How Have You Lived?

I was told about a recent survey in which adults in the twilight of their lives were asked what they would do differently if they had the chance to do it all again.

The answers boiled down to this: those questioned wished they would have taken more risks and made an effort to leave more of a legacy.

So we must ask ourselves, what risks are we taking today? Is our present occupation challenging us on a daily or weekly basis? Are we left exhilarated or exhausted on Friday afternoon? And what about our weekends? Are we out and about and mixing it up with friends? Or on the sofa alone?

And when we’re gone, what impact have we made? Have we checked on the elderly lady who lives in the apartment down the hall? Have we offered to cover the application fees for a new college student who’s attending school in the fall and who’ll have to work part time?

Life spins on a dime. We have absolutely no idea what echo the small good deed we do today will have on the world tomorrow. And it is not our place to do good with reward or recognition in mind. We should just do it, because no matter how modest our circumstances, there are many who, by no fault of their own, are in much less fortunate positions.

Success is, for the most part, not easily measurable in our lifetimes. A billionaire who was divorced five times…success? A homeless man who, only at the end of his life, managed to get a handle on his addictions, sober up, and reconcile with his family…success?

Everyone measures it differently, and nobody bats a thousand. And there can be no success without risk. But the most dangerous risk we really take is when we do not try, because our failure is in that moment certain.

So let’s step up. Risk. And regardless of any perceived success or failure, plan to leave something behind.


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