8 Warning Signs You Are Wasting Your Life And Don’t Even Realize It

Wasting your life

This article was written by Ivan Chan! Give him a warm welcome to Self Stairway in the comments and let him know you enjoyed his article.

Deep down, you know your life is meant to be something more.

So you can’t help but wonder:

“Is this all there is to look forward to in life?”

At first, it’s just idle curiosity. But over time, that innocent little thought starts nagging — starts making you doubt what you’re doing in life. Just a little at first, and then slowly your doubt spreads. Like a disease, it contaminates all other thoughts and makes you question them too.

No longer are you so sure about what you’re doing, or the choices you’ve made, or where your life is heading.

One moment, you thought you were doing OK in life. And then the next, you are desperately trying to shake this scary thought from your head:

“What if my whole life is a waste?”

Not wasted in the dramatic sense like committing a crime and spending the rest of your life in prison. Instead, it is the insidious wasting of a life that takes place over years with many seemingly small, harmless habits and decisions. I came to realize the process of wasting your life is slow and doesn’t happen overnight, but the results are devastating.

During college, I thought the world was my oyster. I was always pushing my limits to see where I could go next. Run for leadership positions in students’ clubs and win? Check. Get sponsored to go on international conferences for free? Yep. Study and live in Japan? Been there, done that.

Fast-forward a few years, and I had “settled down.” You know, the whole 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, office routine. On top of that, I had my chill-out-after-work-in-front-of-the-TV routine. Sure, I still went out with friends, but I couldn’t help but feel my life was reduced to nothing more than a boring rerun.

Day in and day out, it was the same thing over and over again.

And then it hit me: I’m just “putting in time” now, waiting for something better to happen in life. If that’s not wasting my life, I don’t know what is.

Could the same thing be happening to you? Are you wasting your life?

Most people don’t recognize these “harmless” routines they may have fallen into, so they go about their lives as if nothing bad is happening. But these routines are lethal in their tendency to waste lives if left unchecked. People often don’t realize what’s happening until it’s too late.

So unless you learn to put them into reverse now, you could very well look back on your life with regret.

How to Tell If You Are Wasting Your Life:

  1. “Good enough” has become the new standard. You don’t try hard anymore. You don’t try new things anymore. You are merely content with the status quo.

    Being content with what you have is fine, but make sure you don’t confuse “being content” with “settling for less” because you are too scared/lazy/tired to go for what you want. Life is too short to play small. You don’t want to waste yours.
  1. You think work is the only thing that matters. Most adults spend the majority of their waking hours working. While that may be true, that doesn’t mean your work should consume ALL of your waking hours.

    Spend time with your friends and family. Enjoy your hobbies. Go on a new adventure. Work to live; don’t live to work.
  1. You’re always chasing the latest toy. Can’t live without that latest cell phone, luxury car, or new line of clothes that just came out? We all have weaknesses. But if you’re always chasing after material things, you should ask yourself why.

    Could chasing toys be a reflection of your unhappiness and yearning for something more in life?
  1. Television is your best friend. According to a recent study published by Nielsen, Americans on average spend over 30 hours a week watching TV. That’s over 4 hours a day.

    Maybe you should spend some of that time with friends and loved ones instead. Otherwise, you may very well die alone. Sounds extreme, I know, but it’s your life we’re trying to save from being wasted here.
  1. You often escape into a fantasy world. For a brief time, you get to leave your current existence and experience something else entirely different, but you should never replace living with mere fantasizing. Live your dreams instead.

    Do you even remember what they are? Are you following them now or are you merely living someone else’s dreams?
  1. You always have a reason not to take action. Isn’t it funny how some people say they want something, but never actually take ACTION to make it happen? Maybe it’s saying they want to travel, or get a new job, or find a new boyfriend/girlfriend. But as soon as they say they want something, they sabotage their own plans by giving an endless list of excuses why it wouldn’t work.

    Always remember that inaction gets you nowhere in life except to a place filled with regret.
  1. You often find yourself reliving the past. Ah, the “good old days”. You may have heard your elders use such language. Your elders may not be going on new adventures as often as they did in the past, but what about you?

    Are you really content with spending your waking hours reliving the good old days while others actually go and live new adventures
  1. You let others tell you how to live. Plenty of people will enter your life – well-intentioned or not – who try to tell you how to live your life. Will you listen? Thinking it through would be a good first step for you. It’s your life and you only get one chance to live, so don’t waste it by living dependently on the commands of others.

The Choice Is Yours

What would you regret more? Would it be enjoying life fully or dragging yourself through each day and wasting your life? Reaching for your dreams, or complaining about what could have been but never was? Walking the path that you’ve chosen for yourself, or walking someone else’s path just because you were told?

A life that could have been but never was is effectively a wasted life.

You deserve more so here’s your chance.

No one knows what tomorrow will bring, but you have a choice today. That choice will be something you either look back on fondly, or do so with deep regret in your heart instead.

I, for one, have chosen to live life on my own terms. No more boring reruns. No more self-defeating excuses. No more wasting time.

Today is the start of a new adventure.

What are you waiting for?

Join me!

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Ivan Chan teaches professionals how to make smart money decisions that fit their lifestyles. Unfortunately, it looks like the website he used to run is no longer up.

