“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain
Several years ago, I discovered a book called Creating Your Best Life; the Ultimate Life List Guide. The title alone contains two of my favorite things—the promise of self-improvement and list making—so you can imagine how fast I grabbed it from the shelf. I devoured the 254 pages and completed all of the exercises. It helped me move forward at the time, and several of the practices have stuck with me all these years later.
I haven’t thought about that book in a long time, but while I was working on my decluttering goal recently, I ran across it on the shelf and decided rather than “declutter” it, I’d read it again. As I’m nearing another transition period of my life, this book could be just the “GPS” I’m looking for.
One of the first exercises in the book is to write a brief portrait of your life—a paragraph or two describing how you would like to be remembered when you’re gone (or if that’s too uncomfortable to think about—at retirement, a landmark birthday, or some other special occasion).
I challenge you to try it. Focus on the gifts you bring to the world—those you have now or those you plan to develop starting today. For inspiration, visit www.nytimes.com/pages/national/portraits/index.html. There you’ll find short vignettes and photos of people whose lives were lost suddenly on 9/11. I avoided the website during my first reading of the book, because I was afraid it would be depressing, but this time I went there, and I promise, it’s not depressing. It’s inspiring and uplifting. It made me want to be a better person.
I’d love to hear what you think. Take a look and then share your comments on this blog.
And what’s your favorite professional or personal development book?