“If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” That was the question Steve Jobs asked himself in the mirror each morning of his adult life.
(So much better than “what will I wear today?” Note to self: settle on jeans and a black t-shirt for the rest of life and focus on more philosophical challenges for each day ahead.)
If he found himself saying “no” for a number of days in a row, he knew he needed to make a change. “Remembering I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”
And we all will be. Dead. Sooner or later.
Live in the moment
I did have a go at reading the short, profound thinking of philosopher Seneca, recommended by my friend Alex. On The Shortness of Life laments not that life is short, but that we waste so much of it. “There is nothing the busy man is less busy with than living.” Ouch. He suggested we should plan every day as if it were our last. I’m pretty sure he meant “live in the moment” and this is the best advice I think anyone can offer. But I live in Glasgow. I can’t help but think liver damage and penury.
So how about a Final Fling approach: Star Trek’s ‘live long and prosper’ meets Seneca’s ‘live in the moment’.
Try this in your lunch break:
- Write down 3 things you would start doing if you had a year to live.
- Write down 3 things you would stop doing if you had a year to live.
- Write down the ONE thing you would be most annoyed about if nothing changed in the next 5 years.
- Write down the ONE thing you’re pretending not to know and what might happen if you ignore it for the next 5 years.
- Write down ONE thing you’d be most chuffed that you’d achieved in 10 years time.
Now with all that helpful information write a 10 point plan of action with target dates for achieving goals. Put the date at the top of the page and put a monthly reminder in your calendar to check in and see how you’re doing.
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