Adapted from work originally published by Marshall Goldsmith.
Imagine yourself at the ripe old age of 95. Imagine you laying there on your deathbed, you are about to take your final breath when a miracle happens. You get the opportunity to go back and give your younger self a piece of advise to make life better.
What would you say to the past you?
What would your years of knowledge and perspective sum up to?
People in this situation have been asked this question - no better source exists for this answer after all. From their experience three major themes have come from these studies and the results.
How do we become the person that we want? How can we use the advise of the people wearing those shoes, and apply them to our lives now? Let's listen to what they have to say.
Theme #1: Be Happy Now!
Much of our lives are spent in the pursuit of material things. We won't be happy until we have achieved this, or until we possess that. None of the souls interviewed had wished that they acquired more possessions. Things do not interact with us, things cannot help us feel happy again when we are sad; nor can we be there for it. Do not get caught up in what you don't have that you forget to realise what you do have. Do not forget to stop and let yourself be happy now.
Theme #2: Family Matters Most
One answer given above all others when asking parents around the world a simple question. What do you want for your children when they grow up? All parents want their children to be happy. Don't get caught up in your pursuit of "things" that you don't see what you have in life that matters. Your family and your happiness. When you are happy, then you can help those around you be happy too. So be happy, that's all your parents wanted for you after all.
Theme #3: If You Have A Dream Go For It
When you speak with older people their regrets also have a common theme - they do not have regrets about their failures. Their regret stems from those leaps that they did not take, rather than the leaps that failed. Don't put off for tomorrow what you could get done today. If you have something in your life that you need to try to do, do it. Let your 95 year old you take that last breath without any regrets. Any dream at all, big or small, it is your life so go do it. No one else has to live with your regret except you. Don't pay attention to people who do not support your dream. It's you life, live it.
Our careers are a big part of our lives. We spend most of our days pursuing our careers. But what advice does 95 year old you have for our careers?
Theme #1: Life Is Short, Have Fun.
Don't work it all away. Take time out to do the things that you want to do. Take the time out of your day to smell the roses. Call a friend you have not spoken to in a while. Take your kids to the museum or the football. Live your life while you have your life to live.
Theme #2: Help Others
People of great accomplishment - what are you most proud of? It is never the things they bought or the size or floor number of their office. It was the times they were able to positively impact the life of others. Taking the time to give or help where it is needed will be a better reward for the soul than money could ever buy.
Theme #3: Always Do What You Think Is Right
We can tend to get into a habit in life of following what the crowd does. But, the world is an ever-changing place. Perhaps your industry is changing or the world is shifting in another direction. So many things can happen in life that will change your plans. All we can do is gather the information that we have at hand and do what we think is right. Whether it be in matters of good and evil or a life changing decision all we can do is what we feel is right at that point in time. Follow what your moral compass tells you and 95 year old you can rest easy.
The steps are simple and only involve adding more love and enjoyment to your life. Take it for what it is worth and let's all live happier lives together.
You can watch the Marshall Goldsmith full video here.
Talent Tools offers a range of training and accreditation to improve resiliance at work - you can find out more about the PR6 program here.
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