Things you can control

30 days to live – Focus on things that matter, Part 1

Average Reading Time: 3.7 minutes

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow.  Learn as if you were to live forever.”
Mahatma Gandhi

If you only had 30 days to live, would you continue doing the same things that you are doing now?

How would your life be different?

What would become a priority for you?

As you think about these questions, you will realize that there are adjustments you would want to make in your life. Being faced with death has a way of changing behaviors in a positive way.  It gets us to focus on things that matter.  And so, I’m asking that you think as if you only had 30 days to live. What are the things in your life that you would change?

The truth is we all have a death date. We just don’t know what it is. But for those people who are given a death sentence or a death date by a doctor – whether it be a couple of months, or more, knowing their death date totally gives them a new perspective on life.

Adjustments to Make

  1. Turn When into Now

We all have things that we procrastinate about. However, when we know we have a short time to live, things that were never a priority suddenly find their way to the top of our “To Do” list. What we keep on doing is giving ourselves reasons we cannot do these things. Do you find yourself using terms like:

  • When I… that’s when I’ll… (e.g. When I have enough money, that’s when I’ll be able to show my appreciation)
  • When… then… (e.g. Whenever I experience this, then that’s when…)
  • I remember the good old days…

We use these terms to validate our excuse for not doing what we know we need to do.  Our best and brightest days, it seems, are always yesterday and tomorrow. It’s never today. We also reminisce of the “good old days” and the hope of tomorrow while forgetting to live today the best we can. Pastor Chris Hodges from Church of the Highlands puts it this way: “the good old days are never the days we’re in. They are always the days gone by or the days we’re going to have”.  We forget that all we really have is today and that tomorrow is not promised.

Also remember that today will one day be the ‘good old days’. You see, there will be a day when you’re going to take a look back at today and say ‘they were the good old days.  Why not really make today the good old days by focusing on what matters?

John Maxwell’s book Today Matters speaks specifically to this topic of living a successful life daily.  Deciding on what matters most and managing them daily.

Take action now and make today the best day you live in. Today, now is the moment to live and enjoy the life you’ve been dreaming of. Value and appreciate today with all its experiences.

2. Turn intentions into actions

Many of us have good intentions and great ideas that would positively impact our lives and the world. Those ideas never see the light of day because no actions are ever taken for them to become a reality. What we need to remember is that until intention is turned into actions, it serves no purpose. It is useful to no one.

What good intentions have you had that you haven’t acted upon yet?

Don’t let bad news (being given 30 days or 2 months to live) be your motivation, take action now. Do something; add value to someone’s live; do things that matter; leave a legacy. There’s no reason to wait for your schedule to be better. One thing I’ve learned from John Maxwell is that if you don’t fill your calendar with things that are important to you, someone else will fill it for you. Most often than not, those things filling our calendars are not things that really matters. So start clearing your calendar and fill it with things that matter.

3. Give your whole heart to God/Christ

I know that this may be a sensitive topic for some people. Nonetheless, I truly believe that given a death date or 30 days to live, most people would choose to make their relationship with God or their higher being a priority. Make Him a priority and let Him become the center of your live. Don’t wait until next week or next month, do it now.

Things to consider

While you consider making those adjustments, remember not to take on too much so you don’t burn yourself out. Follow the steps below as a guide.

  1. Experience God & Prayer
    This will take you to a new level of consciousness and will help you change from within. There is nothing on the outside that can change a person. You really change from inside out.
  2. Focus on People, Relationships and purpose
    Remember that it’s not always the big things that change people’s lives, it’s the little things.  Also make sure what you going to spend your time doing is in alignment with your purpose.
  3. Make a list
    Make a list of at least 25 things that are important to you or that you have been thinking about doing for a while. Read Scott Dinsmore’s article on this topic.  It will really help you with this aspect.
  4. Pick five
    Pick five (5) of those things on your list that will give you the greatest return and are in alignment with your giftedness. Don’t forget the things that are also required of you.
  5. Do them daily
    Don’t do them all day, just daily. Set aside some time (about 30 mins or 1 hour for each) every day to complete those items. Your greatest enemy on this one will be your desire to pay attention to some of the other items on the list. After all, they are all important. That’s why you put them on the list. Resist the urge and focus solely on the top five that you picked. Scott’s article again will help you in that area.

Our time here on earth is brief, live with no regrets… Focus your life on things that matter…

What are you waiting for?

You’re done reading… Take actions and turn over a new life.

This is the first in a series of posts about what you would do if you only had 30 days to live. Check back next week, for part 2.
About The Author

Michael Charles - Certified Coach, Teacher, Speaker with the John Maxwell Team

A founding partner with the John Maxwell Team, I help leaders, entrepreneurs and business professionals develop their leadership and communications skills to build strong, cohesive teams and break through barriers holding them and their teams back without burning themselves out.