Have you ever thought about the number of summers you have left? Thinking about life expectancy in terms of summers instead of years can be a wake-up call that time is running out. The number seems more dramatic. Suddenly you notice that the sand is whistling through the hourglass at the speed of light. Every hour, every minute, every second is gone forever.
Have you ever asked yourself, "What have I done with my life? What will my legacy be? Has my existence made a difference? What will I do with the time I have left?" Now is the time to do it. It's later than you think!
Most people never ask these questions until it's too late. Like saving or investing for retirement, the impact of poor time management and the concern about leaving a legacy don't enter most people's minds until they near the end of their lives or face a catastrophic illness. At that point, they are consumed by regrets and thoughts of a life wasted.
How do I know? Because from a very early age, I've been on a quest for knowledge. I've been asking questions about the meaning of life to folks of all ages, but particularly to those who are older than I. Often, their stories are ones of regret, not for what they have done but for what they haven't done.
My life's purpose was cast in concrete nearly fifty years ago. A nineteen-year-old infantry squad leader, I survived the horrors of combat when so many of my buddies, guys who were closer to me than my own family, didn't. From that time on I felt obligated to succeed as a way of honoring those who didn't return from the battlefield. My success would not only be my legacy, but theirs as well.
I honored them by putting my nose to the grindstone, climbing the corporate ladder, and becoming successful in several traditional business ventures, but it wasn't until I discovered the wonderful world of network marketing that I knew I could also honor them by making a difference in the lives of others. I succeeded in spades, then was devastated when my health collapsed. I thought my ability to impact others was over—until people encouraged me to share my experiences through writing. I have since written six books, the net proceeds of which go to the Wounded Warriors Project. To my joy, I have found that my shared experiences have changed the lives of untold numbers of folks I don't even know, and this has solidified my legacy for generations to come.
Today, with my twilight years upon me, I am at peace, content that I made a difference.
Assay your own life. On your deathbed, are you going to be filled with regret, or will you be satisfied knowing that your existence has had meaning? Identify your life's purpose now and put a plan of action in place.
It's later than you think!
FRANK J. KEEFER is a veteran networker
and Publisher Emeritus of Networking Times. He is
the author of several books, including Reflections
of a Master and The Tao of Success.