The Real Reason It’s Dangerous to Wait on Your Dreams

Filed in Finding & Following Your Voice by on August 12, 2014 • views: 631

dream-girl whale fantasyHave you seen the Robert Duvall movie, Get Low?

I’ll leave the discussion of the movie itself to the critics, but one thing struck me as applicable to the idea of listening to your own inner voice.

In one scene, Duvall’s character—an old hermit—is catching up with an ex sweetheart. In looking back over his life, he laments the fact that he didn’t do more with it.

Consumed with guilt over a past transgression, he spent over forty years living in a small cabin at the edge of town, removed from everyone, entirely alone.

I don’t remember his words exactly, but Duvall’s character says something like, “I thought I might travel when I was younger, but I never went anywhere. Been here almost my entire life. But no matter what we do, the world keeps moving underneath us, so we’re never standing still. We’re always moving.”

In other words, no matter what we do with our lives, we’re always moving forward. The clock is always ticking. It may sound morbid, but with every sunrise, we’ve taken another step toward our last day on Earth.

How Many Days Do You Have Left?

Sometimes it helps to put things in very clear terms. How many days do we have left to fulfill our dreams?

According to the World Bank, the average life expectancy of an American today is 78.4 years. Let’s round that off to 78. If you’re 45 years old today, that means you have, roughly, 33 years left, or a little over 12,000 days. If you’re 65 years old, you have 13 years left, or a little over 4,700 days.

Hopefully you’ll get more than the average years. Many do. But no matter how you’re spending them, one thing is certain—every day, you have less time.

What Would You Do If You Had Only 6 Months?

It’s interesting that one of the favored questions in our current culture is, “What would you do if you had only six months left to live?”

You’re probably familiar with the usual answers. They asked the question on, an opinion-gathering site. Here are a few of the responses:

  • “Do everything I have wanted to do all my life.”
  • “I would do everything on my bucket list.”
  • “Try to mend some fences with people in my life.”
  • “Hunt and fish.”
  • “I would do things I don’t have time for.”
  • “I would have the best time of my life.”

The thing that’s strange about this thinking is, we have a limited amount of time left in our lives now, no matter our current age.

Why are we content to live out the rest of it in ways we don’t really like, but given an official deadline, we instantly become motivated to make a change?

“Imagine running in a race that you didn’t know where the finish line was,” writes Simon Sinek at RE: Focus. “You’d be running without knowing how long you have to run. You wouldn’t know how to pace yourself. And at some points, you’d feel like you’re going to be running forever. This is how we live our lives.”

Saving your best days for your last six months is like saying you’ll never experience them, for you can never know when your last six months will be. If you’re looking for an excuse to listen to your inner voice now, I have one for you:

You have six months to live.

You may have more than that. Hopefully you do. Maybe you have twelve months. Maybe you have 240. But have no doubt—it’s a finite number.

Give yourself a limit. It will make things more real. It will show you what’s truly at stake. Then listen to that inner voice, and do what it tells you.


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