notches marked on the blackboard


If you were to die tomorrow, be honest, would you say you have spent your time on earth living or surviving? 

In other words, would you feel happy and fulfilled about how you lived, or regretful because you didn’t really make the most out of your life?

These are questions that sometimes I ask myself to keep me posted on how I am leading my existence on earth.

I really believe that, if we keep doing the same repetitive things day in, day out, we are doomed to fall into a survival mode, an auto-pilot system that gets in the way of our personal development.

For me, SURVIVING means doing the bare minimum just to get by, to get to the end of the day regardless of whether I am happy or not.

On the contrary, LIVING means taking risks, stepping out of my comfort zone, striving for excellence and personal development.

As a result, I'll be able to create a better lifestyle. 

In a nutshell, in my opinion, LIVING means thriving, being the author and main character of my life. 

“When you are just EXISTING, life happens to you… and you manage; when you are truly LIVING, you happen to life… and you lead”. - Steve Maraboli

There are so many opportunities and things that life offers, yet, because we're stuck in our survival mode, in our comfort zone, we miss out on the possibility to thrive and truly live life on our own terms. 

Let me clarify what I said above through the following enlightening story.


Old master and farmer cartoon

Once upon a time, there was an old master who was known for his wisdom and enlightening advice.

One day he went on a meditation trip.

After traveling through forests and mountains without meeting anyone, at last he came across a ramshackle hut.

Seeing there were two goats in the surrounding meadow, he assumed that somebody inhabited the place.

Since he had almost run out of his provisions and felt tired for all the distance he had already covered, he decided to ask for some food and a place where to spend the night and recover.

The hut was inhabited by a poor couple and their young child who warmly welcomed the stranger and invited him to have lunch with them.

They shared some goat cheese, a loaf of bread, and some seeds with the old master.

Even though it was not the best food he had tasted, the old man was grateful for the family’s generosity.

He asked the breadwinner: “How do you get along in life”?

“Well, we rely on our two goats!

They give us milk and cheese that I can exchange for some bread and seeds, so we can survive”, the farmer told him while his wife got the couch ready for the old man to sleep on it.

The following morning, while they were having milk, some cheese, and a few left-over slices of bread, the old man said: “I spent the whole night thinking about how I could reciprocate for your kindness and I came up with an idea.

Here’s some advice that will change your life forever: Kill the two goats!”, and he left the puzzled couple and their young child, wishing them all the best before carrying on with his trip.

The confused couple wondered: “How could we ever survive without our goats?”

They were scared to death by the very idea of killing what had always allowed them to survive.

But after hesitating for a while, they decided to take a leap of faith and listen to the master’s advice, so they slaughtered the two goats.

One year went by and the old man was on another meditation trip and he decided to visit and check the friendly family that had hosted him the year before. 

But, instead of finding a ramshackle hut, he found a farm with a barn and a dozen goats.

Horses, cows, and chickens were grazing and running in the meadow.

When the old wise man got close to the place, the breadwinner recognized him and invited him to celebrate his family’s life transformation.

The couple recounted how their life had completely changed thanks to the master’s advice.

“After slaughtering the two goats I went to the market where I met some new people.

Through my new connections, new opportunities showed up which helped me to improve our life.

The two goats had allowed us to somehow survive for many years, but now we are finally living”, the breadwinner said.

He went on: ”I’ve also been able to send my child to the best possible school, and all this has been possible thanks to your enlightening advice”.

After listening to their story the old man said: “You see, you were held back from living a fulfilling life because you had always relied on what you knew.

You were just living the same routine over and over again!

In doing so, you ruled out the opportunities that only come when you take different paths when you step out into the unknown, the only place where the magic happens”. 


If something is providing you with a certain amount of comfort, allowing you to get by - like the two goats in the story - but it’s not enough to let you thrive, be brave, and go past it.

Step out of your comfort zone, there’s much more waiting for you.

As soon as you start getting out of your comfort zone, you become stronger, just like a muscle lifting weights.

You become comfortable in being uncomfortable, and before you realize it, your life changes - like the breadwinner’s - in a way you would never have imagined possible.

At the end of the day what matters is not how long you live, but how you live!

Choosing to thrive pushes you out of your comfort zone; it feels harder than surviving, especially at the beginning.

But, is surviving really that comfortable?

I do not believe so! 

Take control of your life, step out of your comfort zone and you'll change it forever.

Go and tell the girl you have never dared to address how you feel about her, go and start the business you have been thinking about for so long, go and quit that job that makes you feel miserable, go and break up the relationships that don't work.

Create a life that you will be proud of and excited to share with your grandchildren when you’re ready to part this world.

Don’t get to the end of your life feeling regretful because you have survived and wasted your life. 

Set an intention TODAY to live life to the fullest rather than merely survive. 

Go and find something or someone that makes you feel alive, and live the best life you could ever live, the kind of life that - if you were to die tomorrow - you'd be satisfied with.

If this post has been valuable to you, what about sharing it with your friends?

Please, help me wake up as many people as possible to start living rather than surviving.

Since you are a driven person, who wants to constantly improve and reach the next level of your personal development, make sure you check out one of my previous posts, COMFORT ZONE: THE SECRET TO GET OUT OF IT.

You’ll get to know and understand what the two motivating forces that shape every aspect of your life are.

More resources for YOU:

Christian Caliendo
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  1. Wow, a very enlightening and uplifting post!
    A wonderful story and post that really hits many parts of me.

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