“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.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because 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. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
-Steve Jobs 1974-2011
I remember when the blackout happened recently in San Diego. At first it created utter chaos. Traffic in the streets, people weren’t productive, it was like the world was going to end. It was also one of the most memorable days in San Diego because people came together.
I remember getting home and decided to go surfing. Out on the water you’d look back toward the shore and see nothing but pitch dark. Biking back home, you’d see people laying down on their lawns with their friends listening to the football game via radio and candlelight.
Sometimes your life routine needs a little chip in the timeline. I had a chip in my timeline recently as just a couple days ago I was involved in a motorcycle accident.
Since the accident I’ve been thinking, “If I died during that accident, how would I feel?” The event brought nothing but happiness to be alive. If you have any enemies, it doesn’t matter anymore. It’s a reminder that we are all people on this Earth and although we have different ideas, we all share the common goal of achieving happiness.
It also got me thinking that I should never take a risk just to take risks. Rather it should be about taking calculated risks. My father told me of a near death experience he had. Much like Steve Jobs and how he was diagnosed with cancer, it brought focus to his life. At that moment he told himself that he would achieve greatness.
What is greatness? I thought about all my personal goals of going skydiving, bungee jumping and all those fun and invigorating experiences. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. Each experience forms who you are; however, it didn’t effect the greater good. What can I do to make a difference in the lives of others?
Have you ever had a near death experience? If so, how did it change the way you think and live life?