“Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness.
Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Appreciate your friends. Continue to learn. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.”
– Mary Anne Radmacher
Many moons from now, just before you take your final breath, I hope, for your sake, that you are able to repeat the following ten headlines to yourself, honestly.
1. I followed my heart and intuition.
As our friend Steve Jobs says:
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
This is your life, and it’s a short one. Don’t accept false choices. Don’t let others put a cage around you. Try what you want to try. Go where you want to go. Follow your own intuition.
2. I said what I needed to say.
Everyone has this little watchdog inside their head. It’s always there watching you. It was born and raised by your family, friends, coworkers, bosses and society at large, and its sole purpose is to watch you and make sure you stay in line. And once you become accustomed to the watchdog’s presence, you begin to think his opinion of what’s acceptable and unacceptable are absolute truths. But the watchdog’s views are not truths, they’re just opinions – forceful opinions that have the potential to completely brainwash you of your own opinions if you aren’t careful.
Remember, the watchdog is just a watchdog, he just watches. He can’t actually control you. He can’t do anything about it if you decide to rise up and go against the grain.
No, you should not start randomly cussing and acting like a fool. But you must say what you need to say when you need to say it. It may be your only chance to do so.
Don’t censor yourself. Speak the truth. Your truth.
3. I did what I needed to do.
Every morning you are faced with two choices: You can aimlessly stumble through the day not knowing what’s going to happen and simply react to events at a moment’s notice, or you can go through the day directing your own life and making your own decisions and destiny.
The greatest gift extraordinarily successful people have over average people is their ability to get themselves to take action – to physically do something about getting from where they are now to where they want to be. And no, it won’t be easy. But in the end, suffering from the pain of discipline while you do what you need to do is a whole lot easier than suffering from the regret and disappointment of never fulfilling any of your dreams.
4. I made a difference.
Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.
In life, you get what you put in. When you make a positive impact in someone else’s life, you also make a positive impact in your own life. Do something that’s greater than you – something that helps someone else to be happy or to suffer less.
Doing something nice for someone can change the world. Maybe not the whole world, but their world.
5. I know what true love is.
Finding a companion or a friend isn’t about trying to transform yourself into the perfect image of what you think they want. It’s about being exactly who you are and then finding someone who appreciates that. Relationships must be chosen wisely. It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company. There’s no need to rush. If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason.
As with all things of the heart, there is an ingredient of magic in finding love. There are no coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. Love is beautiful and unpredictable. The best thing you can do is to start to become the most outstanding person possible. The universe will know when you are ready, and when you are, true love will happen, unexpectedly.
6. I am happy and grateful.
Very little is needed to create happiness. It is all within you, in your way of thinking. How you view yourself and your world are conscious choices and habits. The lens you choose to view everything through determines how you feel about yourself and everything that happens around you. You must choose to be happy.
A big part of this is simply being grateful for what you have. As Mick Jagger once said, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you might find you get what you need.” Look around. Appreciate the things you have right now. Many people aren’t so lucky.
7. I am proud of myself.
You are your own best friend and your own biggest critic. Regardless of the opinions of others, at the end of the day the only reflection staring back at you in the mirror is your own. How you feel about this person is vital to your long-term wellbeing.
Being proud of yourself is also known as having strong self-esteem. People who are proud of themselves tend to have passions in life, feel content and set good examples for others. It requires envisioning the person you would like to become and making your best efforts to grow as an individual.
Being proud isn’t bragging about how great you are. It’s more like quietly knowing that you’re worth a lot. It’s not about thinking you’re perfect – because nobody is – but knowing that you’re worthy of being loved and accepted. Boost your self-esteem by recognizing your accomplishments and celebrating them. Acknowledge your positive qualities, and when you come across a quality in yourself that you aren’t proud of, don’t sulk in your sorrows, proactively work on correcting it.
8. I became the best version of me.
It’s a good idea to be yourself, not only because everybody else is taken, but because trying to be anything else doesn’t usually get you very far. Trying to be someone else is a waste of the person you are. Strength, success and contentment come from being comfortable in your own skin.
Judy Garland once said, “Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of somebody else.” Live by this statement. There is no such thing as living in someone else’s shoes. The only shoes you can occupy are your own. If you aren’t being yourself, you aren’t truly living – you’re merely existing.
Remember, at any given moment, you are in competition with one person and one person only – yourself. You are competing to be the best you can be.
9. I forgave those who hurt me.
We’ve all been hurt by another person at some point or another – we were treated badly, trust was broken, hearts were hurt. And while this pain is normal, sometimes that pain lingers for too long. We relive the pain over and over and have a hard time letting go.
This causes problems. It not only causes us to be unhappy, but can strain or ruin relationships, distract us from work and family and other important things, make us reluctant to open up to new things and people. We get trapped in a cycle of anger and hurt, and miss out on the beauty of life as it happens.
Grudges are a waste of perfect happiness. To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.
10. I have no regrets.
This one is a culmination of the previous nine headlines…
Follow your heart. Be true to yourself. Do what you need to do fulfill your dreams. Say what you need to say. Be kind to others. Offer a helping hand when you’re able. Love those who deserve to be loved, and cherish the bond you share. Appreciate all the things you do have. Smile. Celebrate your small victories. Learn from your mistakes. Forgive. And let go of the things you can’t change.
You’v got to check: Top Five Regrets of the Dying