Famous Last Words


Soon I’ll begin an abbreviated version of my Annual Review, where I look back on the events of this year and make plans for the next. In recent years, many of our readers have completed this process in their own way, and everyone is welcome to join in.

This year my own review will be a bit shorter than previous years due to a lot of things being stacked up—the India tour finished a few days ago, and then I went to Singapore and Hong Kong for meetings. Now I’m heading to Africa via Heathrow and Lisbon. Blah, blah.

There’s a lot to say about the trips. I’m also proceeding with all kinds of business stuff, travel stuff, book stuff, and other projects—but I think it’s good to begin with the right frame of mind.

Before moving on to things like webinars and Frequent Flyer Miles, in other words, I’d like to refocus on what really matters.


Supposedly, no one ever said on their deathbed, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”

Such a claim is inherently problematic, since we have no way of knowing what everyone says on their deathbed. Plus there are all the people who don’t get a choice in the matter.

P.T. Barnum’s last words were “How were the receipts today at Madison Square Garden?” which sounds a lot like asking about the office.

In reviewing a popular article about Regrets of the Dying, however, I thought the most popular regret was especially interesting:

“I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”

And here are the author’s comments on this observation:

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

If you’re beginning to reflect on your year and make plans for the next one, these questions may help:

How satisfied are you with the life you are living?

Do you have any big, unfulfilled dreams?

What are you building? (What is your legacy project?)

Are all your important relationships in harmony?

We’ll move to more practical things in another week or two.

As usual, I’m on the road, flying down to Africa in my second attempt to visit Guinea Bissau. Wish me luck!

– Chris


Image: Third Design

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