The Hard Truths of Life

It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle of day-to-day life. With so much going on in our professional and personal lives, we are so consumed by what is right in front of us. We’re so immersed in what we are doing, and it is as if we are on autopilot. We’re going down a dangerous path when we operate like this. It’s easy for weeks, months, or years to go by where you’re on autopilot, and the moment you stop, you look back and wonder where all that precious time went that you are never going to get back. It’s important to pause from time to time to remind ourselves of the hard truths of life so that we can stop living on autopilot and control where we want to go:

Truth #1:

We will all die, and it might be much sooner than you expect and much less pleasant than you wish. Don’t think anything in your future is guaranteed, not even the next hour.

Truth #2:

Everyone around you, everyone you love or hate, is also going to die, and it also might be sooner than you expect.

Truth #3:

Everything is temporary, whether it be people or possessions. Death will take everything you have accumulated, but things can be taken from you much sooner than that, no matter how hard you worked or how much you love it. It’s yours, but it is also not. It is borrowed, and you must eventually return it, potentially without any advance notice.

Truth #4: 

You can enjoy what you’ve been given (family, friends, success, fame, fortune, possessions), but again, remember it can and will be taken away from you (or you from it). Attaching yourself to it or refusing to let go will only cause you to suffer.

Truth #5: We operate under a logic (e.g., we do good, good will happen to us. We work hard, we will be rewarded), but this logic is false. There may be a logic that exists, but it’s not something we can necessarily comprehend or understand.

Accepting these truths and moving forward:

Acknowledging these truths can be extremely crippling (because you realize how little you control) or extremely liberating (because you realize how little you control). If you find it crippling, you’re riding against (or trying to control) the waves of life. If you find it liberating, you realize that you can’t control the ocean, so instead, you go with the ups and downs of life, accept both the calm and turbulent moments, and learn how to surf and go with the flow.

It can be easy to reject these truths for those who are externally thriving and have fame, fortune, or status because our ego gets in the way. Furthermore, we’re afraid and don’t want to accept that we may lose everything we have. For those struggling, this can provide solace as we remember that our suffering is temporary and that no one is above these laws. Furthermore, we can provide our egos some comfort knowing that the universe operates under a different logic than we are used to, which means that our inability to thrive externally may not be our fault.

Final words… 

As you go about your day, think about these truths. How do they fit into your life? If you’re thriving, don’t attach yourself to this feeling — it will pass. If you’re struggling, don’t lose hope — this too shall pass. We only have a finite amount of time in this world, so be careful what you do with it.