Are You Living or Just Existing?

Michael Atkins
4 min readJun 12, 2021

“Don’t sit at home and wait for the mango tree to bring mangoes to you wherever you are. It won’t happen. If you are truly hungry for change, go out of your comfort zone and change the world.” Israelmore Ayivor

It might have taken you a long time to see beyond your blindness, but now that you can see the truth, why don’t you revel in the experience?

Use your time to truly live!

What does that mean? When you exist, you’re only operating inside of your comfort zone. When you live, you escape from that zone to a vast expanse of possibilities.

When I was an exchange student in Japan back in the late 80s, I thought Japan had a highly rigid educational system. The entire system was designed to instill conformity. Under no circumstances were you ever considered to be unique or capable of greatness. They embraced an entirely different perspective. Good or bad, I’ve always wanted to believe that people have greatness inside of them and that each of us is capable of doing wonderful things.

In Japan, students were constantly being told that they were just average. All they had to do was conform and play the part that society had already reserved for them. Doing wonderful things and changing the world was not considered the “Japanese way.”

It’s funny how it’s always others who get to do all the things we want to do, isn’t it?

I grew up differently. I always wanted more. Not because I felt I was great, but because I thought that it would be better to fail to try to achieve greatness than to never fail at all.

When we are young, we usually dream big. We look up at the stars and imagine that we only have to grow up to reach them. Most of the time, we grow up and never look up at the stars again.

In a world of bills and mortgages, we tend to put aside dreaming big and lose the desire to aspire for greatness. Instead, we come to embrace a dreary and mediocre life. It’s as if we’re slowly dying, trapped by the bills that need to be paid and the loans that need to be settled. How can you even think about living a creative life under such circumstances?

It is a shame. The question you should be asking yourself instead is how can you not appreciate the one…



Michael Atkins

Technologist and life-long language learner. Speaks fluent Japanese and Indonesian among other languages. Inspiring the world through love of language learning