You Only Live Once – IIM Ranchi

“You Only Live Once” or its trendy acronym YOLO, as most of us are familiar with, has become colloquial. It is a term used quite often, especially by the millennials to refer to making the most of the present moment without worrying too much about the future. It has everything, from a fashion outlet to a chain of cafes named after it. For most, it is simply a justification to live life to the fullest. However, the same term often invites scepticism from the guardian figures in our life as, to them, it often entitles people to be irresponsible and unaccountable in their conduct.

Sometimes a post on social media by an influential figure or a celebrity is all it takes to set off a new trend, which was clearly a case with YOLO. On October 23, 2011, Canadian music artist Drake had posted a tweet with the term ‘YOLO’ in reference to his single ‘The Motto’. A significant increase in Twitter activity with the hashtag YOLO was observed on the next day itself, and there has been no looking back since. Today, millions of social media users on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social networks use #YOLO to post about their once-in-a-lifetime ideas or experiences.

To make the most of life, it is imperative that we do not carry any baggage from the past with us. We should not be consumed by anything that does not bear significantly on our present, as it is the here and now that matters and staying in the past is not the way to tap into the exciting and endless possibilities of the present. While everyone has half a mind on their future, it is also important not to overthink and, consequently, be unnecessarily conservative. Who knows, leaving work a couple of hours early or asking her out might have a happier ending than most of us would like to imagine.

What the term “You Only Live Once” is to us is simple what we choose to make it. Most of us are rats mindlessly running in the rat race called life. Some of us perform well; most of us are trampled. Pursuing our calling remains a dream for most. Passion hardly ever breaks away from being limited to a hobby, that too one we struggle to take time out for. When the going gets bleak, it is this very term that instils the zeal in people to make more of their life. It makes people want to live life a little more, rather than just bide it away.

And a large part of that means to be able to live life on our own terms, as well. Often we are too occupied in being what others want us to be, rather than just being what we want. Living a fulfilling and happy life is intricately subjective and has an expansive scope of ideation. While screaming in the first row of a Metallica concert might be the way to ecstasy for one, listening to Dire Straits in a quiet living room might be the avenue to bliss for another. Learning? Be yourself as much as you can and do not allow others to drive what you can and cannot do since it’s your life (as Bon Jovi would testify) and, indeed, you only live once. They told Ludwig van Beethoven that he could not be a musician as he was deaf, but he didn’t listen, did he?

In the present day, leaving jobs and pursuing something liberating full time remains a luxury that few of us can afford. For the rest, YOLO simply means breaking away from the chains of routine and experiencing something that is the flesh and bone of how we wanted to live life. We allow our every day to be so streamlined that we often forget the palette of the bright, vivid colours that await us only if we could be bold and brave enough to take that one decision. That one choice opted, that one alternative explored. It makes all the difference.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough”
– Mae West

IIM Ranchi

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