George Kinder is thought of as an “advisor to advisors” in financial services. He’s made a name teaching advisors how to discover what’s really important to people. He uses three main questions to ‘cut to the chase’ – the last of which I’ll answer for myself below. Maybe you could do the same for yourself.
Excuse the directness of the question. I find myself pondering it every now and again and find it useful. Don’t let it be a downer.
Question #3: Your doctor shocks you with the news that you have 1 day left to live. What feelings arise? What’s unfulfilled? What do I wish I had started? What did I miss?
Here is my last day. Sounds cheery, right?
Interestingly, I find myself wanting basically the same things: a morning routine, communication with close friends and clients, time with my family. Very little bucket list urgency.
Given the nature of the day, I do find myself beginning very early – approx. 3am. An early bedtime prior could grant me 6 hours.
I believe my final morning would be very similar to others. Solitude and quiet until my mind feels ready and patient to take on the day.
Oddly, I think I’d still feel compelled to exercise. Something quick that allows me to break a sweat and escalate my heart rate – 15 minutes or so.
I’d still want to shower and brush my teeth.
Here’s where I’d deviate.
On more than one occasion, I’ve considered writing a short book for our kids. Something like my ‘universal truths’. These are mostly journaled already so it wouldn’t take long. Additionally, the list does not get longer – it only gets shorter with time (which says something about Truth). My reason? If I can save them a few years of trial and error, why not? But, I don’t want to prophesize. They can digest if/when they want.
Next deals with the recent bombardment and need for usernames and passwords in the past decade or so – and the constant necessity to change them. I’d compile all user/passwords in one of the many free (or nearly free) services offered now – like LastPass – which stores and updates all of them with one shared master password (presumably with a spouse or trusted contact). Sure, our Power of Attorney designations solve this riddle in theory, but if I can streamline this for my loved ones, why not? I’d likely have 1-2 beers for this task, even if done in the morning. After all, it’s my last day and it sounds very tedious.
I’d write emails to 5-10 people who very specifically impacted the trajectory of my life. Parents, a couple of friends, a handful of mentors. These emails would likely be 1-2 sentences summarizing their specific impact and maybe 1-2 sentences of favorite memories. I’d prefer long-form, but hey, I’ve got a day.
In the interest of a single day, I’d also write a blast email thanking the clients I currently serve. They play a major role in the daily life of my family. That thought crosses my mind almost every time I speak to them. There’s a certain vulnerability that produces.
There would be a handful of tailored thank yous to those who helped me get started when I didn’t deserve a shot. We all have those people in our lives.
Hopefully, this is all done by an early hour, followed by a downshift in momentum.
The rest requires the least amount of words which likely means it’s the most honest.
I’d want a day that feels normal with my wife and kids.
Not to sound like too much of a martyr, but even the idea of us being charitable together with our time sounds nice – something that acknowledges the interconnectivity of it all and the reciprocity needed so that the bowl never empties. A couple hours at a soup kitchen maybe. This is more selfish than honorable, but that’s ok.
Weather dependent, my hope would be for some combination of beach time, forts built from blankets and pillows, practice our reading and the ukulele, a puzzle, pass a ball, maybe make some food together. A cheers to my wife.
There you have it. Family, friends, clients, and passwords.
Now George Kinder knows where my time and money goes. How about you?
Thanks for reading,