5 Ways to Seize the Day (Carpe Diem)

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carpe diem. seize the day

You have probably seen the 1989 film ‘Dead Poets Society’ which starred Robin Williams—we know some people who have seen the movie dozens of times, and are planning to watch it countless times more—and if you have, maybe the words “Carpe Diem. Seize the day” have been etched on your brain mainly because of these words’ sheer power. The film has struck a nerve with so many people simply because it has resonated with a truth: that we can make our ordinary lives extraordinary by “seizing the day.” And as far as seizing the day is concerned, here are a few proven ways to do so.

1. Take that first small step

There’s an ancient Chinese saying that goes, “the journey of a thousand steps begins with a single one.” No matter how big or small your endeavor is—whether it’s planting beds of flowers on acres of fallow land or building a ship or composing an entire music album of your own songs, each of these “ambitions” begins when you make that tiny step: when you pick up the shovel, say, or begin writing the title of that first song. Everybody starts small, and so should you. And there’s no better way to seize the day (carpe diem) than doing it now, right where you are. As that popular Nike advertising slogan prods us, “just do it.”

2. Let go of the past and welcome the future

When we say seize the day (carpe diem), we do not simply mean grab opportunities that present themselves to you in the present. Seizing the day also means letting go of the past, especially if its powerful negative hold on you is preventing you from growing your wings and taking flight. Obviously, you cannot move forward when your past weighs you down. If you have committed mistakes in your past, accept them as water under the bridge, let them go, and from here on make constructive decisions for your future.

3. If you must move, move now

Stop agonizing over what you could have done or what you could do—go out there and do something. The same goes for things you cannot do anything about—if you cannot change it, let it go, and move on. This is worth repeating because many people make the mistaken assumption that just because you are “concerned” about it, that worrying is tantamount to “doing something.”

4. Meditate to fully prime up your soul

Meditation makes your mind and soul ready for whatever endeavor you want to take on. It is a powerful way to cleanse your mind and heart of all the negative things that may be preventing you from seizing the day (carpe diem). Spending a few minutes each day—in the morning or night—to be alone with yourself in a quiet spot and performing deep breathing techniques can go a long way in helping you meet whatever it is that you want to achieve. You can use positive affirmations to help you mentally focus on your goals, as well as help your mind to let go of the negative things that it still clings on to.

5. Fix your priorities

In the business of seizing opportunities, you’re not supposed to say yes to everything that comes your way. Often, saying no is not only as important as saying yes—it is even more crucial to letting you achieve your goals. Choosing your battles and selecting those closest to your heart—and therefore, allowing you to choose the most doable—is the essence of straightening up your priorities. We all have a limited time (and day, for that matter), and choosing those for which we can do our best is not only smart, but it is also the only way that makes sense.


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