What Do You Want To Do Before You Die?

So far, no one has ever lived forever. Death comes for us all. When you are on your death bed, what do you want to have done before you die?

These things can fit into a few broad categories.

First, there are specific activities that you would do. Perhaps you want to experience the thrill that comes from jumping out of a plane. Or running a marathon.

Some people call this a “bucket list” — that is, things you want to do before kicking the bucket. Do you have such a list? What is on it? How long a list is it?

You have direct control over this list, of course, both what items get added as well as which tasks get performed.

A second category are things you would experience, but not necessarily do yourself. You might hope to see a child get married. Or have your favorite sports team win a championship. Or experience the first human on Mars.

Obviously, you have much less control over these events. The main thing you can do is probably to live long enough to increase the odds that these things will happen before you die.

Another category includes generalities. Perhaps you hope to leave a lasting legacy to future generations. Or be remembered fondly by your friends and family. You might want to embody a particular trait, like generosity or punctuality.

You have some control over these outcomes. However, your desires and reality may not always agree. Maybe you want to be generous, but you simply don’t have the means to do so.

Have you given any thought to how you want the rest of your finite time to play out? What do you want to do before you die? What are you doing to make these hopes come to pass?

Related questions: How do you define success? How do you set priorities? Why are people afraid of death? What is your favorite experience? What book do you mean to read but haven’t?

What Are Your Values?

Our values help define us as individuals. They also help to guide us in making decisions that effect our lives.

Money plays an important role in our lives. You need money to buy food and shelter, not to mention recreational items.

And yet, most people would not list “money” as a value. If you don’t go to the effort of consciously listing what your values are, it can be all too easy to let money be the primary driving force in our lives.

So if, for example, farmers’ rights are important to you, you might spend more money on fair trade food items at the grocery store. If you are worried about single-use plastics, you might go to the extra effort to bring reusable containers to a restaurant if you have leftovers.

Having stated values can make it easier to make a decision, if one of the choices aligns with your values more than another.

Of course, thriftiness might well be a value of yours. That’s completely understandable, as money is a concern for most of us. However, even then it can be helpful to have that value stated explicitly.

Oftentimes, businesses are encouraged to make a list of company values, and distribute those among the company employees, so everyone knows what they are or should be working toward. The same thing is true of individuals or of households.

What are your values? Have you given any thought to them? How did you decide which ones would be most important to you? Do you discuss these values with others? And how do you handle a difference in values with friends, family members, co-workers, or neighbors?

Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose in life? How do you define success? What is important? How do you set priorities? What gives you purpose?

How Can You Take Joy From Joyless Tasks?

Every day, we are faced with things we don’t want to do. Washing the dishes. Shopping for groceries. Doing laundry. Preparing for a work presentation.

We do these things because they need to be done in order for the rest of our life to go smoothly. The dishes need to be washed so that there are clean dishes to eat off of later, and so that there aren’t dirty dishes in the sink. We do laundry so that we have clean clothes to wear. In order to get that raise, we prepare the presentation.

The you in the present does these things so that the you of the future will have a better life.

But the fact that we are doing things that are done due to necessity and not because you actually enjoy them means that life is filled with drudge work. These tasks don’t bring you happiness. They don’t bring you joy. But they have to be done.

How can we make these mundane, unpleasant tasks ones we actually enjoy? What makes a boring moment a pleasant one? How can we get the most out of life, and appreciate all that we do, even things that are otherwise dreary? How can you take joy from joyless tasks?

Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose in life? How can we maintain wonder? How can we appreciate life more? What are you doing to make the world a better place?

What Is Uncomfortable But Rewarding?

There are a number of things in life that we might find uncomfortable. Discomfort can be found all around us, in both our personal and professional lives.

These can range from something relatively innocuous (say, an itchy sweater) to something more serious (like an inappropriate joke at work). For the most part, we experience discomfort for a reason. Typically, it is an indication that something is wrong.

Sometimes, however, a feeling of discomfort can be prelude to an improvement of some sort. Most people like things that are stable, and events or people that upset that stability, even in the process of making an improvement, can be disruptive. Change is uncomfortable.

Over the last decade or so, disruption has even become a buzzword in the business (and tech) world. AirBNB has disrupted the hotel industry. Uber and Lyft have disrupted the taxi industry. Used in this way, the word “disruption” suggests a change introduced that may cause chaos to an established industry or service, but ultimately leads to a better product for the consumer.

What are some other examples of something that starts out being awkward or difficult, but ultimately lead to positive change or growth? What is uncomfortable but rewarding? How can we tell “positive” discomfort from the “negative”?

Related questions: When is a lie justified? When is it useful to fail? Why do we put up with unhappiness? When is doubt helpful?