I Don't Have a Care in the World
(And Neither Do Most of You!)

I've been thinking about death today. Not by choice. It was placed in front of me. Twice. And I've found that when that sort of thing happens, it's best to pay attention. So I wanted to write down some thoughts and share them with you.

I generally really enjoy Saturdays, but today got started on the wrong foot. I had to set the alarm to get up early for an appointment, but as it turns out, the other person didn't show up. And then other impediments kept popping up which seemed to be conspiring to keep me from accomplishing ANYTHING on my Saturday "to do" list, so by noontime, I was in full "annoyance mode."

And then I got the news of the death of a man with whom I had just started to do some business. I can't say we were friends or anything, but in our few business dealings, I liked and admired him. He was about 50 years old, and had been in perfect health until about six weeks ago, when he started to experience some symptoms of fatigue and shortness of breath. The diagnosis of cancer came about three weeks later.

When I got the news, in the midst of my "annoying Saturday," my first thought was, "I don't have a care in the world." I finished up what I was doing, and headed home. When I arrived home, there was an email from a friend with this YouTube link. It is a video of a short graduation speech at Carnegie Mellon University. The speaker is Randy Pausch, a professor who was diagnosed with a fatal and incurable cancer and given 3-6 months to live, about nine months ago.

Randy's situation in turn reminded me of Eugene O'Kelly, the author of Chasing Daylight, one of my Platinum recommended books. O'Kelly was given a similar "death sentence," and wrote Chasing Daylight during that precious time period. The perspective that both Rausch and Kelly gained from their death sentences is remarkably similar. Here are Rausch's, from his speech:

  • It's not the mistakes we make in life that we generally regret. It's the things NOT done, and the opportunities NOT taken.
  • Whatever you do, and however long it takes, find your passion in life and do your best to pursue it.

Rausch cautions that you will not find your passion in money or things, but that every level you achieve will only cause you to want more. No, the passion he speaks of is "that which fuels you from the inside." And THAT passion will, without fail, be grounded in the people in your life.

I write a lot about pursuing your passion, because I firmly believe that doing so is the key to the Platinum mission of "helping you get the best out of the rest of your life." When I first read the O'Kelly book, the Platinum wife and I decided that we would periodically remind one another of its principles. The premise is that if we could live our remaining 20-30 years with the perspective of O'Kelly (and now Rausch), there will be no regrets when that day comes, no matter what the length of time turns out to be.

But I am well aware of how the day to day annoyances of "doing life" can bring us down, as was happening to me this morning. So my wish for all of us is that we can all learn from those who have experienced this kind of tragedy when they tell us what is really important in life. - Bob


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