Thursday, January 22, 2015

What do people really think on their deathbed?

I've seen this quote repeated ad nauseam in a lot of books, and places I happen to hit on the web:
No one on his deathbed ever said “I wish I’d spent more time at the office.”
Let's think about this a moment. Perhaps nobody has actually said those exact words on their deathbed. In fact, I would imagine that most people aren't busy thinking about regrets during their last moments, if they're even thinking clearly at all.

However, in terms of overall life regrets, I imagine that not finding the right job, staying in the wrong job too long, feeling like you're not contributing to the world enough - these are all huge regrets.

I've certainly felt this way at times in my life. There have been numerous times where I wasn't in a position to influence things, or wasn't doing what I thought was productive work, where the project I was working on was ill-conceived and doomed to failure. Or where I was just marking time, in one way or another, though I was getting paid.

I like this passage much better. It's from the book Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson.
To do great work, you need to feel that you’re making a difference. That you’re putting a meaningful dent in the universe. That you’re part of something important.
This doesn't mean you need to find the cure for cancer. It’s just that your efforts need to feel valuable. You want your customers to say, “This makes my life better.” You want to feel that if you stopped doing what you do, people would notice.
 You should feel an urgency about this, too. You don’t have forever. This is your life’s work.

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