No Sense Friday: "Live Each Day Like Your Last"

If you do, it's only a matter of time until you're right

Gandhi once said:

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

It’s probably one of the most misunderstood quotes ever.

  1. People often only quote the first part and use it as an excuse to party.

  2. When the quote is distorted, for example “live each day like it’s your last,” it takes on a different meaning.

  3. There are many ways to be aware that “you’ll die tomorrow” and we don’t know which one Gandhi actually meant.

If you ask me, it’s more likely Gandhi was talking about the duty of a soldier who knew he might fall in battle the next day, rather than the greedy government official throwing one last party before he gets fired.

See how this quote can split an entire population in half based solely on each person’s perspective on it?

It’s a bit like the Stoics vs. the Epicureans. The Stoics talked about the good life, about discipline, restraint, virtue, and mastering your ego. The Epicureans were more of the drink-gamble-and-be-merry-variety. But both were aware of their mortality.

When he was 17, Steve Jobs came across another version of Gandhi’s quote:

“If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right.”

It impressed him so much that, from then on, he looked into the mirror every day to check in with himself about the big picture he was pursuing.

Not in an Epicurean way, but in a Stoic way.

“If I die tomorrow, is this feature, this product, this idea worth putting out into the world?”

I like that. We’re all mortal, but most of us aren’t constantly stressing about survival. So let’s remember tomorrow. Do something that’s good for us and good for others.

Live our life not so close near one extreme or the other, but in seasons. Like nature does. Tackle big things, but tackle them one day at a time. Don’t get caught up in immediate gratification, which tech now makes so easy to fall for.

Live each day as it comes, but as if the next could be even better.

Because most of the time, despite what Gandhi said, tomorrow will be another day.


PS: Did you know you can like and comment these posts on the archive page? I’d be happy to discuss some of these ideas directly with you and hear your thoughts!

About No Sense Friday: Most people live for Friday. Relaxing on the weekend is fine, but we can’t just waste it away every time. That’s why Friday is the most important day to call out things that make no sense. Because in a way, the concept of ‘Friday’ itself makes no sense.

A good life is lived every day, not just once a week.

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