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Spoiler: You are going to die but there’s another way to remain “alive”

Since the beginning of time, people have sought to achieve the elusive goal of immortality or eternal youth.

Take the famous “Blood Countess” Elizabeth Bathory. The legend passed down is that one day she struck a female servant and the girl’s blood fell upon her hand. Shortly after, Elizabeth was intrigued by the fact that the hand fouled by blood seemed more youthful. So, she began to murder virgin girls and bathe in their blood, hoping to retain her youthful beauty and stop the hands of time.

Today, the madness still goes on. In 2016, Jesse Karmazin, MD, founded a business called Ambrosia, which injected “young plasma” from youthful patients into older volunteers. These volunteers hoped to achieve a more healthy, youthful body and were willing to pay $8,000 dollars for one liter of this “miracle” plasma. The company has since shut down after the FDA issued numerous warnings about the possible harm and ineffectiveness of this rather fantastical “treatment.”

From mystical mushrooms to the ancient potion known as the “philosopher’s stone,” a concoction believed to be the “elixir of life,” people continue to search for a way to evade death.

None of these ardent seekers achieved their goal, and likely none ever will.

But there is still a way to be immortal, and I’ll show you how.

However, before I begin, let me start off by dispensing of that wonderful goal of yours that your body will live forever.

It will die.

But your spirit and your influence don’t have to. You can change the world and live forever through the acts and deeds you do.

Here’s how.

1. Offer up a kind word or a genuine compliment

When you see a person’s talent or skills, acknowledge the fact. We all know that sometimes, just when we are ready to give up on a goal or a dream, one person’s words can keep us fighting the good fight.

These kind words of praise create ripples of energy that continue to impact the life and events of another person (and ourselves if we are honest).

For example, it is well known that Stephen King’s first novel Carrie was initially rejected many times — over thirty to be exact. What is less known is that the real reason the book became successful was King’s wife Tabitha.

In Mental Floss’s article “How Stephen King’s Wife Saved Carrie and Launched his Career,” they discuss King’s initial difficulties and disappointment in this novel in progress. They report that King, in his exasperation, threw his writing away, only to find the crumpled papers unruffled by his wife and waiting for him when he returned home from work.

The article states Tabitha’s words to King, “ ‘You’ve got something here. I really think you do.’ ”

And thus, work on Carrie continued. Do I really need to tell you how King’s life changed after that?

I don’t think I do.

As John Donne said, “No man is an island.”

We need to lift each other up.

Not only does it boost our motivation, it makes us better at the things for which we are praised.

As a matter of fact, in a Forbes article entitled “Study: Receiving a Compliment has Same Positive Effect as Receiving Cash,” it cites a study where people were given an exercise to perform. One group was given compliments, another group worked while they heard others receive compliments, and the third group was given no compliment and asked to simply reflect on their own performance.

The result was that subjects who received a compliment “performed significantly better than participants from the other groups.”

So when we give well-earned praise, we change lives in ways we can never imagine.

Thus, we live forever through the kind words we give to others.

We build careers. We build self-esteem. We save relationships. All by the words we say. And these effects are infinite.

2. Give well-intentioned advice and constructive criticism

There’s time for complimenting and a time for giving truth. In the nicest possible way, of course.

Sometimes the truth needs to be said for people to grow.

False evaluations of performance and affirmation of others’ faulty logic and reasoning can cause results of the worst kind. It leads a person to continue to make errors that cost them growth and progress.

We don’t want this to be the legacy we leave on others’ lives.

For example, if someone is making a mistake, tell them the truth. Or at least plant seeds of meditation that allow for “alternate truths” that said friend or co-worker may be choosing to ignore.

For example, say a friend of yours comes to you ready to quit his or her full-time and well-paying job to live the life of a freelance writer.

Let’s say he or she is a great writer. But you know that he or she is clueless as to the other aspects of marketing and social media that may be crucial to his or her ability to truly make a sustainable living through writing.

You fear that his or her sudden desire to “jump ship” may end in catastrophe.

Let him or her know kindly that he or she may want to re-evaluate his or her decision.

Tell him or her perhaps to ponder keeping a full-time job while still supporting his or her future goal of full-time freelancing by taking a content-marketing class or studying up on technological or social media related requisites to ensure the move will produce the desired results.

We creatures are frequently slaves to emotion, and sometimes we need a person to counter-balance our delusions of grandeur or fantastical, impulsive notions.

By giving this information, you could save your friend months of financial distress or help keep his or her dream alive while still maintaining said person’s family’s economic well-being.

Or, on the other hand, maybe you see a spark of genius and know that a friend or co-worker is letting fear or doubt stop him or her from achieving success. Tell them to “go for it.” Your words of advice could lead them to fortune they themselves never imagined possible.

For example, in The Muse’s article “9 Famous People Who Will Inspire You to Never Give Up,” they mention actress Emily Blunt, Golden Globe winner and star in films such as The Devil Wears Prada and The Girl on the Train. They state that growing up, Blunt had a hard time talking to others and a noticeable stutter.

However, she also had a junior high teacher who advised her to try out for a theatrical production at school. The teacher “kept gently pressing and suggested that she try accents and character voices to help get the words out.”

Blunt followed the teacher’s advice and well, the rest is celebrity history.

That junior high teacher will live on in each dollar that Blunt earns and in each life touched by Blunt’s exceptional on-screen talent.

That, my friends, is immortality.

3. Offer an apology

“I’m sorry” can change lives. Forever. If we let go of our pride and apologize for our cruel words, past mistakes, or impulsive actions, we can change the future.

Our marriages, love relationships, and friendships are our “safe places” and sometimes these important people are our emotional “punching bags” when we get angry or upset.

Thus, after a hard day at work or a particularly stressful time, we may absentmindedly say harsh words we don’t really mean.

But not meaning the words themselves doesn’t mean they don’t impact that person’s feelings. And whenever a person’s feelings are affected, the relationship itself is affected.

We can probably all cite at least one relationship in our lives that was permanently damaged or even severed because of a few cutting words.

But, by apologizing, we can re-create hope for these important relationships. A hope where hopelessness had seemingly set up permanent residence.

We can work towards becoming a loving family again.

We can work towards a deeper intimacy in our marriages and our friendships.

We can even make our professional lives more productive when we “bury the axe” from workplace disagreements where we said sometimes thoughtless or hurtful.

And who knows the sweet memories that can come, the good times that can be had, the workplace productivity that can be increased when we open up and admit our mistakes.

And no doubt, these reconciliations create a ripple effect, changing everything that happens from that “I’m sorry” forward.

It can restore hope.

It can repair shattered self-esteem.

It can end long estrangements from the people our heart secretly craves.

And learning to let go of our pride and be open and honest about our mistakes is a skill that can impact future relationships with people we don’t yet even know.

Because it makes us better people.

The bottom line

We can’t live forever. But the impact we have on people and our environment as a whole changes the very fabric of the universe.

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow states in his famous poem “A Psalm of Life,” that “we can make our lives sublime.” He goes on to say that we “leave behind us footprints on the sands of time. Footprints that perhaps another, sailing o’er life’s solemn main, a forlorn and shipwrecked brother, Seeing, shall take heart again.”

So, go ahead, say the loving word, give the advice, come to another with those magical words “I’m sorry.”

And know you will live forever. Just in a different way.