When actor Michael Landon was terminally ill, he said, “Somebody should tell us, right at the start of our lives that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit, every minute of every day. Do it! I say. Whatever you want to do, do it now!”
Can You Say What the Song Says?
Translated, the title of Edith Piaf's haunting song “Non, je ne regrette rien” is “No, I don't regret anything.” Can you say the same thing?
I recently read an article by Bronnie Ware, who spent many years nursing people who had gone home to die. Ware listed the top five regrets that her patients expressed:
What can you do to not have the same regrets that Ware's patients had?
For example, what if point 2 strikes a cord? How can you guarantee that working too hard does not make it to your list one day? Maybe you could work less hard and spend your time living a life true to yourself; or you could work just as hard or harder, on things that are important and meaningful to you.
Your goal is surely to live life more fully. The ultimate challenge then is to find the work that represents a life true to you.
Change Your Game
You might have already seen The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The film tells the story of two elderly dying men who take one last shot at life. It's a comedy, but deals with a serious topic.
Do you know what you want from life? Would you be able to draw up your bucket list like the characters played by Nicholson and Freeman did?
But why only create a bucket list when you are old and perhaps unable to skydive or swim to Robben Island? Why not change your game right now?
Imagine starting a life list – a list of regrets you don't want in your life. The list could contain all the goals you want to achieve, dreams you want to fulfil and life experiences you want to have before you die.
Design for Life
The whole point of your life list is to then maximise every moment so you live life to the fullest. It will remind you daily of all the things you want to achieve in your time here. Your life list gets you focused on living the life you set out to live and it can help make you a happier partner, parent, employer, employee and member of society.
Create Your Life List
If you do not already have a life list why not create one? In the 30 minutes to an hour it will take you to build your list, you will gain significant clarity and focus on what you want from your life. It's an invaluable exchange of time for the rest of your life. If you already have a list, take time to review it.
Take a pen and paper, open a Word document or grab your iPhone or BlackBerry and start writing.
How about learning a new language or taking part in a triathlon? You could knit a scarf, learn horseback riding, see the seven wonders of the world, plant your own tree, learn how to play a musical instrument, take up dancing, swim with dolphins, be an extra in a movie, fly a kite, fall in love or see the Mona Lisa in the Louvre. It's your life list.
Your life list will always give you something to work towards. It will be an ongoing work in progress for your life.
Make the Commitment
Now put your life list into action. Share one item from your list with a friend or family member and ask him or her to hold you accountable. Do this and you can start to live an authentic, true life, with an unconflicted heart.
Your life list will open up a world of enjoyment, in which you can relish every moment.
You may need a bit of a kick-start and, as a coach, I'd love to help you get going. Give me a call, but not now. I'm off to my first surfing lesson. asa
Stanford Payne CA(SA) is an Executive Business Life Coach.