I recently shared that a good friend and partner passed away from cancer at the age of 48.

His passing brought me back to the important question of how to live a good life. It’s a question I ponder all the time. Life challenges seem to elevate this question for me, as a way for me to examine how I’m living.

The way I see it, we have three basic choices on how to live:

Play the short game – this is the (YOLO) approach – You Only Live Once

Play the long game – this is the (YODO) approach – You Only Die Once

Blend the two approaches together –  (YOLO+ YODO) – You Only Live & Die Once

People who play the short game of life (YOLO) don’t think too much about the future. They live 100% for today and today only. They don’t think about the ramifications of the decisions they’re making right now. They don’t save any money. They don’t care too much about their health. They eat whatever they want. They spend their money without much thought. They have large credit card balances, no emergency savings, and zero investments.

In other words, people who play the short game of life live for instant gratification. The slightest problem tends to bring instant disaster.

The YOLO group trades away a better tomorrow for a fun today.

Next, we have people who play the long game of life (YODO). These people are focused entirely on the future. They live extremely frugal lives now saving every penny for tomorrow. They eliminate every unnecessary expense. They don’t take vacations. They don’t go to the movies. They don’t go out to dinner – all because they’re so focused on making the future better.

In other words, people who play the long game of life are masters at delayed gratification. They are so good at delaying gratification that they sometimes never experience any gratification whatsoever. They live very limited lives because they’re always trading away today’s happiness for a better tomorrow. The problem is that tomorrow may not come.

Tomorrow didn’t come for my friend.  🙁

My friend focused a great deal on the long-term. He was more a of YODO kind of guy always sacrificing today for a better tomorrow. He was extremely self-disciplined with his money and rarely spent money on anything he didn’t need.

Years ago when we were just getting started with our real estate investments, we would share our dreams for the future. You know the ones where you tend to say…

“When I have _______________, I’ll  _________________.”

Because my friend was so self-disciplined with money, he had created the ability to do what he had dreamt of doing all those years ago. He was a cashflownaire. He had a large monthly income from real estate. He had no debt. Yet, he didn’t do what he always wanted to do, what we talked about doing back in the beginning.

He was waiting for tomorrow to do what he wanted. Tomorrow didn’t come for him and it may not come for us. We never know.

It’s easy to see that both the YOLO and YODO approaches to life may bring some unhappiness and regret.

This leaves us to the third approach, which is to blend both approaches together designing lives we can enjoy today AND tomorrow.

YOLO + YOLO = Awesome Life

To do this, we must focus on what’s truly important for both today AND tomorrow without sacrificing one for the other.

The important question is how do we do this… how do we live for today AND tomorrow?