motivates people to do something they love. Meaning can be extracted from anything, it can derive from a person’s job, hobby or family and we are free to choose. Meaning can also reduce the suffering we experience in this world. Everything we do in life is for the future result of happiness.
“If happiness is about getting what you want, it appears that meaningfulness is about doing things that express yourself”.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.” pushes people to do things in life they always wanted to do because their life is almost up and “Learn as if you were to live forever.” Learning is not something you get bored of, rather it is something you take in. Gandhi choose the words “die tomorrow” and “live forever” to allow people to pretend there is no tomorrow and that you should do what you always wanted in life and living forever is the opportunity to learn throughout the years you live. You will never run out of things to learn if you were to live forever.
Dr. Mahesh Mangaonkar
(Faculty, Indira School of Business Studies, Pune)