Wouldn’t it be cool to be considered the very best at something? The Greatest of All Time?
Some names are synonymous with greatness. Serena Williams. Michael Phelps. Whitney Houston. Frank Lloyd Wright. Michelangelo. Shakespeare.
There was a little book published 33 years ago that is considered the greatest business book, maybe not of all time, but of the twentieth century. It sold over 25 million copies and launched a multimillion dollar leadership-development, personal-productivity industry.
The book? The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. Even after 30 years, it still stands as a great outline for human thriving.
This is a reminder to take a long serious look at his
Rule #2: “Begin with the end in mind.”Stephen covey, The 7 Habits of highly effective people
What end? THE END. The end of your life.
And lest you roll your eyes and dismiss the idea as morbid or depressing, we can also consider the words of scripture from Ecclesiastes 7:2.
“It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of everyone; the living should take this to heart.”
Our end is coming sometime. And instead of having it sneak up on us without a thought, wouldn’t it be better to thoughtfully consider it? To face it head on instead of head in the sand?
Who do you hope to be when you leave Planet Earth?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. And frankly it’s easier for me to name who or what I don’t want to be. I don’t want to be joyless. Demanding. Lonely. Bitter. Angry. Critical. Stingy. In other words, I don’t want to end up crotchety.
I don’t think the people who end up crotchety just woke up that way on their 75th birthday. I think they slowly drifted there. And I think most of them, maybe all of them, have darn good excuses for why they drifted. They probably started drifting when they realized their need for reading glasses was never going away, their hair was never going to grow back, their kids were never going to move home and television was never going to be good again.
Those are realities that could make the staunchest soul begin to drift toward crotchety.
But what if they refused to drift? What if they had decided 40, 50, 60 years earlier to fight against the drift? To aim at something better and intentionally build their lives toward that end?
Because the whole of our life is being built now. Day by day. Choice by choice. Priority by priority.
Instead of The End being a depressing thought, it could actually be empowering. What we do today truly, actually matters. Actually sets a trajectory. Actually moves us toward the life and family and future we want. Or not.
Maybe you’ll never be the greatest athlete, author, or accountant of all time. But if you begin with the end in mind, maybe you will be the greatest you possible. The way you live today will influence how you end.
“So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.” (Ephesians 5:15-16 NLT).
|P.S. Extra Credit: Begin With the End in Mind, Parenting Version. Who do you want your kids to be…when they leave home? Their lives are also being built day by day. Choice by choice. Priority by priority. You get to influence that too!|
P.P.S. Book Recommendation: If this topic touches a nerve, there’s an amazing little book I can not recommend highly enough. Remember Death by Matthew McCullough. It’s not depressing. It’s surprisingly hopeful!