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Existing vs Living

Are you living, or are you merely existing?

Think about that for a second…

Do you feel like you’re just getting by or do you feel a sense of freedom, fulfilment and true happiness within life?

Existing is a trap we easily fall into.

It’s what people might label ‘normality’, it’s what we’re fed by society.

As children we’re told to live our dreams and do what makes us happy, but in adulthood we neglect our passions, follow rules and do what we’re told to do.

But how do we know if we’re merely just existing in life?

More importantly, how can we start living?

“He thought he’d lived through everything. Only now did he realize he’d merely existed.” 

The Difference

To live doesn’t mean your alive.

We’re gifted with life, but we often get caught up in false expectations and forget how to live.

Living life is waking up every morning with purpose. Not rolling out of bed because you have too.

Living life is chasing and fulfilling your dreams doing whatever it takes to get them. Not giving up on them because of excuses.

Living life is being grateful for everything you have. Not feeling unworthy and chasing what you haven’t got.

Living life is embracing change and chasing growth. Not buckling to fear and avoiding change.

Living life is embracing every moment as it comes. Not merely breathing and doing the daily chores.

For me it all comes down to control.

How much control do you have on your life as opposed to how much of your life is being controlled?

Controlled by your emotions, by your ego, by your title, by other peoples opinions of you, by fear.

Living is taking life as it comes, embracing it and doing as much as you can to feel fulfilled.

Existing is a long survival.

Living is choosing happiness, it’s choosing to live.

Existing is you being here physically, but doing what you have to do to get through the day.

How To Start Living

It all starts with you.

Shifting from existing to living comes down to control. Taking responsibility for your life, your happiness and your freedom.

Looking at my journey, the shift from existing to living came after tragedy.

Prior to my Dads suicide I was ready to work my way up the corporate ladder. I had an office job, I was considering university, I was willing to stay in a job I didn’t like in the hunt for higher rewards.

Less than two months after my Dad took his own life I’d left my job, I’d started working on an online business and I started to take more control of my life.

Paul Profile Picture

Was it easy? Heck no.

But tragedy woke me up, it was the beginning of moving from existing to living.

Steve Jobs used to do something powerful every morning…

He’d wake up, look himself in the mirror and ask: “If I was to die today, would I do what I am about to do?”

But for some it might seem impossible to do what they want to do every single day, but if you’re not happy or excited with life at least 80% of the time, you need to change.

You need to take control.

It won’t be instant, but making steps to create more freedom and fulfilment in your life daily is necessary.

Here’s what else could help…

1. Question Yourself

Don’t be afraid to dig deep, to question yourself and ask why. Inside has all the answers, don’t be afraid of discovering them.

2. Do What You Want To Do

We’re often led by others, and we feel bad for doing what makes us happy. The reality of it is our happiness is dictated by ourselves, so do what you want to do and say no to what you don’t want to do.

3. Stop Escaping

You don’t need a vacation when there’s nothing to escape from. Think about it… why spend 50 weeks of your year hating your job, existing and getting by in return of a 2 week relaxing holiday? It just doesn’t make sense.

4. Find Joys In The Little Things

Being grateful is a powerful skill. Finding joys in the little things you already have will stop you from searching for happiness. You have so much to be grateful for.

5. Don’t Seek Approval

Don’t worry about approval from your boss, your partner, your friends or that girl you’ve just met. Seek approval from yourself. Confidence and happiness comes from within, it’s short lived if it comes from someone else.

6. Fuck it.

Honestly, everything you stress about and dwell on could be managed with a simple fuck it. Embrace change, face fear, and often say fuck it to the things you feel like you shouldn’t do.

7. Find Purpose

A life with no meaning is a life not worth living. Find a reason why you want to wake up every morning. With purpose comes motivation, with meaning comes a reason to live.

Move Forward

Being aware that you’re merely existing in life is the first step to change. Then applying any of the above advice will help you start shifting from existing to living.

But personally I believe it all comes down to control.

Being in control of your day, being in control of your emotions, being in control of your life.

Freedom is what we strive for.

In the book Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor E. Frankl said: “Everything can be taken from a man by one thing: The last of a humans freedom – To choose ones attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose ones own way.”

Take more control of your life, decide to live.


Paul McGregor
I share my hard times to inspire your good times. Founder of MFM and soon to be published Author.
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