Before You Die

War graves

Live now

In which Mike learns to live NOW

As Mike walked into the conference room he couldn’t help noticing that there was a picture of a gravestone on John’s laptop. It was a good shot, if a little macabre. John left the laptop lid up but said nothing about the photo. “How’s it going?”

“Good, thanks” said Mike “It’s really odd but since we last met I’ve been using scales everywhere and it’s really changed my outlook. I’m still not really sure how it works but when I ask other people what 10/10 would be, they all seem to know and it activates some sort of action. It’s strange but I’m having fun with it.”

“That’s good” said John “and there’s more. And to find the more we are going to have to think about the end. Your end to be more specific. Let me ask you another question. At what time, in most peoples lives, do they realise they might have some regrets or have missed some opportunities?”

Mike was puzzled “I don’t know, towards the end I suppose when they are old or sick or both?”.

“That’s right and by then it is probably too late. It’s ironic. At the end of your life you finally have the free time you’ve been waiting for but now lack the energy or money to do anything with it. The time to consider these things is now, while you can still do something about it.”

“What do you think the average lifespan for a man in the UK is?”

“About 95?” said Mike

“Nope, it’s more like 80. You are 35 now which means you have just 45 years left if you are going to live an average lifetime. Apologies for being so brutal but you are nearly halfway through your life. What do you really want to do with the time remaining?”

“Take a look at these” he passed Mike a copy and began to read out the questions on his pad. Assume you have 45 years left of life…”

  • ‘Who would you like to MEET in the time remaining?’
  • ‘Where would you like to GO? What would you like to SEE?’
  • ‘Is there anything you would love to LEARN or ACHIEVE in this time?’

“Yes, yes” interrupted Mike “I’ve always wanted to fly helicopters but never done anything about it.”

  • ‘What EXPERIENCES would you like to have?’
  • ‘What things would you like to OWN?’
  • ‘And the last thing to think about is your legacy, what would you like to LEAVE BEHIND you when you go from here? Or put another way, what CONTRIBUTION do you want to make to the world? If any?’

“Forty-five years” repeated Mike, “That’s a lot to think about. It feels like a long time and a short time if you know what I mean?”

“Hmm” said John. “Sobering and exciting at the same time. Forty-five years. That’s quite a long time and almost anything is possible if you spread it out over this time. If you’ve nursed a desire to see the Grand Canyon then why not make a plan to see it in five years and start moving towards it now? Same with your helicopter idea. It may seem daunting and unobtainable now but broken down into little pieces, you easily have the time.”

“What about the money” countered Mike “What stops me with most of these things is thinking about how much they will cost and then I think I’ll do them when I retire.”

“Maybe you will” replied John. He paused. “Do you know what Albert Einstein called the most incredible power in the universe?”


“The power of compound interest. Look it up. Compound interest means that for the price of the money you fritter on regular album downloads, you could easily have a Grand Canyon holiday in a few years.”

“OK, I get it. It’s like when we talked about turning wishes into reality. If I really want it I can start taking small actions now to have it happen in the future.”

“Exactly, each week you get to decide – do I want this new album or do I want that trip? Sometimes you can have both, sometimes you need to make a choice.”

“Well then, while we are being blunt about death, I’ve got to ask you about that picture” said Mike pointing to the laptop.

“Oh that?” He grinned. “I’m doing a Seven Ways Workshop next week and I needed a really strong picture to get the audience thinking – they are all students and probably feel immortal. That should get them thinking. Here’s the worksheet I’m going to use…”

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