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125 responses to 8 Warning Signs You Are Wasting Your Life And Don’t Even Realize It

  1. Thank you, Ivan, for writing such a wonderful post. Strange though. This was meant to go live three and a half hours ago but WordPress gave me an error I’ve never seen before. It gave me a “Missed Schedule” message so I had to publish this manually when I woke up.

    • Thanks, Vincent! I’m really glad you gave me a chance to write for you! LOL, that is strange (with the scheduling thing). I’m glad you caught it!

  2. Awesome post, Ivan!

    The intro really spoke to me, though I can identify with some of the 8 points (certainly not the TV one, thank goodness!)

    Sometimes I wonder what I’m really working towards, I forget about my long term visions. It’s easy to wait for things to happen, but we all know that things don’t ‘just’ happen. Putting in consistent effort, 110%, allows things to happen.


    • Thanks, Sam! I’m glad you liked it!

      You’re absolutely right that it’s easy to get complacent sometimes and wait for things to happen. We all do it. And that’s OK. What’s important is that we reflect on what we’re doing every now and then, and correct course as necessary.

      Life changes. Long-term plans change. Our goals change. It’s OK if you aren’t sure what you’re working towards today. Keep searching and reflecting. We are have our own paths to travel. You’ll find yours someday.

    • It’s definitely not easy, Sam! I’m struggling to be consistent while I’m in Cali for my month+ long vacation.

  3. Ivan, what a great post. Until six or so years ago, I was guilty of many items on your list including making excuses not to take action and letting others dictate how I live. Now that I have starting taking action and living a life I love, I never wake up sad nor do I feel like I am wasting my life. I wish that for everyone, and I’m glad you’re spreading the message!

    • That is awesome, Tammy! Glad you and CJ are just living life with enjoyment. 🙂

    • Thanks, Tammy! It’s great to hear that you’re living life on your own terms. You know you must be doing something right if you don’t regret waking up each morning!

      Just like you, I know how frustrating it can be to feel like your life is a waste. It’s not a fun feeling to wake up to. Fortunately, I am now making an effort to do something with my life (which is where my business/blog comes in).

      I’m glad to hear you’re taking charge of your life as well. Keep it up!

  4. Great post Ivan! I think the true danger in these points is that they enter your life very innocuously. For most people, myself inlcuded, the transition from passionate youth to adult robot is slow and subtle. In the end you’re so convinced that there really is no other way to live, that this is not just normal but a fine way to pass your limited time on Earth. The good news is that we can wake up to this, anks for spreading the good word!

    • Thanks, Jeff! You’ve hit the nail right on the head.

      When we’re in school, a lot of us (me included) probably thought we would NEVER become one of those middle-aged robots you’ve mentioned. Fast-forward 10 years, and here we are among their ranks!

      The saddest part is that some people, after doing this for years, simply resign themselves to such boring and meaningless lives because they think there’s no other way.

      But there IS another way. All it takes is for us to continually reflect and ask ourselves if this is really what we should be doing with our lives. After all, simply “passing time” is a terrible waste of a life!

  5. Perspective often gives us unexpected feelings about our actions. Perhaps we should be less harsh on ourselves, as you point out.

  6. But Friend how to get rid from the past? and living in the fantasy world about what could have happened? :'(
    These two are the biggest problems for me to be honest. I hope you write some inspiring post about it as well.

    • For your first question, it is about a change of mindset that is vital. You don’t want to get rid of the past no matter how tragic. There’s no point in it because in all honesty, things will always resurface. What you learn to do over time is accept the past and look at it from another angle.

      Figure out if these events in your past shaped you today. For example, just last night a friend of mine made a comment “Thank God you did not get with ____.” You know what? My friend is right. It would have ended very poorly for me if I continued down that road, but I do not ever wish that what little that did occur be erased forever.

      Why? It is because these events shaped me and taught me what to avoid in the future. It also taught me resilience. I used to look back on those days with angry eyes, but now all I see is growth.

      As for your second question, these fantasy scenarios we run through our head can be devastating. There’s no magic formula to removing them all from your head.

      What works for me is to remember that fantasizing about things is always nice, but what is even better is to get out there and take action. Take steps to get yourself closer to what you want whether it is what you want now or perhaps something that may come along in the future.

      • Thank you mate..
        Surely, Things are the way you wrote but still i ill want you to write something like this ” How to get rid of XZY ” etc
        Believe you me there are millions out there who dont get to read what you wrote and maybe title may attract them

    • With your first question, it really helps to think of your past as a learning experience (as Vincent has suggested), and not something that you should get rid of.

      Now I admit: that’s a lot easier said than done. Try what Vincent has suggested. If that’s too hard, then just let things be for a while. Sometimes we just need time to let our emotions settle down before we are ready to deal with it. That’s OK.

      As for your second question, I agree with Vincent that there’s no easy shortcut. It sounds like you’re dreaming about what COULD have been (but never was) – is that right? If that’s the case, then honestly ask yourself this: knowing what you knew back then, did you choose the BEST decision/action you could have chosen?

      If the answer is no, then see how you can learn from the experience so you can choose better next time. If the answer is yes, then you’ve already done the best you can do. Take comfort in your best effort, and try to move on.

