Oscar Wilde once said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”
It’s a sad, perhaps cynical comment, but it’s also truer than we would like.
I’m not sure I can completely define what it means to live and exist, but let’s try:
The difference is realization, attitude and action. You start by realizing that time is one resource we’ll never get back, so we can’t afford to waste it doing things that won’t better our life. Then have the right attitude towards everything you do, viewing opportunities as a blessing and not another task on your to do list. Action means not wasting your life away watching the latest prime time shows. It means getting out and creating amazing experiences. At the end of your life you won’t remember all of the stuff you got or shows you watched. You’ll remember incredible experiences and times you impacted the lives of others.
Living is working with passion and enthusiasm, existing is turning up everyday and collecting a paycheck.
Living is having clear, meaningful goals to work towards, existing is wandering aimlessly through life.
Living is investing in others, helping to develop them to their full potential, existing is being self-absorbed and suspicious of others’ motives.
Living is leaving yourself vulnerable to love, with all of its highs and lows, existing is putting a wall around your heart that no-one can break through.
Living is understanding that we only get one shot at life, so we had better make the most of it, existing procrastinates, hesitates and squanders the opportunity to make a difference.
“Existing is going through the motions of life with no zeal and feeling you have no control; living means embracing all that this large world has to offer and not being afraid to take chances. The beauty of living is knowing you can always start over and there’s always a chance for something better.”
In the end, think the biggest distinction between living and existing comes from how much control you have over life decisions. Where do you see control coming from? In general, someone who exists feels as if everything is outside of their control while someone living knows they determine the path their life takes.
So, do you live or exist?
Do you have any other examples of living versus existing that you would like to add to our list?