Norman Cousins wrote a book called Head First, The Biology of Hope. In the book, he wrote about a judge he had been asked to help. This man had been diagnosed with a throat cancer that was in advanced stages and was given two months to live. He became severely depressed which worried his family, as he had always been the patriarch and had given strength and guidance to his family. They didn’t know what to do, since he was always the rock keeping the family stable and functioning.
When Norman Cousins met him he said to this man, “You are a very intelligent man and so am I, and we both know that you will probably be dead in two months. However, I would like to point out that you are not dead yet. Do you realize what your behavior is doing to your family? Why don’t you use these last two months of your life to help your family transition to life without you. Besides, don’t you want your family to remember you as you have always been, rather than remember you in this state?” This man snapped out of his depression and proceeded to guide his family to the next phase of their lives without him.
I think about this story when life gets a little too serious or when I start to feel sorry for myself. I have come to realize that life is a journey and always brings change, surprise and obstacles that we won’t necessarily feel prepared for. It helps to be able to switch gears and change our way of thinking to maximize our efforts to achieve the best outcome.
We all have stories and memories of people who have touched our lives and helped us to focus on what is important in life. When it comes down to the wire, material things may not matter as much as people who care about us and make life worth living.
A newspaper story described a pastor who was a former drug addict and had his life turned around by a kind soul who directed him to the path he has taken today. Now he hosts a karaoke night at his church for the homeless and others who feel unwanted and invisible, giving them a chance to express themselves and feel appreciated. All it takes is one act of kindness to make others feel like they matter. You never know what kind of chain reaction you might create.
So don’t waste any more time. Make each moment count. You can create a difference in lives, including your own.
I focus on the topics you care about most.