  7. Great post, Ivan. I have felt this way before, but even with the routine I must keep to do what’s best for my daughter, I’m able to break out. We can live with a balance of routine and adventure. Your list is good. I rarely watch TV. I do escape into fantasies, but do it when I write song or fiction. It’s a productive part of my overall balance. Taking walks, short trips, and vacations does wonders.

    • Thanks, Dan! Keeping a balance is indeed the key, and it is possible for everyone. It’s just not necessarily easy, and there isn’t a universal formula that works for everyone. It’s up to each of us to find it ourselves.

      Great point on how and when to use fantasies to enrich your life!

  8. Nice. This reminds me of the quote I saw recently that really made me think: If you want to be interesting, be interestED. It’s easy to stop looking for new things – get out there and discover!

    • That’s true, Amy. People love others who know how to listen because who doesn’t like talking about themselves? Active listening is a skill that is so important yet many people lack such an essential tool. The ability to listen in itself is a valuable and interesting trait.

    • So true, Amy! Indeed, the best way to have something interesting happen in our lives is to put ourselves out there. You may just experience something new and unforgettable if you dare to try!

  9. Great post Ivan Chan! Living a significant and fulfilled life is about living intentionally. Finding and making daily steps toward our purpose and dreams. While avoiding some of the roadblocks you mentioned.

  10. A great article to remind me to be alert to the routines that bind. Life gets busy and I can find myself back into practices that are wasting time.

    • Be mindful of your routines and distinguish between what’s good and bad. There are many routines that were actually beneficial to me that I seem to have lost somewhere along the way. For example, I used to have a morning routine that would energize me for the rest of the day. I haven’t been as faithful to them these days and I can definitely feel the draining.

      • Thanks Vincent, I am going to renew those good practices. As you say you do feel the difference. Enjoy your holidays.

      • I hear you, Vincent. I used to wake up early each morning before going to work to exercise and plan out the day ahead.

        Unfortunately, I’ve been lazy lately which means I end up getting out of bed at the last possible moment. As a result, I definitely feel my days are now more rushed, chaotic, and stressful.

    • Thanks, Karen! I’m happy to hear my article is able to help you at the right time!

      Life does get busy sometimes and before we know it, we can find ourselves taking a step back towards bad habits. It can take 3 – 4 weeks to establish a good habit, but only 3 – 4 days of being off-track before we’re back at square one.

      Personally, I find the best thing to do is to devote some time each week to reflect on what is and is not working in my life. That always seems to be a good reality check for me.

  11. Thats about right. I used to have a huge problem with living in the past and thinking about the good old days. Once I realized it was holding me back I started looking forward to future things.

    • That’s the attitude, Ralph! Living in the past does nothing but hold us back from being in the here and now. I’m happy to hear you’re now looking forward to what’s ahead of you. Good for you!

  12. Ivan, I have to say I love your writing. The way you express your ideas really spoke to me. I always find that our words have a certain power and the apathy was tangible when you described the feeling “what if my whole life is a waste?”

    One of my most detested phrases is “settle down”, as though everything that went before finding a partner or having children was an adventure and it inevitably ended when a family was had. This article reminded me of what I’m striving to achieve in my life (and made me proud that I’m a striver at all!) Thank you for sharing.

    • Thank you, Kris!

      The phrase “settle down” gives me the willies too. It’s like someone has lived a good life and they are now ready to stop living. Well, we stop living only because we choose to do so.

      I’m excited to hear from people like you who are still striving, still living life to the fullest. I’m proud of you for being a “striver”! Keep it up!

    • Ah, settle down. I never quite understood that. Why do people look at life as a large adventure that halts the moment you find someone you love? Strange.

      I’m sure it does take a lot more work to make life fun when you make a family of your own, but it certainly isn’t the end of your life. But what do I know? I’m just a kid. 🙂

  13. I can’t believe I forgot to mention this when you first wrote this, Ivan. A great way to measure your life and aspire to make it greater is to think if everything you’ve done up until this point is worth writing an autobiography on. Can your life up to this point last 30 chapters of an autobiography?

    • Wow, that’s a very powerful and concrete way of looking at your life, Vincent. I love it! My life isn’t quite autobiographic-worthy yet, so I’ve still got some work to do. 🙂

    • Not everyone has the ability to live a life worthy of an interesting autobiography. To assume so would be setting some people up for a life of discontent. Others have little or no tools for self-actualization. Teaching people to be their best selves and be content with that achievement no matter how humble that may be is a far better philosophy than striving for unrealistic and unattainable goals. There will always be greater and lesser persons than oneself.

  14. Hey, Ivan, that was a really good post. I particularly liked this line: “I came to realize the process of wasting your life is slow and doesn’t happen overnight, but the results are devastating.”

    I’ve experienced this myself. It took me many years to finally focus and take action on work that brings me joy. No money (yet) but certainly joy and that’s worth a brick of solid gold.

    Ree ~ I blog at EscapingDodge.com

    • Thanks, Ree! I’m excited to hear you’re finally taking steps towards doing what you’re meant to do!

      This process does take time and it’s not easy, so you should give yourself a pat on the back for that. As for the no-money-yet part, I’m sure it will come soon.

      In the mean time, remember to savor the journey of doing what brings you joy.

