‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been “no” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

From a commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005 …

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

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“You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge”

From Dr. Phil’s book titled Life Strategies

“Get real with yourself about your life and everybody in it. Be truthful about what isn’t working in your life. Stop making excuses and start making results.

If you’re unwilling to acknowledge a thought, circumstance, problem, condition, behavior, or emotion–if you won’t take ownership of your role in a situation–then you cannot and will not change it.”

“Arguing Is Pointless”

From Peter Bregman of the Havard Business Review Blog Network titled Arguing Is Pointless …

“Think about it. You and someone have an opposing view and you argue. You pretend to listen to what she’s saying but what you’re really doing is thinking about the weakness in her argument so you can disprove it. Or perhaps, if she’s debunked a previous point, you’re thinking of new counter-arguments. Or, maybe, you’ve made it personal: it’s not just her argument that’s the problem. It’s her. And everyone who agrees with her.

In some rare cases, you might think the argument has merit. What then? Do you change your mind? Probably not. Instead, you make a mental note that you need to investigate the issue more to uncover the right argument to prove the person wrong.”

“Choose your battles wisely”

From an article at SixWise.com called How to Most Effectively Pick Your Battles …

We’re all given a finite amount of time in a day, and it’s up to each of us to determine how to spend it. In relationships (with kids, with a spouse, and so on), we’re faced with many conflicts everyday, and you may be tempted to fight through each of these conflicts, to ensure you get your way, to prove that you’re “right,” or maybe just because you feel challenged. But most experts agree: choosing your battles wisely is a much better way of life than battling out every disagreement.

Although they may seem important at the time, most battles are NOT worth fighting.

According to Dr. Richard Carlson, author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff … and It’s All Small Stuff, “Often we allow ourselves to get all worked up about things that, upon closer examination, aren’t really that big a deal. We focus on little problems and concerns and blow them way out of proportion.”

It’s up to us to choose to either make a big deal or simply let it go, and, according to Dr. Carlson, if you learn to choose your battles wisely, you’ll be far more effective in winning those battles that truly are important to you.

“Today is the only guarantee you get”

Villanova Commencement Address by Pulitzer Prize Winner Anna Quindlen …

“Get a life. Pick up the phone. Send an e-mail. Write a letter. Kiss your Mom. Hug your Dad. Get a life in which you are generous. Look around at the azaleas in the suburban neighborhood where you grew up; look at a full moon hanging silver in a black, black sky on a cold night. And realize that life is the best thing ever, and that you have no business taking it for granted.

I learned to live many years ago. Something really, really bad happened to me, something that changed my life in ways that, if I had my druthers, it would never have been changed at all. And what I learned from it is what, today, seems to be the hardest lesson of all. I learned to love the journey, not the destination. I learned that it is not a dress rehearsal, and that today is the only guarantee you get. I learned to look at all the good in the world and to try to give some of it back because I believed in it completely and utterly. And I tried to do that, in part, by telling others what I had learned. By telling them this:

Consider the lilies of the field. Look at the fuzz on a baby’s ear. Read in the backyard with the sun on your face. Learn to be happy. And think of life as a terminal illness because if you do you will live it with joy and passion, as it ought to be lived. Just keep your eyes and ears open, the classroom is everywhere. The exam comes at the very end. No man ever said on his deathbed, I wish I had spent more time at the office.”

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”

From the book 7 Keys to Success by Will Edwards …

” … we need to notice what is working and what is not; and be prepared to change our approach in order to get what we want – that is the essence of flexibility.

A wise person once said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. That is a wonderfully true statement – in other words, if you continue doing exactly what you are now doing, then don’t be surprised when you don’t see any increase or change in your results.”

“Life is not fair – get used to it”

Uplifting post from Lori Deschene titled 10 Reasons It’s Awesome Life’s Not Fair

“You may say life’s not fair—and I think you’d be right. But how does it serve us to dwell on that idea? Who benefits when we indulge bitterness, frustration, or anger? Or perhaps a better question is: who suffers?

I say we see we take this unavoidable truth and appreciate it for the possibilities it provides. Life isn’t fair, but that’s awesome because:

9. It encourages you to ask yourself the question: “Do I want to be a victim?” Every day we have countless opportunities to blame other people for situations in our lives. We can curse everyone from the mailman to the president for somehow screwing up our day. Or we can commit to taking responsibility for our future, and learn to repeatedly assess how we can accept and improve our life.

8. It reminds to appreciate what you have when you have it. It’s a harsh reality that you can lose anything at any time. Your boss could lay you off after a decade of loyal service; your husband could walk out the door even though you’ve been a faithful, loving wife. This tells me we need to cherish what we have at all times. And really, any reality that forces you to be present and grateful is a gift.

2. It allows you to experience really interesting situations (by Dani of Positively Present). Imagine if everything always went smoothly. You got everything you wanted, never struggled or dealt with hardships. Wouldn’t life be pretty boring? The “unfairness” we perceive in the world pushes us into unknown territory which makes everything more exciting, and gives us opportunities to stretch ourselves.”

Link to all 10 reasons