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Read This Before It’s Too Late…

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” – Steve Jobs.

Back in the summer of 2014, I had the pleasure of meeting Arianna Huffington in London as she spoke about the launch of her book Thrive. During this time, she stated something powerful that resonated with me, which was: “There may be no single thing that can teach us more about life than death.”

This is because it is only when we become aware and appreciative of how limited our time on this planet is that we can channel our energy into truly living.

Two stories that I want to share with you in this post can teach us a lot if we are ready to listen deeply to their messages before it’s too late.

The first is about Bronnie Ware’s experience as an Australian nurse working in palliative care, where she cared for patients in the final 12 weeks of their lives.

During her time working here, she recorded the patients’ dying epiphanies in a blog, which eventually became a book. In this blog, she noted the top five regrets of the dying as being:

  1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
  3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

One of the many messages from her experience is…

Many people die with an ocean of unfulfilled dreams, not appreciating the freedom that health brings until they no longer have it. And when looking back on life, they realise that happiness is ultimately a choice we all have.

The second story revolves around how the concept of distributing Nobel Prizes was born.

Do you know how these came into being?

I sure didn’t until I came across the story of its somewhat confusing origins. In 1888, when Ludwig Nobel died in a fire, the French press confused him with his younger brother Alfred, a famed Swedish entrepreneur who made his fortune through that production of dynamite and ballistic.

The press ran a brutally negative epitaph under the headline of ‘The Merchant of Death is Dead’.

Alfred Nobel, having the rare misfortune of witnessing his legacy while still alive was heartbroken as he read the article. Understanding what his current legacy was, he was determined to change his story and ultimately, his destiny, before it was too late.

So in 1895, he wrote out his will and testament. After setting out what he wanted to give his relatives and staff, he asked that the rest of his wealth be invested into a fund, ‘the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind’.

And so the Nobel Prizes were born!

Here’s the message I want to leave you with today…

You can’t go back to make a brand new beginning, but you can start NOW to make a brand new ending and legacy.

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Have your say

  • Mandeep Singh Khalsa

    Excellent article on how we should lead our lives with an overarching aim of happiness and a positive legacy (a good combination Sir!).

  • Linda Duff

    An inspiring post thanks Simon. Both stories resonate powerfully, especially the regrets of people close to death. Having had a recent life-threatening health scare, I am now dedicated to living life to the full and making the most of my ‘second chance’! The Nobel Prize story got me thinking about the legacy I am leaving behind and how that can help inform me of what I really stand for: I keep coming back to the Iroquois proverb of making decisions with seven generations from now in mind….

    • Thanks Linda! And glad to hear that you’ve come through the ‘health scare’ in one piece and ready to make the most of your ‘second chance’.

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