  15. Now you really have to read my book, Ivan 😉 it’s not directly related, but it DEFINITELY touches on this!!!

    • Amanda! Great to see you here!

      Yes, put me down on your waiting/sign-out list for your book, if you haven’t done so already! 🙂

  16. My name is Claudia and I recently came across this site and it caught my eye. I was able to relate to a lot of your readers issues. I on the other hand have a few issues I would love to get opinions on. Brief history, I’m 31 yrs old and have been working , networking, going out, school , marathons, and been active all my life. I recently got into a relationship about a year ago and fell head over heels. He’s my ideal man and I feel very blessed to have him, but things between us have been very bumpy and have gotten worst. He got me out of work a month into our relationship because he wanted to take care of me. I jumped into it no questions asked because it felt like a fairy tale being taken care of not realizing that I was slowly going to loose myself and my identity in my relationship. I no longer socialize outside my relationship , I don’t see my friends, my family , I’m home alone most of the time with no motivation to do anything anymore. I don’t even run my 5 miles daily like I used to. One of our issues has been about my ” eye wandering” he tells me I have this vibe and look towards men that’s inviting and has caused problems. I know a lot of it has to deal with his insecurities and we keep going in circle about it to the point that I have caught myself a few times daydreaming or even looking around unconsciously . I will never cheat on him , but I know looking is just as hurtful. I’ve realized that I’m bored with my life and I’m depressed a lot. I allowed him to take control of my life and I feel lost. I love him and he loves me but I really feel I’ve lost my identity and I’m trying to regain it without hurting him or losing him. He fears me cheating because of the eye wondering and the trust. Which I can’t blame him but I realized I can’t force his trust and respect unless, I have it for myself. I lost my passion for life and I don’t make myself happy anymore. How can I make him happy when I’m not?

    • Hi Claudia,

      Keep in mind this is my own personal opinion but I believe you’ve got to do what’s best for you, not just him in this situation. It sounds like you’re in a miserable position caused by him somehow. Why is it that your motivation is gone and you no longer socialize? Does he not allow you to? Did you move away somewhere isolated?

    • Hey Claudia,

      I’m in the same position and I’m the same age as you are. I’ve found that the best thing is to force yourself to socialise, at least at first. Then start going back into the job search. If you don’t want to work, it’s important that you socialise, this will start to get your sense of normalcy back, and may help you to jumpstart your exercising. I also used to run and no longer do. I also suffer from depression and know what it’s like to lose interest in just about everything that used to matter to you. The best way is to just start. I recently moved country to an entirely new place with my partner. I wasn’t afraid, I just jumped in. We knew no one. After the first two months of lonliness, no work on my end, and no friends, I forced myself out the door. We no know tons of awesome people, and I even got work from it. I’m not a glowing ray of light every day, but things are better than before. I see it all as stepping stones to the next thing. If for whatever reason your boyfriend doesn’t like the idea of you making moves, as difficult and as scary as it is, I highly recommend that you consider taking time apart from him, for your own mental health. I would also recommend that you consider seeing a therapist for the additional support.

  17. AJ – I liked what you wrote, that is until you wrote “Work to live, don’t live to work.’ It seems like a contradiction, because it means just settling (which you said not to do) for any old just so you can earn enough to live. If you live to work, it can mean doing great things that also happen to earn you a living. It means not being lazy and striving to do what you really want to do (a career).

  18. I’m a 47 year old man who went to college but has no career or even a family. Is it too late for me?

  19. Wow it just hit me today that I am wasting my life. Found this page through google and I have to say it’s spot on. It’s so weird that I haven’t noticed it before. The point you mention are recognizable. I definitly hide away in television and fantasy worlds and the what if past reliving stuff. Especially the first one “good enough has become the new standard” hit me. I always used to strive for the best and be the best at anything I’d do and find new things to do and now I just don’t care anymore, good is good enough. Thanks for writing this. It really helped me realise I need to change some things.

  20. Thank you for this encouraging article. I am in a slump at this point in my life and feel I don’t know where to go. I have what appears on the outside to be a good life but somehow on the inside things don’t match up. I want more out of life than this “Re-run” like you called it. But, the nagging question remains “what do I do?” I do appreciate your perspective. You have helped me to see I am not the only one out there that wants more and I don’t have to feel selfish, insecure, down on myself for it.

  21. It’s because of people saying to stop watching TV that I’m worrying in the first place! I’ve wasted years of my life on the internet reading people telling me what to do. Very seldom have I watched a TV show if I don’t like it. Piss off. This is typical of the so-called advice on the internet. Fuck interactivity. Bring back the simple pages that only gave you the useful information. At least that’s alright for kids to look at.

