Box of Crayons Blog


Today’s the anniversary of my death

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I think it was George Bernard Shaw who first clued me into the anniversary of my death. A brief hunt on Google has failed to track down his exact words, but it went something like this:

Every year we celebrate our birthday. But every year another anniversary slips by unnoticed – that of our death. What might be different if we knew when we were going to die?

Inspired by this post by Kevin Kelly on his life countdown, I wrote here about how I calculated the date of my demise…

September 15, 2043.

That leaves 12418 days left to go or – perhaps more usefully, about seven five-year blocks.

Kelly says that every big project you take on – a new book, a new invention, a new role – takes about five years from go to woah.

So for me, seven big projects left. Seven big Great Work projects.

That helps focus the mind, in a similar way a technique I learned from Jim Collins (yes, the other Good/Great guy). He asks, if you had $20 million dollars and ten years left to live, what would you do.

With $20 million you money concerns are over. And with ten years, you’ve got a shot at one or two big things. Where would you put your time?

And of course, for most of us it’s a busy, typical Tuesday at work. We’re in the groove. We’re too busy. We’ve got a mix of Bad, Good and Great Work. And we’re just doing what we can to get by.

And that’s the way it will keep on being until a crisis of some sort hits. Or until you take the time to step back and ask yourself:

With the time I have left – what Great Work do I want to be doing?

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