Is it fame you seek or fortune, power, wealth, love, influence, achievement, control, stuff, recognition, approval, success, all of these or something else? Or, is it inner peace, contentment, service, joy, happiness or salvation and the inner sense that your life was more than what you had or what you did while you were here?
Having travelled the world for over forty years meeting thousands of people in all walks of life in many cultures you would be amazed at how many people want the latter examples, but believe they can achieve them with the former ones.
When the end comes for each of us – and it will one day - what do you think will really matter or how will we be remembered even if we are remembered? Will it be the car we drove, the house we lived in, our net worth or the lives we touched in a positive way and a legacy of compassion, understanding, support and giving? What do you think? How do you want to be remembered? What do you want your legacy to be?
You’ve heard it – you can’t take it with you. Yes, I’m sure a few of you are thinking – but while I was here I had a great life – travelled the world, ate in the best restaurants and had a life of pleasure. But let me ask you – did you live a life of joy? Did you live a life for others or for yourself? Did you give more than you received?When I look in the eyes of others I see superficial desires and dreams but when given the chance and the ability to see into their hearts I often see pain, disappointment, regret and a sense of emptiness no matter their status, fame or wealth.
I have had the pleasure of knowing many millionaires and a couple of billionaires during my life as well as many people who struggled to survive day to day every day and I am amazed at how life’s simple and free pleasures meant more to them than any amount of money could ever buy. I have stood by the bedsides of a few friends who left here with a smile instead of sadness and a few who left with regret. But, for all of them it was over. No second chances. And you know what were the common traits in both groups?The folks that left with a smile achieved their dreams of service, kindness and caring while the others still had far too many things on their financial bucket lists – never to be realized. How sad.
But this article is not about them or me but you. Are you living your life searching for what you want or what you can share, what you own or what you can give, what you accomplish or how you can help others achieve, what you do or how you can help others rise up and what you meant to others or how others could contribute to you?Until you can honestly answer these questions and others and live with an inside-out integrity consistent with basic human values, purpose and consistency, I will guarantee you will live a life of uncertainty, disappointment and frustration.
Is it worth it? Time will tell! And, it’s your choice!