  22. OMG. This article hits the Bulls Eye….right on spot….Thankyou so much….

    • Hi Ivan, thank you for your article. I enjoyed reading it and found it whilst I was lost in cyberspace. Unfortunately, I don’t want to be a ‘woe is me’ type, because I’ve found from experience that people who don’t complain and just get on with it, are the people that most of us aspire to be. I probably have become a cynic over the years and have also developed a strong skepticism towards most ‘self-help’ books and articles out there. Finding the right ingredients and recipe differs hugely from person to person. Some of us may never get it right and some of us may have very few flops throughout our lives, if any. One chap here (Ron) asked a very good question: “What do I do?” ….. Well, I think this is a brilliant question that many take for granted. It seems like a simple question with a simple answer, but in reality, this is an extremely complex question and there are no absolute right or wrong answers to it. I don’t even think that many people out there would be in a position to answer it effectively without truly knowing this person. Even then, knowing the person still doesn’t provide one with a magic wand that can make it all better. In 2012, my brother took his life and this was cataclysmic for me and for my family. What I have learnt from this ghastly experience is that life has no special and magic recipes guaranteed to make things right or to miraculously give one happiness. I’m now in my forties and have come across some people who appear to have very little, yet are happy. On the other hand, I’ve also come across some people who appear to have so much, yet are miserable. So, what is it that truly creates happiness? Well, even when we have the answer to this question, putting it into practice is a very different story. This leads me to another question, can we realistically achieve whatever it is that will truly make us happy? A person that is waiting for a heart transplant might yearn for the day that this can happen, but in reality this day may never come. Another person may dream of being financially wealthy and this day may never happen for them however hard they try to bring this about. Does working hard and striving to achieve a dream always equal happiness and success? I’m not suggesting that one should not try or give up on your dreams, but rather get to know realistically what you can and definitely can’t change. We cannot ignore the fact that we live in a world that revolves around survival and that we have basic human needs that have to be met. Sometimes, we have to do things that we do not like, because we will die or suffer even more if we don’t. This postmodernist society has created the ideology that we can achieve anything that we set our minds to and that we create our world. This can be a very dangerous ideology, because we are ignoring the fact that we have to interact with others on this planet and that our environment always impacts on us too. It is not just about YOU, it is about WE. How do we create some sort of balance between the two? I’m married and cannot just think about what makes ME happy, I have to also consider my spouse and my family too. Immediately, one might assume that I’m heterosexual with children from such a statement?? No, I’m gay with no children. My spouse is someone of the same sex and my family includes my siblings, parents, husband, in-laws, nieces, nephews, cousins, etc… I do agree with your article, Ivan. I’ve tried many different and adventurous things in my life and have also pursued dreams. However, there does come a time when all that you seek is inner peace. Sometimes you realize that certain things are just dreams and certain things can never be. This does not have to be a bad thing at all and can actually be embraced. How can we make the most of what we’ve got?

  23. I could tell you a real story of a wasted life. I grew up in a conflict zone which in itself was never a good start but damn I wasted so much time. I only wish I had read this 20 years ago.

  24. the following was very annoying: ‘or you might die alone’. Uh, we all die alone. All of us. You die, you die alone, only you die, and then your body is gone and done with. The soul moves on without the body. we ALL die alone. Also, ‘family and friends’ are also ‘material’. Anything worldly is material and EVERYONE is temporary and comes to an end. How depressing.

  25. what if you don’t have any friends or anyone to hang out with ? then TV, Internet becomes your life because nothing else is available

    • Or you could just go out and make some friends -.- not to be harsh but everybody has something in common with someone. Even if its just the fact that you are of the same gender or species

  26. I am still relatively young but I am throwing away the perks of life I see myself going nowhere now and I have lost hope how do I prevent a robot like life.

  27. After my recent long term relationship breakup, I’ve decided not to cultivate anymore relationships of any kind. I have absolutely no interest in meeting or associating with new people. I have cut out most of my family & current associations. I see no need to go through life giving of oneself to people, trying to foster honesty & loyalty only to have deceit and fraud returned without regard. I will practice complete avoidance. I’m in my 50’s so I’ve experienced alot of the “lessons” that life gives you and now I choose not to go through anymore. While it might get lonely at times, ultimately I’m responsible for my own happiness and my way of ensuring I don’t get hurt is to block the possibilities.

  28. Thanks for posting this. I am truly wasting my life. I’m only 20 and I work about 70 he’s a week.

  29. I feel so bad even the people comenting feel like succesful people. thanks for your post. i guess life is about acting, about doing. sometimes i dont even know where to start. i will meditate about that.

  30. Thanks Ivan For this article.
    After reading this article, I realize myself. Seriously it change my point of view towards life.

  31. Thank you for this encouraging article. I am in a slump at this point in my life and feel I don’t know where to go. I have what appears on the outside to be a good life but somehow on the inside things don’t match up. I want more out of life than this “Re-run” like you called it. But, the nagging question remains “what do I do?” I do appreciate your perspective. You have helped me to see I am not the only one out there that wants more and I don’t have to feel selfish, insecure, down on myself for it.

  32. Hi Ivan,

    I love your article. I agree 100% with you.
    I believe the problem starts at young age, our Education.

    We are told to go to school to get good jobs.
    Instead, what if we were told to follow our dream and our passion.
    What if when we were young someone told us to figure out what is the passion inside of us that will drive us to become the very best we can be.

    We are too much in ” Fit in This Mold and you should be fine”

  33. I can say that 6 out of these 8 signs applicable to me. all of this wasting time is because of my job which gives me an excellent salary but no social life.

  34. I definitely didn’t feel I’m wasting my life until after I read this article. I was just curious what I would find if I googled “am I wasting my life”

    After reading this article I realized I’m doing a good job not wasting my life half of my day but the other half I could be doing so much more.

