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A meaningful life

“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today

were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do

today?' And whenever the answer has been ‘No' for too many days in a

row, I know I need to change something…almost everything – all

external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure

– these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what

is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best

way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”

–Steve Jobs

Like much of the world, I am mourning the loss of Steve Jobs and his creative genius. But while he left us a lasting legacy of wonderful gadgets that have transformed our world, perhaps his most important legacy is his outlook on life.

I have taken his challenge several times, spurred on by the likes of Brian Tracy and Franklin Covey, to determine if I was living according to my priorities. Had I not, I would never have become a teacher, I would never have gone to grad school, and I would not be home with my kids now, or living my dream as a writer.

The way I see it, we only get one shot, so I'd like to live with no regrets. I don't always succeed. I still let pride, fear of embarrassment or failure, and the expectations of others get in my way. But I'm working on it.

So in honor of Steve Jobs, my challenge to you is to look at your life, ask yourself if there's anything you need to change, and then sit down and brainstorm what that change might look like. It doesn't always have to mean a loss of income, or a massive change to your lifestyle.

Maybe it's as simple as saying “no” next time someone asks you to volunteer. Or “yes”, for that matter.

I've learned the hard way that life is too short to settle for an average existence doing what everyone else thinks you should do. What do you want to do?

Go find a way.

Photo credit: STONE STACK © Aje |