Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

Entrepreneurship Requires Living With a Sense of Urgency People who only think about the long term risk running out of time.

By Steve Eakin Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Rosa Images | Getty Images

Why is it that nobody operates with a sense of urgency anymore? Seriously. Why is this? You're going to die. You, me, everyone you know and everyone you'll ever know. Everyone. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow. Maybe in 50 years. Maybe in 80.

Unless you're on death row, nobody knows the exact date and time, but that doesn't change the fact that you're going to die. You're literally borrowing your life from the universe, and it will take it back.

Related: The Joy of Now

On that glorious day in which you took your first breath, you took out your first loan. That breath was, in fact, a loan. The Earth is down one breath in its ledger, and it will settle its debt. One day, you're going to have to give it back.

Certainly by the time you hit puberty, you've realized this fact. (If not, give it a moment to sink in ... )

Truth and consequences

This is a profound realization to have in this life, and yet some people are terrified by it, which is a shame. The truth is this knowledge should be liberating!

It gives you a firm deadline for existence. That's a perfect, if unknowable, timeline by which to guide your everyday actions towards achieving the only things that matter in life.

Everything you do should either: 1.) Make you happy; 2.) Make someone you love happy; and 3.) Make the world a better place. If it doesn't lead to achieving one of those goals, you're probably wasting your limited time.

Deviations from this path can be devastating. A failure to guide your actions to these three goals is effectively punching your soul right in the face.

Money without purpose is meaningless. Ambition without goals is meaningless. Goals that deviate from the only three end results that matter are a waste of time.

Related: The Tim Ferriss Approach to Setting Goals: Rig the Game so You Win

This is why you see some celebrities and millionaires that are beyond miserable. You can work towards a goal and realize it was the wrong one. This can understandably leave one in a state of utter despair.

I believe that on some subconscious level, these "successful" people that are the envy of many are terrified at the prospect of wasting so much time doing stuff they never truly enjoyed to gain possessions that they never truly wanted.

There's still time to pivot.

The funny thing is, until you're six feet under, you've still got a chance to change course. The past is done and written, so there's no benefit to living in it. Even if you wasted time, like we all have, you can still aim to fulfill your life goals.

The main cause for this time-wasting trap is when you focus on what you think you should do, or what other people say you should do.

Don't even worry about what other people think of your goals. If they see them as shallow or ambitious or crazy, that's their problem, not yours. If you want a billion-dollar yacht, or want to sit around watching TV all day, that's on you. If you want to start a company that changes the world, that's your call.

Not everyone will agree with your decisions, and you shouldn't let that bother you. If it makes you happy, makes someone you love happy, or makes the world a better place, you're doing great work.

Related: 7 Steps to Achieving Our Higher-Level Goals

Don't ever wallow in pity over lost time. Focus on the future where you can work to achieve your true life goals every single day.

Think about it for a moment. Deep down, what are your true life goals, what are the steps you need to take to get there, and why aren't you taking steps for it right now? Why not ask that girl (or guy) out? Why don't you take a month to travel around the Caribbean? Why wait to start your own business? Why wait to build that app you've been dreaming about? Why wait to quit that job you hate so much?

Its time to start living with urgency, because your time is limited. Stop living like you're never going to die, only to die anyway with so much left on your personal to-do list.

Live, right now. It's not too late to leave your mark on the world. It's never too late.

Steve Eakin

Founder of Startup Black Belt

Steve Eakin is a speaker, investor, startup advisor and the founder of Startup Black Belt, where he helps tech startups launch, grow and scale.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Business News

Apple iPhone 7 Users May Be Owed a Slice of a $35 Million Settlement — Here's How to Claim Your Share

Previous (and current, no judgment) iPhone 7 users may be entitled to up to $349. The deadline to file a claim is June 3.

Business News

Did OpenAI steal Scarlett Johansson's voice? 5 Critical Lessons for Entrepreneurs in The AI Era

Did OpenAI steal Scarlett Johansson's voice? OpenAI has since paused the "Sky" voice feature, but Johansson argues that this is no coincidence. In response, Johansson delivers a masterclass for entrepreneurs on navigating the AI era successfully.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.


How Corporate Investment Helps Startups Deploy Technology Faster Than Ever

Financial resources, strategic alignment, access to expertise, market validation and operational support make this deployment possible.