    Thanks for sharing this

  35. Just to say thank you.
    Not easy. But we sure will do this.

  36. That’s all wrong. The only sign that you’re wasting your life is that you value your life on other people posts.

  37. I hate thinking about ‘wasting a life’ etc. It makes me feel guilty, but at the same time, I don’t know how to fix it. I think we are forced to waste our lives in a sense.
    Unless you happen to be born into EXTREME wealth where everyday is one big fun-filled dream, then it’s kind of inevitable.

    Most of us have to work for 8 hours per day, 5-6 days per week. I consider that a huge waste of life!

    Sometimes I think, ‘man, I’m wasting my life. I’m still fairly young, if I could do anything right now what would it be’. In my case it would be to go out and have sex with loads stunning girls (not prostitutes!).
    However, I don’t look like Brad Pitt and i’m not famous, so it’s not gonna happen!
    Or maybe it’s to land an amazingly well paid job, but i’m simply not very intelligent and I know i’m destined for a life of minimum wage.
    Or maybe it would be to have lots of crazy fun everyday parties, waterskiing with friends, BBQ’s, nightclubs etc etc, but you’d need to be very rich to live such a lifestyle.
    Simply put, I think it’s an unrealistic idea to NOT waste our lives!

  38. I’m 60 years old… I completed a master’s degree in my early 30s, but then I got married and had a couple of kids and couldn’t afford to continue my schooling because I had to work to support my family. I finally went back to school in my 50s and just finished a doctorate but I feel like it’s now too late to do anything with it. I didn’t keep up with my skills all those years and they have eroded. I don’t have much of a professional network. I thought that once I earned my doctorate that everything would fall magically into place but I now feel like I wasted many years while I was just working. I always thought that I’d have time but now I realize that I don’t. Is there any hope of me having any type of academic, faculty or research career at this point in my life??

    • I feel sorry for you. That was not a good move to get a doctorate and expect to get enything from it with out researching that first. I hope you enjoyed doing the doctorate? Live is a mystery. We all have to find meaning in it our own way. Wish I kniew the answer.Did the doctorate actually give you some knowledge? useful knowledge i mean. Could you share that knowlege with others?? In the end it is who we are not what we do though.

  39. This article is superb…Life counts slowly..The part that touched me most is “Dont live to work but work to live”..i stay with my uncle and i work 7 to 6 monday to friday..am i wasting my life?

  40. Hi Ivan,

    Just read your stuff on life wasting away. My life is wasting away. What I need is someone who can SHOW ME what to do. Did you get that? Not tell me, but SHOW ME how it is done. I know what I want. I’ve always known, but never known how it is done. I crave to travel. Go to every country in the world and then do it all again. Take my girlfriend with me and some camera gear. ( into photography )

    You reckon know one can know what tomorrow will bring. I don’t agree. I know what tomorrow will bring. The same old rubbish I had today. How do I know that? Because I don’t have the money to change anything. Money will bring me alive!! All I need is one man or women to SHOW ME how it is done. Also believe in fate and destiny. Lack of cash is one problem, but fate is another. I have to live the life I do and nothing and no one can stop it. Unless you SHOW me how. It’s no good reading selfhelp books or websites that claim to be the site that can help. You need to SHOW ME HOW I CAN DO IT. Thank you for your time

  41. Valentino Pereira December 6, 2015 at 3:32 am

    Hi author,
    This is one of the best posts I have read till date. I really felt like my eyes were opened after reading this and I hope to follow what advises apply 🙂

  42. *contented – – and oh thank you..

  43. I wasted 15 minutes of my life reading this. Common sense people! if you think you are wasting your life then you are.

    Time with family other than spending time raising your children properly, is also a waste of time. I can’t think of a productive thing that ever came from it. I believe it’s actually an excuse to waste time if we are talking about more than getting together for Holidays in order to keep in touch.

    I found this because I was looking around trying to understand why people waste their lives on blogs arguing the same points over and over and convincing no one except those who already agreed in the first place. That is probably a form of insanity and a wasting of a life.

    • Yes, most people are looking for a comfortable rut to end their lives in. When the end is getting closer, the comfort of superficial relationships becomes more important in otherwise empty and wasted lives.

  44. nothing makes fucking sense anymore…

  45. Sushruta Arya Batsya May 16, 2016 at 11:12 am

    I think so much about my life .Indeed i have a very conspicuous vision or a planned way to achieve my goals .Even i have that spirit burning inside me but sometimes i feel very low i feel depressed while am spending time being idle but something stops me from studying my mind says start anew study hard from tomorrow . And again it is the same story most of the days .Sometimes i am very confident but again i can’t help . I continuously feel that there are other people who are studying at the time when am sitting idle that they are going to cruise Vincent sir please help . I dunno what to do ?

  46. Thanks for helping me establish that my life is a waste of space.

    Honestly, I just don’t have what it takes to make it in this world. I’ve been a loser/half ass since day 1 and that probably won’t change no matter what I do.

    Better to bite the bullet at 21 than suffer through another 19 years of anguish and then hit a drop at 40.

    But thanks, this has helped me push past any regrets i might have had in killing myself.

