Today I came across a piece of writing from a 24 year old man who was dying of cancer. I don’t know his name – and for the sake of this exercise his name is unimportant. His message, however, is very important. He had never really considered that his life would – or had – made a huge impact on the world. It wasn’t until he realised that the end of his life was imminent that he was able to reflect on what really was important – not only in his case, but for everyone else.
His thoughts made such an impact on me that I wanted to share them with you.
“1. Don’t waste your time on work that you don’t enjoy. It is obvious that you cannot succeed in something that you don’t like. Patience, passion and dedication come easily only when you love what you do.
2. It’s stupid to be afraid of others’ opinions. Fear weakens and paralyses you. If you let it, it can grow worse and worse every day until there is nothing left of you, but a shell of yourself. Listen to your inner voice and go with it. Some people may call you crazy, but some may even think you’re a legend.
3. Take control of your life. Take full responsibility for the things that happen to you. Limit bad habits and try to lead a healthier life. Find a sport that makes you happy. Most of all don’t procrastinate. Let your life be shaped by decisions you made, not by the ones you didn’t.
4. Appreciate the people around you. Your friends and relatives will always be an infinite source of strength and love. This is why you shouldn’t take them for granted.
It is difficult for me to fully express my feelings about the importance of these simple realisations, but I hope you will listen to someone who has experienced how valuable time is.
We care so much about the health and integrity of our body that until death we don’t notice that the body is nothing more than a box – a parcel for delivering our personality, thoughts, beliefs and intentions to this world. If there is nothing in this box that can change the world, then it doesn’t matter if it disappears. I believe that we all have potential, but it also takes a lot of courage to realise it.
Leave a mark in this world. Have a meaningful life, whatever definition it has for you. Go towards it. The place we are leaving is a beautiful playground, where everything is possible. Yet, we are not here forever. Our life is a short spark in this beautiful little planet that flies with incredible speed to the endless darkness of the unknown universe. So, enjoy your time here with passion, make it interesting, make it count!
No, thank YOU!
What a wise young man – who knows what he could have achieved? It’s just so sad that his impending end, after enduring such a terrible disease, was the catalyst for searching inside himself. But I am glad he was able to – he has now truly made an impact on those around him, and beyond.
Such reflections are not “learned” at school or university, or necessarily taught by parents to their children. Some people will go through life without anyone making an impact on them, unfortunately. But when such an opportunity becomes available to us, to meet someone, read a quote, or a piece such as the one this man wrote, take it up. Use that person as a mentor, good influence, or follow up on the quote you read – find out more about the person who said it. Give it time to sink in, and as the young man said “Go towards it.”
In the grand scheme of things life is very short. Some of us (including me) have wasted an awful lot of it. That waste takes on many forms –
- lack of passion for our work
- hanging around with the “wrong” people
- arguing with those close to us
- not taking up opportunities presented to us along the way
- too much TV or computer games & endless, pointless internet ‘surfing’
- letting fear or anger influence our decisions
In the last few months I have started a journey down a new road, as many of you already know. I have read so much this year about people changing their life circumstances and finding themselves in totally new situations – all positive so far! They have, over time, come to a decision to “stop right there”! I am inspired by their “bravery” to take stock and change the way they look at their lives, and ultimately live them.
Our dear young man, quoted above, has confirmed some of my own reflections, and introduced me to more. I am certain that many people of all ages, who are in a position such as his, have come to the same conclusions, in similarly sad circumstances. I thank him for helping me reflect on my own life – it’s a precious thing. We still have it – he is not so lucky. We can honour this man, and many like him, by meeting his reflections, and our own, head on.
If you wonder why you still stay at your job – do something about it, make improvements or leave. If the contents of your house are getting on top of you – sometimes literally – declutter (see my post on decluttering here). If you have always wanted to travel to Paris or South America – GO! Wondered if you will ever know how to use watercolours? – buy some and take a class on YouTube. Throw away your reluctance to create.
Don’t wait around waiting for something to come to you – “Go towards it”!
Make every second count!