A gift. It’s my very definition of today.
Every morning, you gain a precious fragment of time to live again. You practically cheat death. It’s a radical shift in perspective, a conscious and intentional approach to focus on the essentials in life.
A mindset that transforms every sunrise into a deep appreciation of life and time. All it takes is a heightened significance.
I call it the “bonus time mindset.”
Stoic philosopher Seneca said when you have truly lived every morning is a bonus. Living like every minute is “bonus time” is a way of framing your existence that can bring greater meaning, joy, and purpose to your life.
It means you prioritise what truly matters and let go of trivial pursuits that drain your energy and time. Each day becomes a chance to do something meaningful. You savour each experience, knowing it might not be repeated.
“Think of the life you have lived until now as over and, as a dead man, see what’s left as a bonus and live it according to Nature. Love the hand that fate deals you and play it as your own, for what could be more fitting?” — Marcus Aurelius
You become hypersensitive to time and less likely to procrastinate or waste precious time on non-essentials. The mundane become experiences to cherish, and the ordinary become sources of joy. These are three simple steps to reclaim the joy of life and embrace the gift of bonus time.
1. Reconnect with your mortality
Bonus time mentality doesn’t mean obsessing over death. It means accepting the inherent impermanence of everything, including yourself. It brings a sense of peace that lets you focus on the present moment, letting go of regrets and anxieties about the past and future.
“Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.”― Marcus Aurelius
When you recognise the preciousness of each day, each sunrise, even the most mundane moment becomes precious. You step off the treadmill of routine and stare into the face of your brevity. It doesn’t mean dwelling on morbid thoughts but acknowledging the reality that life is a finite game.
A greater understanding of the fragility of our existence means we naturally become more grateful for our gifts — our loved ones, our health, our very breath. Gratitude becomes a conscious practice.
That simple shift in perspective allows you to savour every minute, to find joy in the ordinary, and to live life to the fullest. However, it’s important to approach it with awareness and balance, ensuring that it enhances your life rather than burdening you.
2. Let go of the “what ifs” and hold on to “what is”
Our minds are constantly switching between past anxieties and future worries. We must learn to anchor ourselves in the present to truly embrace bonus time. It doesn’t mean ignoring the past or dismissing the future, but rather acknowledging their existence while refusing to let them hijack our present experience.
“The future is a concept — it doesn’t exist. There is no such thing as tomorrow. There never will be because time is always now. That’s one of the things we discover when we stop talking to ourselves and stop thinking. We find there is only present, only an eternal now.” ― Alan Watts
Bonus time demands we break free from past or future realities. It means noticing the intricate details of the world around us, breathing deeply, savouring the taste of your coffee, and listening to the laughter of loved ones. Each moment, fully and consciously embraced, becomes an experience to cherish in the moment.
Anchor yourself in the eternal now.
We often rush through life, our minds stuck on autopilot, oblivious to the beauty surrounding us. “The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life,” says poet, artist and writer William Morris.
To embrace bonus time, you must feel the air against your skin and listen to the sound of nature when you are out on a deliberate walk. These seemingly ordinary moments hold extraordinary magic; learn to appreciate them with wide-eyed wonder.
3. Infuse your life with interests
Bonus time isn’t just about appreciating the small things; it’s about reigniting the fire within. It’s not a passive observation; it’s an active participation in the direction of your life.
When we live on autopilot, our interests become secondary. Our curiosities become our shadow selves. To truly embrace bonus time, we must reclaim our curiosities and rediscover what makes us come alive.
“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.” ― Bradley Whitford
What excites you? What sets your soul on fire?
Once you identify these driving forces, prioritise them and make them the pillars of your life. Let your internal interests guide your actions, choices, and very being. Write that novel, climb that mountain, and tell the person you love how deeply they matter. Every moment lived with passion becomes a victory experience.
“Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter. Explore the world. Nearly everything is really interesting if you go into it deeply enough,” says Physicist Richard P. Feynman.
When you live with intention, every minute becomes an opportunity to create, contribute or become a better version of yourself.
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