The phrase “carpe diem” is a Latin phrase that is literally translated as, “pluck the day”. However in English it is better translate as “seize the day”. Used in a variety of ways, “carpe diem” has both a positive and a negative application. On the negative side it describes an attitude or philosophy of life that says, “live for today, do what you want and don’t be concerned about the consequences in the future.” Carpe diem in it’s highest form means, “grab hold of the day you have been given and make the most of it”. I really like that!
The positive application of this phrase is the one I have been inspired by throughout my life. The word “carpe” means to grab hold of, or to grab something by the neck and hold it up. Don’t you just love the word picture that conjures up in your mind? It’s not some wimpy, limp wristed, fear filled thing that is overpowered by hesitancy. No! It’s a bold declaration that says, “ Everything needs to take notice that I am here, I am on this thing and I am giving it my full attention.” It’s a way of living that declares, “I am grabbing this thing by the neck and holding it up for all to see, and I am going to come out of this way better than when I went in.”
Man I love that kind of an attitude when it comes to every part of life, and I mean real, authentic life. It reminds me of a billboard I saw not long ago. There was a muscular military guy in boot camp and he straining to pull himself over an impossibly high wall. The caption underneath it said, “Pain… it’s just weakness leaving your body!” This is the mindset that says, “I will NOT let this situation overcome me, but I will use this situation to my advantage. This difficulty will not define me, it will refine me.” In case you missed it, those who tend to succeed in life understand this aspect of “carpe diem” and walk it out on a daily basis.
So, my question today is going to be right up in your face. I want to know something and your honest answer could be the thing that changes everything. Are you a wimpy whiner who feels life is tough and you are it’s constant victim? You may very well be in a hard situation, or be discouraged. I am not downplaying the pain you might be feeling right now. What I am saying is that you don’t have to let it define you and rule your life. Choose to face it, own it and then grab hold of it by the neck. Look for how you can use this “thing” to become stronger, more aware and more equipped as a person. Once you do that you can move out of your self-imposed, self-centered prison and start to help others.
“Seize The Day”! It’s the only way to really live your life in this fallen, broken, disconnected world. Stand up, look up, get shook up but refuse to give up. Defy the tendency to be ruled by mistakes, or what others have done or not done, said or not said. Begin to captain your own ship and learn how to take things where you want them to go. I was told by a wise old man some time ago, “Bill, if you let others drive, you have no right to complain about where they take you.” I say it’s your time to seize the day, take a risk, grab every issue by the throat and hold them up into the light!
Go live gloriously in the mistakes you will make and learn to enjoy the experience of failure so you can delight in the joy of victory when it finally comes. Refuse the meaningless, undeserved trophies of mediocrity life hands out to everyone. Embrace your magnificent failures, and in the process you will find the pleasure of living the life you always wanted. “Carpe Diem” my friends… anything less is not life at all. Now get out there and go seize the day!