YOLO!! Carpe Diem!
How many times have you heard this lately? It has been proclaimed as the call and response of the millennial generation. While I certainly think there is merit behind taking risks and brushing aside a certain regard for predictability and safety when making decisions, we are missing what I think is the true key to living life to the fullest.
Think about this for a minute. What does living life to the fullest really mean? It’s not the immediate decisions you are making. They are a means to an end.
Deciding to stay out late? Taking that extra shot? Going out on a weeknight. These are the typical representations of the YOLO/live life to the fullest lifestyle.
But really, those are just the decisions we make to get the most experiences out of life as possible. Experiences. That is the bread and butter of life and to me that is what makes a life full or empty. Experiences of substance that offer new and inspiring perspectives.
Sure, staying out till 2 am is going to give you a new perspective on life but I have found that the most rewarding way to garner inspiring experiences and truly live life to the fullest is to adhere to the law of reciprocity.
This sounds like a complicated physics theorem but in reality it’s pretty simple: give, give give and then receive.
To truly live life to the fullest you have to first give and then receive.
Yea, that sounds pretty lame and like a lot of work, but let me tell you from personal experience…it has become the most fulfilling principle of my life and is truly enabling me to live life to the fullest.
To live a fulfilling life that is to its fullest extent, you have to enable others to do so. Opportunities and experiences come from this.
Here are a couple examples of how the law of reciprocity in my life has enabled me to live life to the fullest:
First yacht trip
I ended up on an amazing yacht about 3 years ago after a chance meeting with a well-known Chicago entrepreneur. How did this happen? I offered to help a recent acquaintance with some branding work who in turn introduced me to the yacht experience.
Tutoring in China
While interning in Shanghai in 2010, I offered to help a partner’s son with his English studies. Every weekend I helped his son with no real intentions other than helping him. The result? He introduced me to a new young partner in the firm who in turn invited me on a trip to a lake region. That trip to this day is one of the most memorable of my life.
Helping strategize – -feature on Entrepreneur.com
Back in February, a chance conversation with a local Chicago entrepreneur around Instagram, branding and the like resulted in some great conversations over the of a month or so. The result? This entrepreneur decided to feature us in an article on Entrepreneur.com
Featured Entrepreneur of the week
About a year ago I was chosen as CBS Radio’s Featured Entrepreneur of the week. How did this come about? At a networking event about a year prior, I met a group of local entrepreneurs who run a community group in Chicago. I spent that year getting to know everyone and offering my skillset where possible. The result? I was introduced to a person who introduced me to a person who introduced me to a producer at CBS. This feature was the result.
What’s the takeaway here?
Leverage your skillsets, your network and your knowledge to help others. Do it selflessly and do it for the right reasons because it will lead to personal growth and experiences that are much more rewarding than today’s YOLO lifestyle.