What would you spend your time on?What is really interesting, is that we often spend our lives as if we are going to live forever. With quite a few of my friends and others that I know in my wider circle succumbing to various diseases, I started questioning what would I do if I had a set period of time to live.
Besides this is a good exercise to validate your priorities that I learned from undertaking the course, Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence on Coursera.
You need to answer these questions in this order:
What would you do if you had all the money in the world?
This was a fascinating item to me, as I realised, that I probably would cut out the majority of activities that I currently spend my time on. Of course, I had more travel on that list (I will see Northern and Southern Lights), driving fancy cars (Lamborghini anyone?), and holidays away in exotic locations. But then, what would I do? Once I have done all of that, what is really left to do? Which led to, wanting to leave a legacy behind. And what does that legacy mean? How do I go about achieving it? What would it take to achieve? Heck, how would I know that I have achieved it? I wrote about this strategy in a previous post from a career perspective but it does apply to other aspects of life too.
What would you do if you had all the money in the world AND one year to live?
Now, your own answers start to change. I culled the list of things that I would do, go see and increased spending time with people that mattered. My legacy question – was more pronounced at this stage – I was looking at really defining this item to myself in the most tangible way possible.
What would you do if you had all the money in the world AND SIX months to live?
Oooh boy. Gone were the holidays and fancy cars. In came the responsibility to looking after my family – making sure debts were paid, nieces and nephews were looked after, parties with friends and holidays together. The focus on setting up a “Nigel” scholarship or fund then came to the fore. .I needed to make sure that money would not run out once I was gone.
At this stage, I was confident that I knew what the next question in the course would be and I thought I had a sure fire answer. It was going to be one month. My plan was formulated. And then it popped up.
What would you do if you had all the money in the world and only a WEEK to live?
I had to pause the course at this point. These words, the ones that were on the screen. It didn’t compute to me. How could anyone deal with this? What would you say? What would you do? Would you try to live it up or would you try to extend it? You know the end is coming – so do you fight it or do you accept the inevitability? I didn’t know how to respond. Heck, I don’t know how I would.
Then I thought about all those people that are going to this very situation in their lives right now. And I was humbled. You know what I’d do? I’d actually have the courage to say all the things I wanted to say, heal the misunderstandings and seek forgiveness for any of my misdeeds. And at the very end, I would want to be surrounded by all my loved ones. If anything, I realised, that if this was it, I would want to know that something I created made a difference to someone’s life, even in the most smallest of ways possible and I would be grateful. I
That’s when I knew that I had to follow my dreams, no matter what. We only have one shot at this wonderful existence we call life. And it is beautiful not because it lasts but because it ends.
I got up from the computer and I took a walk. And for the very first time in a long time, I walked without a phone. I didn’t need my Instagram account to capture the scenes, I just stopped and took it all in. The colours, the smells, the sights, the sounds and the feeling of the wind and sun. And the words, of that famous Louis Armstrong song, What A Wonderful World made sense to me.
And then I remembered the Melbourne Ska Orchestra’s song – “The Best Things In Life Are Free” and I smiled.
I ask, that you, my dear reader, take the time to go through the questions yourself and be honest with your responses. You would be so surprised at the answers you give. Maybe even try it with your family and see how it unfolds.
You have one life. And if you live in Melbourne there are so many things you can do, explore and experience. Why not add “Adventurer” to your name and live up to it. Go Do!
I sourced some inspiration that you can use in coming with your responses. But be warned, this is a long video, but worth every single minute.
4 thoughts on “If This Week Was Your Last Week”
Its funny how the shorter your life span, the less important and significant money is to your life and you find whats really inportant to you in this lifetime. Great post Nigel
Thanks Dirk, the recent spate of illnesses in my circle of friends had me thinking about this quite deeply.
Though the moment of clarity with the one week question hit way too close to home.
Thanks for the comment Dirk 😊
I tend to not think of life like that so I dont indulge myself in leisure too much but yet, it is alarming when I realise I am leaving no legacy if I were to be gone. Great article