Thursday, March 12, 2009

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life

Del Jones, a reporter for the USA Today, frequently writes about management issues that are usually insightful and interesting. Like many of his stories, his recent piece titled "How cheating death can change your life" was worth reading.

It describes what people who've survived near-death experiences ("NDEs"), or who are currently battling a life-threatening or terminal disease, learned in the process or how it changed their "long term perspective."

Said one:

"Death is very likely the single-best invention of life. It is life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true."

Says another: "Near-death experiences give you balance. You become more worldly. Your ideas become bigger."

Many say the experience changed "them in profound ways and give them a heightened sense of purpose." As one put it: "Life becomes shinier. You should plan for the long haul, but there is a big difference in doing that and making perpetual sacrifices."

Apple CEO Steve Jobs (pictured above), who has survived pancreatic cancer, had this to say in a commencement speech he gave at Stanford in 2005:

"No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be. Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."