Difference Between Living & Existing

Key Difference – Living vs Existing

Oscar Wilde once said that “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” Most people would wonder whether there is a difference between live and exist. Although both verbs live and exist mean to remain alive, we often use them in different contexts. Existing refers to remaining alive or continuing to be; in simple terms, it can be described as doing what is necessary to stay alive. When compared to existing, living means to enjoy your life and savor every moment of it. This is the key difference between living and existing.

What Does Living Mean?

The verb live has several definitions such as ‘to remain alive’, ‘to make one’s home in a particular place’, ‘to survive’, etc. However, there is a distinction between living and existing or surviving. In this context, living means to enjoy life and savor every moment. Living is associated with joy, enthusiasm, passion, and interest in life. When a person is living, he has clear, meaningful goals; he works with passion; he takes the time to enjoy his life. In other words, when you start ‘living’, you have control of your life, and you make the decisions in your life; your life won’t be mechanical.

What Does Existing Mean?

Existing is similar to surviving. When you are existing, you’ll do what is necessary to remain alive; you’d breathe, eat, sleep, and work. In other words, he would make sure that his basic needs are fulfilled in order to continue his existence. You’d not do things because you want to do them, but because it is necessary to do them in order to continue to live. A person who is merely existing doesn’t enjoy life; he has no passion, enthusiasm, or interest in what he does. He’ll simply go through the motion of life, without having any aim or purpose.
In simple words, the difference between living and existing is that a person who is existing will not be happy with his life, whereas a person who is living his life will be happy and enthusiastic about his life.

What is the difference between Living and Existing?

Living: Living means to enjoy life and savor every moment.
Existing: Existing means to survive and simply remain alive.
Living: When you live your life, you have a purpose or aim in life.
Existing: When you exist, you don’t have a purpose in life.
Active vs Passive:
Living: Living is active and spontaneous.
Existing: Existing is passive and mechanical.
Things you do:
Living: You do the things you enjoy doing.
Existing: You do what is necessary to stay alive.
Living: You lead and control your life.
Existing: Life just happens to you, and you go through the motions.
Living: There is passion, joy, and enthusiasm in living.
Existing: There is no passion, joy, or enthusiasm in existing.

Key Takeaways

  • Living means to enjoy life and savor every moment, while existing means to survive and simply remain alive
  • Living is active and spontaneous, with a purpose or aim in life, whereas existing is passive, mechanical, and without purpose
  • When living, you lead and control your life, experiencing passion, joy, and enthusiasm, while existing involves going through the motions of life without these feelings
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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