Last August I was told that all likely I had three to six months left to live. I’m on month nine now, and I’m not gonna get down and do any push-ups. But there will be a short pick-up basketball game later. Somebody said to me, in light of those numbers, “Wow, so you’re really beating the Grim Reaper”. And what I said without even thinking about is, “We don’t beat the Reaper by living longer. We beat the Reaper by living well and living fully, for the Reaper will come for all of us. The question is what do we do between the time we’re born and the time he shows up. Because when he shows up, it’s too late to do all the things that you’re always gonna kind of get around to.”
So I think the only advice I can give you on how to live your life well is, first off, remember, it’s a cliche but I love cliches, “It is not the things we do in life that we regret on our deathbed. It is the things we do not. Because I assure you I’ve done a lot of really stupid things, and none of them bother me. All the mistakes and all the dopey things and all the times I was embarrassed. They don’t matter. What matters is that I can kind of look back and say, “Pretty much any time I got a chance to do something cool, I tried to grab for it.” And that’s where my solace comes from.
The second thing that I would add to that, and I didn’t coordinate on the subject of this word but I think is the right word that comes up, is passion. And you will need to find your passion. Many of you have already done it; many of you will later; many of you may take till you’re 30s or 40s. But don’t give up on finding it. Right? Because, then, all you’re doing is waiting for the Reaper.
Find your passion and follow it, and if there is anything I have learned in my life, you will not find that passion in things. And you will not find that passion in money. Because the more things and the more money you have, the more you will just look around and use that as the metric, and there will always be someone with more. So your passion must come from the things that fuel you from the inside.
And honors and awards are nice things but only to the extent that they regard the real respect from your peers. And to be thought well of by other people that you think even more highly of is a tremendous honor that I’ve been granted.
Find your passion and in my experience, no matter what you do at work or what you do in official settings, that passion will be grounded in people, and it will be pound grounded in the relationships you have with people and what they think of you when your time comes. If you can gain the respect of those around you and the passion and true love…
And I’ve said this before, but I waited till 39 to get married because I had to wait that long to find someone where her happiness was more important than mine. And, if nothing else, I hope all of you can find that kind of passion and that kind of love in your life. Thank you.