  47. Hi Ivan, thanks for your insight and article. I am 61 years old female, have been married 3 times, 15 years in the US military, have traveled all over Europe during 7 years I lived in Germany. I am a nurse I have a wonderful job in Hospice with Veterans. I am remarried #3 to my childhood friend going on 6 years now. We live far away from family in a beautiful home away from hustle and bustle. We both have our health and both have jobs, we just came off a short vacation and are back in the groove of work and the ever paying bills just to be able to make it where we live. I remember a song, forgot who, but says something like working to live that money makes the world go around and if you can do it without money I would like to see you try. Neither one of us is lazy, but we do not have much social life anymore, except with those we work with and that is far and few between. We are just so tired when we do get home from work that we talk for awhile then hit the sack. We have regular check ups at the doctor, try not to watch the news as much, we call it the ‘horror’ because that is what is shown…murder, fire, ISIS, new diseases that will cause harm, mayhem, rarely is there something GOOD ever shown. We live in a paradise in my opinion (at our house) deer, squirrels, bunnies, many types of birds….and we both believe in God and pray everyday for everyone and this world. But for some reason the past couple of days we both feel ‘what is all of this for?’ We feel like we are working just to live … a cycle….sleep, work, eat and do it all over again……it is not that we are unappreciative for what we have….maybe we should move back to family….maybe we should get rid of the house and have only one vehicle….maybe , maybe, maybe…..we are trying to figure it out… Got any ideas?? Thank you for your time and gift of caring for others.

    • Sounds like you have the good problem. I would say, hell yeah, cut down to one vehicle, stay far away from family (but close enough to take a road trip), create a date night, go to lunch with each other or with friends…

      Use that one car (save that money; minimize your expenses) and vacation to somewhere exotic.

      No more being a slave to this machine, time to change the mindset of Work, retire, die.

      Live! Your! Life!

  48. im doing like 75% percent of these things– not because i want to, or because i don’t care to improve my life, but because i’m severely mentally ill. i CAN’T stop myself from “wasting” my life because i’m not functional enough to do otherwise, even though i’m trying as hard as i can to push my way through recovery.
    this, to put it simply, fucking sucks. i want to die almost constantly, not only because of my symptoms but also because i’m so acutely aware that i’m wasting what are supposed to be the “best years” of my life. as much as i want to go out and live my life to the fullest, all i can focus on right now is not killing myself.
    i don’t know where i’m going with this. i guess i’m angry, or something. i’m frustrated that other people can just decide to change their habits and reclaim their lives without being bogged down by the mire of mental illness.
    this article is almost three years old. no one’s going to see this comment. what the fuck am i even trying to accomplish here?

    • I see you brother. I suffer from depression, anxiety, and recently lost everything. I have become soul-less in the past 3 years because shit fell apart. Reading this article though, I’m not ready to move on — I’m not ready for you to move on.

      I don’t know whats next, but do me a solid, buy yourself a nice outfit, clean yourself up, and do something you haven’t done before.

      Just once! And see if it doesn’t help, even the slightest

  49. This is interesting but there is more to it. You cannot become anyone and achieve anything even if you give 100% of your effort to it. You are given certain predispositions and avenues of success, some call it karma, destiny etc doesnt matter. Following advice to cut off everything established and pursue your “dream” maybe detrimental. You may be well served by experimenting when you are young but don’t overdo. You need to stay focused and find your niche however you define it. As you age, you become complacent (30ies are your prime earning years) and sometimes you just want to pass time without hurting anyone including yourself. Its always good to try to be productive but you can’t risk your status quo by pursuing your dreams. Keep learning and experiment on a manageable scale. Key is to figure out what is best for you, and seek advice from those older from you.

    • Naw man. For some of us, the status quo is slowly drowning people. Working 40 or more isn’t cutting it. Being a slave to this shit isn’t living anymore.

      Time to be inspired, time for change. Time to change my mind set to being a person who puts happiness first! That’s living: the struggle, the happiness of it all.

  50. Well when we all get to hell I will be able to let you know what happened but I’m pretty sure we are all fucked

  51. Ì already know my life and marriage was a waste of time. But its way to late to try and renew any thing especially when we’re 70. We’ll keep on ignoring each other and not speaking till one of us crooks. Such is Life!

    • I need you to do something extraordinary today brother. Anything. Go do something, you have never done before, don’t tell anyone, just do it.
      And I’ll do the same.

  52. This was truly eye-opening for me. It really made me look at this path I’ve been following.
    I think I need to change my route. Thank you Ivan Chan.
    Truly a exceptional article!

  53. I turn forty next month.
    My accomplishments include staying at my current job over fifteen years, which provides excellent health insurance and sick leave. This allows me to manage a number of preexisting medical issues, without either going bankrupt or loosing my job. As a human with a less than perfectly functioning body, I consider this a major plus to continuing in my job until retirement.
    Economically, I make enough to pay all the bills and and sock away quite a lot for retirement. The rent is still at a manageable level, and there’s no desire to move—so I’ll be staying here for the next few decades, grateful housing exists near my job I can afford.
    I’ve learned “more” doesn’t make me happier. A larger, “better” apartment would not make me happier than keeping my current one. Dating would not make me happier (having kids would make me miserable). My earlier “dreams” were to be self-sustaining; I accomplished that long ago. There is nothing “more” I desire or fantasize about.

