Being alive means making a difference. I meet a lot of people who tell me they are no one special. They don’t really count for much. I beg to differ.

We all have a chance to change the world. In fact, our being here makes the world a slightly different place…no matter what we do and who we are. This isn’t some scientifically-based research finding or a religious dogma of some sort. It is just a fact.

The world spins a little differently because you are here. You can lend another a smile or a hand. You can start an organization to help those less fortunate than yourself. You can ask someone else for help and give their lives purpose by allowing them to help you. You can make a difference in many different ways in the world today. I just think it is a truth worth exploring and reminding ourselves about.

Whatever we do makes a difference. And this is the case every day. I’m a big believer in living in the present. We can ponder the events of yesterday and dream of the happenings of tomorrow but all we really have in life is the moment in front of us. We can do a lot with this moment. Being aware of it is the best way to start.

I recently read a facebook posting from a palliative care nurse…pointing out the five most common views expressed by those who are dying.

One…I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me — and ironically, when we live a life true to ourselves…this becomes the life others expect from us.

Two…I wish I didn’t work so hard – while there is nothing wrong with hard work…play is just as important…maybe more so.

Three…I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings – what shame to have them and not share them.

Four…I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends – this is something we can all do something about before it is too late…try contacting ONE lost friend today.

And, Five….I wish that I had let myself be happier – this is the biggest crime of all….to live a life where we deny ourselves the chance to feel good. It comes down to appreciating the small things sometimes and allowing that appreciation to grow.

These five truths come from people with nothing to lose…and I think we should pay careful attention.

We all know our lives will end. Most of us have no idea when. And, we continually fall into the trap of taking time … taking tomorrow for granted.

The way to avoid this living pitfall is to appreciate today…appreciate right now…and even if times are tough, find a reason to be grateful. It might come from a simple smile from a stranger…then again, your smile to a stranger might be that difference maker. 

Ben Merens is a Motivational Speaker, Content Marketing Manager and former radio talk show host.
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