Tuesday, September 2, 2014

“Write Your Obituary to Prioritize Your Passions and Provide Meaning to Your Life” - Professor M.S.Rao

“Diplomas and degrees are not emblems of entitlement; they are licenses to learn.” – James M. Strock

Recently I was asked to interact and inspire students who were joining in management education in a business school. I thought that it was a great opportunity to share my ideas and insights to inspire students. I shared couple of stories on attitude, personality and success. I asked them to write obituary. It sounded very strange to them.

James M. Strock in his award-winning book, Serve to Lead: Your Transformational 21st Century Leadership System outlines the importance of writing obituary. Writing obituary helps you identify what is close to your heart and what difference do you want to make to the world. It helps you prioritize your tasks and manage your time. It helps you lead your life with purpose and meaning. 

James Strock says, “Prepare to live more purposefully by drafting your own obituary. What would you like to say? What would you like others to remember about you and your life? What is your legacy? Draft a realistic piece-but aim for your highest goals, your ultimate concerns. You may find inspiration in reading well-crafted obituaries of memorable lives.” He adds, “As you draft yours, strive for a longer view, an outsider’s perspective. Your obituary is, most importantly, a history of the relationships of your life. You may want to share your draft with trusted friends of and others who can add their points of view. In the end, others will have the last word.”

Mark Twain had the experience of reading his own, premature obituary who famously responded, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” Ernest Hemingway read his own inadvertently accelerated obituaries. He is said to have carried them around, reviewing them constantly. Perhaps he found them useful in clarifying his priorities. In the normal course of things, most of us cannot expect to read our own obituaries. Nonetheless you may have moments when you sense the warm breath of death brushing the nape of your neck. Perhaps your imagination is stirred by the loss of others, a troubling medical diagnosis, or a rising awareness of the transience, the inescapable, apparent randomness and contingency of so much of life. Hence, draft a single sentence that you like to share it with others and how you would like to be remembered for. It helps you prioritize your tasks and aligns your energies accordingly to accomplish your lifetime goals.

Finally I concluded with the following message to students:  Time is a precious commodity. Whether rich or poor, all are blessed with this precious resource. Hence, you must learn to utilize your time effectively. You must know how to prioritize your activities to make your life truly meaningful. Remember, the biggest gift you can give to anybody is your time.

The seconds will pass, the minutes will pass, the hours will pass, the days will pass, the weeks will pass, the months will pass, and the years will pass. It is time to act now. If you don’t act now, time will pass anyway.  Therefore, Act now. Remember, it is now or never!

“I wake up every morning at nine and grab for the morning paper. Then I look at the obituary page. If my name is not on it, I get up.” - Benjamin Franklin

Serve to Lead: Your Transformational 21st Century Leadership System by James M. Strock (Serve to Lead Press, August 24, 2010)

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Life is great!

Professor M.S.Rao, India
Founder of MSR Leadership Consultants India
Listed in Marquis Who's Who in the World in 2013
21 Success Sutras for Leaders: Top 10 Leadership Books of the Year (San Diego University) Amazon URL: http://www.amazon.com/21-Success-Sutras-Leaders-ebook/dp/B00AK98ELI

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