Thursday, May 24, 2012

YOLO Works, 'Til it Doesn't

YOLO.  "You Only Live Once."  Today's ubiquitous battle cry when charging into something you wouldn't normally do.  Applied correctly it leads to a richer, better lived and better examined life.  Applied incorrectly, a license for stupidity and worse.  YOLO, like the Force, can be used for good and evil.  I'll teach you the subtle difference.

GOOD YOLO 1: Make each day, hour and minute of your life count. 
You only get today once.  Live it passionately.  Grow the relationships, knowledge, interests and hobbies you care about.   Much like you should treat every dollar as an investment, minutes of your life.  Don't waste them on things that don't benefit you or others (I'm talking to you, television!).  Don't look ahead to future to the point you ignore and under-appreciate the present.

GOOD YOLO 2: Chart a course to an amazing life.
Set ambitious life goals.  Then, find a way to achieve them.  Right now, write down 10 things you want to accomplish before you die.  Be bold.  Be ridiculous.  Don't let fear or insecurity limit you.  Change your thinking from: "I want to do this, but..."  To, "How can I make this happen?"
And don't just stop at life goals.  Set yearly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals.  Actively try to live the best life possible.  Some goals you will achieve and some you won't.  Either way, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you tried.

GOOD YOLO 3:  Never be afraid to try something positive for fear of failure or rejection.
You only live once.  So go for it!  With most things, you're not going to look back say "I'm glad I didn't," with some exceptions listed below.  YOLO's fatalistic logic trivializes my fears (mostly social).  It convinces me to say yes to invitations I'd otherwise decline, talk to people I'm afraid to talk to, and--with urging and belittlement from my friends--jump from ridiculous heights into water below.

YOLOOOOooooooooooo.....  If I don't die I hope this water washes away the urine smell.
YOLO has its dark side though.  If your YOLO thinking falls into any of these two categories, reconsider:

BAD YOLO 1:  Sacrificing the future for the immediate present.
Doing anything that sacrifices your long term health, finances, or general well-being in stupid.  Examples include:
  • "YOLO!  I will buy this really expensive new car!"  Even though I can't afford it, and the crippling payments will prevent me from doing anything awesome for 5 years.
  • "Girls Gone Wild?!  I want that t-shirt.  YOLO!" 
And what would your mom say?

BAD YOLO 2: Rationalizing anything immoral, illegal, or that you otherwise know to be wrong.
I would argue that since you only live once, you want to do as much good as you can while you're here.  Some people take a different approach.  Examples include:
  • "Heroin?  Well, I'm sure your dealer cut it clean.  YOLO!"
YOLO, so I choose to live in a haze of addiction and wasted potential!
  • Anything you can do in Grand Theft Auto.
  • Lying, stealing, cheating on your significant other, kidnapping, or other general douchery. Look up your state's penal code for more examples.
YOLO good, YOLO bad.  It's all in how you use it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I feel the same way. As a matter of fact my wife is doing a speech on the positive and negative aspects of a "YOLO" lifestyle. I may have to turn her on to some of your points. Good Job.