    Not everyone wants, craves or desires endless “more” to be happy. For some of us, the struggle is to keep life managable—which is not the same as living in a comfort zone.

    Is my life wasted?
    1. Am I pursuing experiences or things I neither desire nor fantisize about? No.
    2. Am I independent and self-sustaining? Yes.
    Who decides)

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  56. Oh my god, I can feel the pain so many are enduring. Trying to make it all go away brings many to this post. But ask yourself, have you really wasted your life? My advice, be very carefull how you see yourself in this picture, as research has shown, not everyone gets a the life they wish for. Strive to do your best and you area a winner regardles of your achievenments this time around.

  57. May I have your contact information?

  58. Kill your self for this whole post …if I want to waste my life then let me…I didn’t ask to be born so why should I have to work to live?

  59. Thank you Ivan. Very true sayings. It will going to help me in my life that stop wasting time…and also not to listen what other says or waste ur time depending on their commands.

  60. Wonderful articles, I’m glad I’ve found your link. Of all the 8 points, the only one I’ve felt threatened by numerous times in my 4-decade life has been #8…. If one manages to bypass it/avoid it, convert it to one’s goals — all the other points will easily vanished. “Being yourself” is something you stick to from the beginning, not something you can learn.

  61. I am one of those people who has always lived life to the fullest. I was very gutsy in my younger days albeit I am only 37 now, and it has paid off in spades.
    I have seen the world, adopted many homeless animals from rescues, from shelters, off the streets, I have finished my bucket list by age 32, bought my dream car not once but twice, started my own business 2x, I went back to school as an adult many times, have studied fashion, nutrition, personal training, I compete in bodybuilding, I belong to museums, film clubs, I am vegan, get sad, get depressed, get anxious just like those who feel they have not taken advantage of life but the difference I find comfort in all I have done, all I have accomplished, all I tried and ‘failed’ at cuz it has all lead me to this beautiful place of peace, knowledge and self confidence.
    I whole heartedly encourage those who feel lost and like they are wasting away to get out there. Start small. Go to a museum. Turn off the tv. Join a gym. Take a cooking class. Teach yourself another language. Learn an instrument. By doing these small things, they chain react into bigger things. By learning a language you can then travel somewhere and have a totally awesome and different experience! Or by taking a cooking class you add a whole new hobby to your life. Many things are cheap to do as well. You do not need money to live life to its fullest. I should know. I started at less than 0. Did lots of great stuff on a small budget but always worked hard to make money. Turn your passion into side work and see what happens! All I am saying is be open and put yourself out there. No one is going to laugh at you! In fact by putting yourself out there you may make some of the best friends you ever had!!! This is what happened to me and bodybuilding, I procrastinated for so long cuz I thought for sure I was not good enough, I procrastinated almost 8 years!!! Didn’t step on stage until age 36!!! Took 1st, 2nd and 3rd in my respective categories and met some of the nicest, most genuine and supportive people ever. I thought I was going to be surrounded by narcissists, not the case. I now have this beautiful circle of bodybuilding friends I would have never imagined to be the case. I get to travel to different states to compete, always meeting like minded people. And it all started by just working out to be healthy 🙂
    I only share this because I do care, because I do see soooo many people wasting their short time on this planet. Tv is a waste. Being obsessed with sports is a waste. Get out there!! Go live life!!
    Go for it!!! You deserve better !!!!

  62. what a one-sided post. Having escapism and fantasies are not wrong,
    stuck in front of the TV, playing video games are not wrong.

    Having escapism means you have creativity, you dare to think outside the box.
    Everyone have escapism sometime, either to just pass the time or produce something artistic out of it like books, music and paintings.
    “Reality is for people that lacks imagination” – Hayao Miyazaki

    Secondly, what’s wrong with stuck in front of the TV or playing games, etc.
    It’s a form of entertainment, and doing those activities can even connect us to the people we love, like our children, wife, husband and friends. If it’s your hobby and you spend all day analyzing and admiring the crafts of movies, it is not wrong. One day they might even write and produce their own shows, who knows.

    Thirdly, because we think that something is “good enough” doesn’t mean it is bad. Not everyone is a perfectionist and just because we are satisfied with the work we have made, doesn’t mean that we are lazy because we can do better, it means we have reached the standard we want and we can leave it at that..

    Reliving the past is not wrong, you can even learn from it. You can find your true passions. You don’t always need to move on okay, sometime it is good to just stay ponder and look back. Sometime we are just not ready to take the step forward and that’s totally fine.

    If some people are workaholic and they enjoy working, let them enjoy it. If people like materialistic stuff and they’re able to afford it, let them do it. I find it hypocritical that you say “You Let Others Tell You How To Live” but you are telling us how to live the way you think is ‘correct’. There is no correct way to live, just live the way you want it, stop criticizing the way other live because it is deemed “wasting their life”


  63. What are the best Personal Development audio tracks out there?

  64. This article sucks. Everyone’s life is different, and some people are less ambitious than others. For some people, work is everything. Entertainment can be as simple as watching TV or being outside. You’re “wasting” your life by trying to make others believe that they are wasting theirs.

  65. Is this whole website written by a bot?

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